- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Determining the impact wind farms may have on weather radars

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The use of wind energy has taken major strides over the past few years.

Ameren Missouri has even invested $8 billion into renewable energy over the next two decades.

Its investments include the usage of wind, hydro and solar energy, all to have net-zero emissions by 2050.

However, as wind farms like the one in northern Adair County and southern Schuyler County are constructed, they could influence what a weather radar shows.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rich Kinney with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities explained why more wind farms are being constructed closer to radar sites.

“I don’t think there’s a correlation between where they’re developing and specific radar sites,” Kinney said. “I think it’s more of a function of as wind energy becomes more widespread across the country, there’s a higher potential that development sites may be considered which are fairly close to radar sites.”

Typically, the National Weather Service’s Radar Operations Center (ROC) receives 10 to 15 notifications a month from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) about wind farm proposals.

It also receives 1 to 3 wind farm proposals from third parties directly.

Each proposal is then put into one of the four zones the ROC has developed to determine the impact wind farms may have.

Those zones are:

  1. The No Build Zone- serious impacts on weather radar
  2. The Mitigation Zone- potential to moderate impacts on weather radar
  3. The Consultation Zone- some impacts on weather radar
  4. The Notification Zone- very minimal impacts on weather radar

In the coming days, KTVO will dive deeper into what this means for how weather warnings and alerts are relayed to the public.