Experience has demonstrated that when wind farms are located “close” to Weather Surveillance Radar-1988, Doppler (WSR-88D) systems the towers and the “exhaust” from wind turbines can impact radar data quality and the performance of radar algorithms. The wind farms in operation were installed without apparent consideration to their impact on weather radars. The federal government is developing policy regarding siting wind energy farms near radars. Thus far, federal policy has been addressing the impact of wind farms on point-to-point communications and air traffic surveillance radars. The Radar Operations Center on behalf of the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD Program) is working with other federal agencies to adopt a policy that also address the impacts of wind farms on weather surveillance radars while encouraging wind farm development at locations where radars and wind farms can co-exist with minimal interference.
This paper and presentation will provide examples of the impact of wind farms on WSR-88D base data and products; background on the dramatic growth in the number of wind farms and their characteristics; methods available to mitigate impacts to radar data quality; and status of federal policy regarding the siting of wind farms.