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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14590.
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Page 5
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14590.
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Page 6

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5This report presents the results of ACRP Project S10-06, Inves- tigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation. This introductory chapter describes the purpose of the report, presents the methodology used to develop the report, and outlines the organization of the report. PURPOSE OF REPORT As federal, state, and local governments increase support for energy sources such as solar, wind, and other types of power plants, the impact of these technologies on the opera- tional safety of airports and aviation is coming under increased scrutiny. Solar energy is a growing alternative energy source. Despite its generally accepted use on or adjacent to airports there are concerns. Two major safety concerns frequently expressed by pilots and airport operators regarding solar collectors are glare and physical location. Glare can cause temporary visual impairment to pilots or controllers. Improper placement can adversely affect the safety of airport operations. Wind energy is another growing alternative energy source. Two major concerns are the height of the turbines/blades and communi- cations systems interference. Other concerns include turbu- lence, lighting and marking for wind farms, and temporary meteorological test facilities. 14 CFR Part 77 addresses the height, location, and size of obstacles to aviation. However, much of this information is advisory in nature, and limited data exist on the extent of radar interference occurrences between wind turbine farms and various types of air traffic control radar systems. States and local governments are wit- nessing an increase in the number of applications to locate power plants adjacent to airports. Exhaust plumes from these plants have the potential to create in-flight hazards that affect the control and maneuverability of aircraft. However, the literature that supports efficient siting of newer technology plants near airports is not available in one location in a concise format for use by airport operators, aviation land use planners, and regulators. The objective of this synthesis project is to compile exist- ing literature, data, and ongoing research on physical, visual, and communications systems interference impacts from energy technologies on airport and aviation safety. It is not an analysis of federal and state energy or aviation policy. The intended audience for the report is airport operators, planning managers, energy developers, and legislators and regulators responsible for aviation safety, land use com- patibility, airport planning and development, and airport financial self-sustainability. METHODOLOGY This synthesis report follows four steps. First, a review of the existing literature was completed to identify potential hazards from energy technologies on airports and aviation. Second, experts in the area of energy and aviation were contacted and interviewed to augment the existing information base. Third, the information has been organized in a systematic format by energy technology and impact type that includes a con- cise understanding of the potential impact, methods avail- able for defining and measuring potential impacts, laws and policies that have been enacted to codify impact definition and required analyses, and mitigation practices available to minimize impacts to an acceptable level. The literature review provides examples from existing projects to support the impact definition and analysis. As a final step, gaps in the existing literature have been identified and suggestions for future research provided. CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

Chapter Two—Energy Technologies and Types of Impacts Chapter Three—Solar Energy and Potential Impacts Chapter Four—Wind Energy and Potential Impacts Chapter Five—Traditional Power Plants and Potential Impacts Chapter Six—Electrical Transmission Infrastructure Chapter Seven—Summary of Data Gaps and Agency Programs Chapter Eight—Conclusions Glossary of Terms, Abbreviations, and Acronyms References An introduction to the developing energy technologies (and associated infrastructure) identified by the Topic Panel as presenting a potential hazard to airport and aviation is provided. As a basis for assessing impacts on airports and aviation the regulatory definition of navigable airspace is presented. Then the potential types of impacts that might occur from the energy technologies on airports and aviation operating in airspace are described. A section on the sources of information available for understanding the current state of practice that have been used in this report is also provided. An introduction to the different types of solar technologies and the potential impacts associated with each is provided. The technologies described are photovoltaics and concentrating solar power. Potential impacts focus on physical penetration of airspace, communications systems interference, visual impacts from glare and vapor plumes, and turbulence from thermal plumes. Technology-specific mitigation measures are provided. Wind energy facilities and potential impacts on airports and aviation are described. A brief overview of the modern wind turbine generator is provided and typical configurations for facilities described. Potential impacts of wind energy facilities are defined as physical penetration of airspace, communications systems interference, and rotor-induced turbulence. Technology- specific mitigation measures are provided. New traditional power plants and their potential impacts on airports and aviation are described. A summary of power plant technology, siting objectives, and electricity generation drivers is provided. Potential impacts from traditional power plants are identified as turbulence from thermal plumes and visual impacts from vapor plumes produced by cooling towers. Technology-specific mitigation measures are provided. All of the energy-generation technologies described previously require electrical transmission infrastructure to deliver electricity along high-voltage lines to areas where the electricity will be consumed (oftentimes referred to as “load centers”). Potential impacts of new transmission infrastructure on airports and aviation include physical penetration of airspace and communications interference. An assessment of potential data gaps is presented along with a description of the benefits of filling those gaps to understanding potential impacts and protecting safe air navigation. In addition, ongoing agency efforts for investigating conflicts between energy and aviation are described. The final chapter summarizes the findings of the report. These findings will provide a technical assessment of current practices, describe barriers to further understanding of the issues and solutions, and identify existing knowledge gaps. A brief glossary of terminology, including abbreviations and acronyms commonly used in energy and aviation, used in the synthesis report is provided. A listing of the reports, websites, and data sources used in preparing the synthesis report is provided. REPORT STRUCTURE The remainder of this document is as follows: 6

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 28: Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation explores physical, visual, and communications systems interference impacts from energy technologies on airports and aviation safety.

The energy technologies that are the focus of this report include the following:

• solar photovoltaic panels and farms,

• concentrating solar power plants,

• wind turbine generators and farms, and

• traditional power plants.

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