Vestas: 'Stealth turbine' test in U.K. successful

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas said last week that it has successfully tested a turbine using “stealth” technology rotor blades that reduced radar reflection by 99 percent compared with a normal turbine.

The test was carried out in the United Kingdom, where the Ministry of Defence has been in discussion with wind companies on radar issues for a number of years.

Reuters quoted Vestas Technology R&D President Finn Strom Madsen as saying, “Our testing has demonstrated that we have successfully adapted military stealth technology to make Vestas wind turbines viable for placement in many locations that have been restricted by radar concerns.”

The company said an estimated 20,000 megawatts (MW) of wind projects around the world (enough to power 6 million average American households) are currently being delayed by concerns about radar interference.

A company spokesman said that while Vestas does expect the stealth turbine to become a commercial product, it has not yet settled on a timeline for development.

AWEA Senior Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs Tom Vinson commented, “The results of this latest field test are extremely promising.  Stealth materials is one of a suite of mitigation options the wind industry and federal agencies are working to research and validate.  Improved processes for engaging agencies, deployment of existing mitigation options, and research and validation of additional mitigations options are widely supported among industry and agencies as the path forward to resolving the challenges we’ve seen between wind energy deployment and radar.”

More reading:

Growing consensus on wind and radar?, June 30, 2010
Countering the concern over wind and radar with facts, April 19, 2010
Raytheon to help Brits with wind, radar issues, December 7, 2009
Airspace, Radar and Wind Energy, fact sheet
AWEA testimony, subcommittee hearing, June 29, 2010
Department of Defense testimony, subcommittee hearing, June 29, 2010
Federal Aviation Administration testimony, subcommittee hearing, June 29, 2010

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