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News > Cooperative agreement forges solution for wind turbine projects at Travis AFB
Cooperative agreement forges solution for wind turbine projects at Travis AFB

Posted 2/3/2010   Updated 2/3/2010 Email story   Print story


by Air Mobility Command

2/3/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In a positive step forward to increase the production of wind-driven electrical power next to Travis Air Force base, the Air Force, wind energy developers, and local Solano County government officials came together to solve problems associated with the effects of wind turbines on air traffic control radars.

The group formed what is known as a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the Air Force, represented by United States Transportation Command; FPL Energy Montezuma Wind, LLC; the Sacramento Municipal Utility District; and Westslope Consulting, LLC. enXco Development Corporation also provided information on their proposed construction which was included in the analysis. This collaborative work led to a unique joint research project that assessed the likely impact of three pending wind turbine projects on the capabilities of Travis Air Force Base's air traffic control radar.

According to 60th Air Mobility Wing officials at Travis Air Force Base, the parties worked together and used an innovative simulation methodology developed by Westslope Consulting to actually predict the impact of the wind turbine projects on the radar's coverage. Through the CRADA process, the team determined the base could maintain the necessary level of radar coverage to ensure safe flying operations in and around Travis Air Force Base following construction of the Shiloh III, Montezuma Wind and Solano Wind Project Phase 3 projects in the Montezuma-Collinsville Wind Resource Area. Confidence in the CRADA's results was enhanced by independent government verification.

As a result of this unique government and industry collaboration in the CRADA process, the 60th Air Mobility Wing has withdrawn the aviation safety concerns it previously submitted to Solano County. The Air Force will assess future wind turbine construction proposals using the criteria and standards established in this process and plans further refinement of those criteria and standards through additional cycles of collaborative research.

The "shadowing" effects from spinning wind turbine blades can adversely impact an air traffic control radar's ability to detect aircraft, resulting in a potential risk to aviation safety. Until the CRADA, there had been no mechanism for formal teaming of the parties, sharing of information, and utilizing the analysis to predict the impact of the proposed projects.

The CRADA serves as an example of how the military, business, and surrounding communities can come together to solve a problem with results that are beneficial to all parties.

FPL, SMUD and enXco are three developers of renewable energy resources with proposed wind turbine projects in Solano County, Calif.

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