Wind turbines near airports

Erecting tall wind turbines (150 meter or more above ground level) near airports presents special siting challenges to wind energy programs and is considered a growing problem by airport authorities. At the same time, in the search for suitable terrain to erect new wind turbines, the area around airports is scoring high in many cases. Usually this area is relatively unpopulated due to noise hindrance constraints and is mostly also free of other large obstacles that could cause wind blockage for the wind turbines. The terrain around airports is thus often targeted by companies developing wind turbine parks as a preferable option for their plans.

However, the erection of such wind turbines may intrude the airspace that is required to ensure safe and regular aircraft operations at the airport. This may result in a conflict of interest of two parties competing for the same volume of airspace.

This paper discusses the safety requirements that apply around airports and how safety assessment methods can be used to walk the fine line between the interest of the aviation community for a safe and regular operation and the spatial needs of wind energy development companies. The issues that may arise are further illustrated for a wind turbine park that is planned near Teuge airport in the Netherlands. The assessment of potential wake effects on air traffic and the assessment of collision risk of aircraft with the turbines is described.

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Problems and solutions for wind turbine siting in the vicinity of airports, by Peter J. van der Geest

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