Glasgow Airport radar project gives go-ahead for wind farm development

Following the installation of the new radar system at Glasgow Airport, plans for one of the largest wind farm developments in Scotland have been given the go-ahead.

Glasgow Airport has introduced a new radar, working with air traffic services NATS and Banks Renewables, that can mitigate the impact of the Kype Muir Wind Farm near South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The development will generate 88.4 megawatts of renewable energy from its 26 turbines.

Mark Johnston, managing director at Glasgow Airport,  said: “We are very pleased to announce that the system is now fully operational. For the last three years, the Airport’s planning team has been worked extremely hard with our partners from NATS and Banks Renewables to develop this wind turbine mitigation solution in what is a very complex and safety critical environment.

“As well as resolving the issue with Kype Muir, the mitigation may have the potential to resolve issues with other future wind farm proposals, which can only benefit Scotland’s renewable energy sector.”

NATS in collaboration with Banks Renewables

Wind turbines can have a range of impacts on navigational systems, including being detected by Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) and appearing on air traffic control screens because of their height and movement patterns. This can distract controllers, masking ‘real’ aircraft and mimicking the appearance of actual aircraft to the extent that they must be avoided by other aircraft.

Paul Beat, NATS General Manager at Glasgow Airport, said: “We’re delighted to have worked with Glasgow Airport, Banks Renewables and TERMA to deliver a mitigation solution that both supports safe and efficient air traffic services, while also allowing this important wind farm development to be built and make a major contribution to the Scottish Government’s renewables strategy.”

Credit: Glasgow Airport

NATS will manage the dual Terma SCANTER 4002 radar system which supports air traffic control requirements and mitigating impact of the turbines. The system is now operational and NATS has secured the contract to operate and maintain the service for the wind farm’s 25-year life.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said the new radar can distinguish between aircraft and wind turbines situated at Kype Muir Wind Farm, claiming this technology will be invaluable for the sustainable energy sector.

As a statutory consultee, Glasgow Airport must assess wind farm development proposals up to 50 kilometres away. Importantly, it must ensure any proposed development will not pose a risk to the safety of the 30 airlines who fly over nine million passengers to and from the airport every year.

Glasgow was one of the first airports in the world to deploy large scale wind turbine mitigation in the form of infill radar and has continued to innovate by deploying single turbine blanking in response to the increasing number of developments. As a result, it has approved 90% of the 495 wind turbine applications it received between October 2012 and August 2016. These projects have the potential to generate more than 700 megawatts of energy.

Andrew Liddell, technical director with Banks Renewables, said they acknowledge how proactive and instrumental the Scottish Government has been in helping deliver such a positive outcome.

Photo credit: SWNS