Researching the Impact of Wind Turbines on Radar Returns

Source: Remcom, Inc.

Wind turbines located near a radar installation can significantly interfere with the ability of the radar to operate properly.  Remcom provides radar scattering expertise for government-funded research efforts into the impact that wind turbines and wind farms have on radar returns for Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar, early warning radar, weather radar, and instrumentation radar. 

Our work and experience have included:

  • Estimation of returns from wind turbines, including Doppler and RCS
  • Collaborative work with partners to determine the impact of wind turbine scattering on radar signal processing, aircraft detection, and tracking
  • Investigation of the effects of multipath between the tower and blades
  • Investigation of the effects of blade shape, material properties, and construction on returns
  • Prediction of the loss due to shadowing of aircraft from nearby turbines


Wind Turbines and Aircraft in the Presence of Ground Clutter

Remcom has teamed with partners on multiple different research efforts to investigate the impacts of wind turbines on radar scans.  Because wind turbine blades are large and move at a speed similar to slower aircraft, as aircraft fly over a wind farm, the aircraft tracks can be lost, and false tracks can be generated from wind turbines that are incorrectly interpreted by the radar as aircraft.

Simulating Multipath Between Wind Turbines

Using XGtd, Remcom engineers can simulate the propagation paths of fields interacting with two wind turbines in close proximity.  XGtd then generates an animation that shows the directions and magnitudes of the strongest propagation paths, including multipath occurring between the turbines.  These images are from an animation showing the directions and magnitudes of the strongest propagation paths from scattering between two wind turbines.

Modeling of Wind Turbine Scattering and Structural Effects in High Fidelity

On multiple projects, Remcom has used our XFdtd full-wave EM solver and XGtd high-frequency solver to predict the scattering from wind turbines and wind turbine components, to include towers, nacelles, and blades.  Some recent research has included investigation of blade materials.  Some sample comparisons of backscatter from a wind turbine blade for different structural materials are shown below.

Shadowing from Nearby Wind Turbines

For wind turbines very close to a radar, wind turbine shadowing can also reduce the returns from aircraft that fly behind the wind turbine, where shadows of several dB may hamper the probability of detection of the aircraft, perhaps causing tracks to be lost and adding to the impact caused by the interference from wind turbine returns described above.


White Paper: Modeling the Effects of Wind Turbines on Radar Returns
Presentation: High-Fidelity RCS Simulation of a Turbine Blade
Application Example: Lightning Strike on Wind Turbine


Wind Turbines and Aircraft in the Presence of Ground Clutter
Simulating Multipath Between Wind Turbines