Offshore wind farms can interfere with radar and ship navigation, new report says – YubaNet

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2022 — Offshore wind farms can interfere with navigational radar used by ships and small vessels to avoid collisions, posing challenges for marine navigation safety, according to a new report from the National Academies. science, engineering and medicine.

The maritime community has expressed concern that wind turbines could interfere with radar, making it difficult to navigate for large vessels passing through shipping channels near offshore wind farms and for small vessels sailing through or near structures. . Previous studies that have examined this question have relied on data from European wind farms – however, wind turbines at offshore wind farms located or planned on the outer continental shelf of the United States are larger and more widely spaced than those included in previous studies.

The report concludes that wind turbine generators have significant electromagnetic reflectivity and can therefore interfere with radar systems operating nearby. Rotating blades can also create reflections in Doppler radar systems. In particular, these forms of interference could obscure small vessels and stationary objects such as buoys on the radar, complicating navigational decisions and increasing the risk of collision with larger vessels. Maritime search and rescue teams also rely on radar to find smaller boats – their main targets – and so the interference could also complicate rescue operations near wind farms.

The report recommends that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and other relevant agencies seek practical options to mitigate interference from wind farms, such as implementing improved training and using reference buoys, among other options. The agency should also continue its research to fill remaining gaps in understanding the impact of offshore wind farms on radar used for navigation.

Committee members will discuss the report in a public webinar today at 10 a.m. EST. DETAILS: Impacts of Wind Turbine Generators on Ships Radaris available for immediate release.

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