France to build wind farm with stealth turbine blades

wind farm
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is an 845 MW wind farm in the U.S. state of Oregon. Credit: Steve Wilson / Wikipedia.

Officials with EDF Energies Nouvelles, an energy company in France, have announced plans for adding turbines with stealth technology to a wind-farm being built in Perpignan. The stealth technology has been developed to prevent the turbines from interfering with aircraft radar systems.

One little heard of problem with is that they show up on , making it difficult for radar operators to distinguish between low flying planes and modern windmills. In France, the problem has reportedly resulted in approximately 6,000 MW of wind farm projects being blocked by the military. To address the problem, Denmark's Vestas, the world's largest wind maker, has been looking into making turbines that are invisible to radar. As part of the announcement by Nouvelles, Vestas representatives explained that the company looked to stealth military craft to learn how to hide the turbines that will be used in the wind farm in France.

Airplane designers use two types of technology to hide planes from radar, the first is by using a special type of coating on the exterior to convert radar signals into heat, which radar stations cannot detect. The second approach involves building planes in such a way as to force odd angles that reflect radar signals away from radar stations. The engineers at Vestas have taken the former approach, developing coatings for the blades that mask them from radar systems.

The new radar evading blades have already been tested at a wind farm in France's Auvergne region with all signs indicating the technology works as advertised, paving the way for deployment on a larger scale. When complete, the new wind farm dubbed Ensemble Eolien Catalan, will be France's largest, offering 96 megawatts of capacity. It will also be the first designed to minimize radar interference.

Other countries have of course also been forced to consider the tradeoff between the benefits offered by and the problems associated with radar interference. If all goes well with the new wind farm in France, Vestas has made it clear it will be looking for new clients starting in the U.S. and U.K. and eventually branching out into other countries. What is not yet clear is whether the coating developed by the company for the blades will represent a security breach—perhaps allowing those looking to subvert the coating systems used by current military aircraft to come up with a way to get around it.


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Sep 09, 2014
Well color me surprised: I would have never thought that stealth technology would make it into the civilian sector.
Engineering ingenuity never ceases to amaze.

Sep 09, 2014
It's not currently in the US sector primarily because it's cost prohibitive. All countries have their own criteria for what constitutes radar interference but, in the US, the benefits of masking radar returns from wind farms using stealth technology doesn't outweigh the costs

Sep 09, 2014
The wind turbine will then be nearly invisible to aircraft under IFR.

Sep 09, 2014
A whole 96 megawatts! That's 1/10th the power and 10 times the space as a single nuclear core.

Sep 09, 2014
That's 1/10th the power and 10 times the space as a single nuclear core.


And zero times the overhead, regulation, waste, planned obsolescence and risk.

Sep 09, 2014
Wow. A better way to kill endangered bird species. Great work!

Sep 09, 2014
I do wonder how this will effect bat's and their ability to evade the spinning blades...

Sep 09, 2014
Well, you would be hard pressed to find a bat with a built in radar. They use echolocation.

Sep 09, 2014
I do wonder how this will effect [sic] bat's [sic] and their ability to evade the spinning blades...
When bats start using radar instead of ultrasonic echolocation, this will start affecting them.

Sep 10, 2014
Fact of the matter is turbines are still killing lots of flying creatures. Whether they use echolocation or sight it doesn't matter. This stealth tech doesn't address it nor have any other ideas yet and it's simply upsetting to a lot of people. Some wana troll about it *shrug*

Sep 10, 2014
Well, you would be hard pressed to find a bat with a built in radar. They use echolocation.

Doh - (slapping forehead).
Was just thinking of angular wave deflection aspect, not heat absorption.

Sep 10, 2014
Fact of the matter is turbines are still killing lots of flying creatures. Whether they use echolocation or sight it doesn't matter. This stealth tech doesn't address it nor have any other ideas yet and it's simply upsetting to a lot of people. Some wana troll about it *shrug*
I feel the same about neanderthals! If people would revert to a hunter-gatherer society maybe the neanderthal could prosper again

Sep 10, 2014
Now all they got to worry about are those fast moving invisible windmills.

Sep 10, 2014
They are not "windmills".

They are Wind Turbine-Generators.

Sep 11, 2014
" If people would revert to a hunter-gatherer society maybe the neanderthal could prosper again"

-----

He went back to Wyoming, where he cowers in an Undisclosed Location.

Sep 11, 2014
" If people would revert to a hunter-gatherer society maybe the neanderthal could prosper again"

-----

He went back to Wyoming, where he cowers in an Undisclosed Location.

Yeah, but still collecting a good chunk o cash from Halliburton....:-)

Sep 12, 2014
I would have expected that an upgrade to the military radar system would be in order. It should know the fixed location of these, and a small amount of information added, eg from a cctv camera could tell where the blades were or how fast they were moving. The effect should be able to be cancelled out from the radar.

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