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Backing for system to avoid turbines hampering radar

The UK Government has backed new technology that stops windfarms interfering with crucial radar systems – a development is being hailed as a “huge step” for renewable energy.

Vattenfall has won crucial backing from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) for a technical solution that could now pave the way for a windfarm to be built in Aberdeen Bay.

The company, which is owned by the Swedish government, was granted planning permission for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in March.

The plan hinges on the company finding a “mitigation scheme” to allay Ministry of Defence fears about interference with air radar.

Last night, the company confirmed that a system being piloted in England had satisfied energy chiefs that the problems can be tackled.

Vattenfall signed a contract with US firm C. Speed to instal the world’s first fully windfarm- capable radar system at Manston Airport, near its Kentish Flats development, off the coast of Kent.

The partners behind the EOWDC project said the development gave them “confidence” that a solution could also be found for Aberdeen.

In a statement yesterday, Vattenfall confirmed the success of its Kent pilot, which has resulted in a radar-mitigation condition attached to its planning permission being discharged by Decc.

Goran Loman, Vattenfall’s project manager for the Kentish Flats Extension, said: “This is a huge step for the renewable energy and aviation industry.

“It is an excellent example of the two industries working together to overcome some challenging technical difficulties tosupport the delivery of the UK’s renewable energy ambitions.”

Last month, EOWDC spokesman Iain Todd said while the technical challenges faced by the Kentish Flats extension and Aberdeen Bay were different, the progress in Kent “gives further confidence to the project partners behind the EOWDC that technical solutions are possible for airtraffic control and air defence radar in the northeast”.

The EOWDC – Vattenfall’s joint venture with engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group – involves erecting 11 turbines less than two miles from Aberdeen.

Vattenfall put its 75% stake in the test centre up for sale earlier this year after a slump in its profits.

Donald Trump has launched legal action to try to block the scheme, which he says would undermine his golf resort at the Menie Estate, near Balmedie.