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Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Moving Forward." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook for Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22399.
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Page 67
Page 68
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Moving Forward." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook for Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22399.
×
Page 68
Page 69
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Moving Forward." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook for Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22399.
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Page 69

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67 Moving Forward The knowledge base related to potential safety impacts of energy technologies on airports and airspace has advanced considerably in recent years due to the efforts of the FAA and the ACRP. This work has been central to the identification of the best practices guidance captured in Chapter 4. When applied to individual projects, these best practices will help to mitigate, minimize, and even prevent harmful aviation safety impacts. Yet, important work in this research area is still necessary. This section provides some summary conclusions of the research and new areas for potential research topics based on progress to date. In addition, this body of work supports rec- ommendations for different parties involved in the airport and energy fields to increase opportunities to develop new energy projects on or near airports that may provide airport and local economic and environmental benefits while pre- serving airspace as a finite resource. 5.1 Conclusions on Current Status of Energy and Aviation Based on the research conducted for this Guidebook, the following conclusions are evident: 1. Impacts of energy facilities are specific to the technology, so it is important to refer to the technology section when using this guidance. 2. Specific guidance and criteria that apply to all projects in a particular technology area are difficult to identify. How- ever, applying evaluation tools is the best way to proceed in assessing impacts of individual projects. 3. With the exception of structures that rise to 200 ft. or greater above-ground level, there is broad uncertainty as to whether or not an energy development project will impact airspace because: a. Physical impacts of structures below 200 ft. depend on proximity to an airport and level and type of aviation activity specific to a given area and b. Non-physical impacts are not well defined. 4. Because many projects do not trigger a specific airspace review threshold, airports must monitor proposed devel- opment activity and notify the FAA about any projects of concern. 5. Solar PV projects at airports have a well defined process for evaluation and approval using SGHAT, which should effectively avoid impacts and streamline approvals. 6. There is no simple solution to wind energy and radar impacts, though the Sandia National Laboratories’ cur- rent research effort appears to be a reasonable technolog- ical approach to mitigating some impacts and allowing both wind farm construction and airspace protection. 7. Marking of METs and notifying pilots is critical as evi- denced by recent policy recommendations of the NTSB. 8. The FAA is developing guidance for future oil and gas drilling projects based on the experiences of airports like DFW, DIA, and IDI, which will be very helpful in facilitat- ing projects that enhance airport revenue while protecting airspace. 9. Thermal plume impacts continue to be an area of concern for local stakeholders. Power plant developers should use the MITRE Model (when publicly available from FAA) and other models or guidance (i.e., CASA) to present infor- mation to federal permitting agencies to demonstrate that individual projects will not produce a hazard to fixed- wing aircraft. 10. The FAA and airports should develop a list of electricity infrastructure that does not comply with FAR Part 77 and work with electric utilities to include mitigation of those impacts as part of their infrastructure investment program. 11. Any project regardless of technology type should seek guidance from the FAA, state, and local airports early in the planning process to avoid impacts. C H A P T E R 5

68 5.2 Future Work 5.2.1 No-Glare Solar Panel The current solution to glare is to perform a glare analysis using SGHAT, which will help identify sites and designs that could be problematic. Another potential solution would be to deploy a solar panel that does not produce a reflection intensity that produces an ocular hazard. Research conducted as part of this project studied a number of commercially available solar modules and measured the amount of light reflected in a laboratory setting. One of the panels produced no specular reflection at the standard measurement incidence angle (20°) and less than 5 percent reflection at an incidence angle of 80 percent. The Sandia National Laboratories are continuing to evalu- ate different PV samples to better understand the correlation between surface texturing (i.e., roughness) and light scatter- ing, which has impacts on glare. Profilometry tests are being performed to quantify the roughness (i.e., mean height and frequency) on different samples. These parameters are being correlated to the amount of solar glare and scatter observed. The objective is to prescribe future guidelines for glass texturing and/or roughness parameters that will significantly reduce the potential for ocular impacts from solar glare on PV modules. As part of this work, there is interest in deploying some of the deep-textured panels with a low level of reflection for investigation in the field. An inquiry has been made with the PV panel manufacturer to see if the panel can be obtained for this research. A potential challenge with deeply textured glass modules is its potential affinity to soiling. Additional studies are necessary to quantify the trade-off between soiling, glare, and transmission to the PV cell. 5.2.2 Wind Radar and Turbulence Research Given the growth in wind power and its success in gen erating clean, cost-effective electricity, the expectation is that more wind farms will be constructed and aviation radar potentially compromised. The possible solutions to this problem are (1) prohibiting the construction of the wind farm, (2) moving the radar, or (3) applying some mitigation technology. Mitigation technology may be the best option for achiev- ing the two national objectives of constructing wind power and preserving national airspace. The fieldwork for the IFT&E Program was completed in Spring 2013 and results will be released in a series of reports available through the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Wind Program web site.123 There is likely to be additional work to advance mitigation technologies and Sandia National Laboratories will continue to lead that work. Aviation interests will need to continue their engagement in this research. Finally, the new Scaled Wind Farm Technology Facility, managed by the Sandia National Laboratories and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, will add valuable research on turbine-turbine interaction, complex wind farm aerodynamics, and the effects of WTG turbulence on aircraft (see Section 3.2.3.2). 5.2.3 Gain Experience with Modeling Tools The research highlights availability of new modeling tools to help predict potential impacts from proposed projects. The modeling tools discussed include the following: • SGHAT for glare (https://share.sandia.gov/phlux) • Fraunhofer for wind turbine turbulence • MITRE Thermal Plume Hazard Model for thermal plumes (when released by FAA) The aviation industry should work with the organizations that developed these tools to identify cases where they were applied and what the impacts were. This research would pro- vide information to help determine how often the tools are being used, how the results were evaluated against thresholds of impact, and if there are any changes that might be recom- mended based on lessons learned. 5.2.4 Status of Electric Transmission Infrastructure as an Obstruction Some of the preliminary research on electric transmission infrastructure uncovered several instances where existing transmission lines are an airspace obstruction. The extent of the problem has not yet been evaluated and may require addi- tional research on known obstructions and other electrical infrastructure that poses a potential physical hazard to aviation. 5.3 Coordination and Collaboration Given that energy and transportation are two critical aspects of the public infrastructure with individualized missions and needs, it is important to create structured coordination and collaboration to ensure that each area can progress without impeding the other. The research has revealed a few specific areas for enhancement of coordinated collaboration in energy and aviation. 5.3.1 Interagency Coordination on Wind Energy Siting On the federal government level, the FAA, DoD, and DHS each have a stake in protecting the NAS for provision of air- space resources to aviation users and protection of those 123DOE, EERE Wind Program: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/rd.html.

69 resources for national security purposes. In addition, NOAA is keenly interested in protecting weather radars that could be adversely affected by wind farms. While these organiza- tions have collaborated through such programs as the FAA Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) review process and the DoD Siting Clearinghouse, it would be very effective if each could agree on consistent siting guid- ance for wind turbines. At present, the FAA has specific siting criteria that it uses in evaluating individual projects. The DoD relies on the siting clearinghouse process, which is in part cooperative with the FAA. The DHS has stated that it will be preparing siting guidance but nothing has been released at present. A coordinated siting approach could avoid confu- sion on the review of future projects and allow those that are compliant to be approved more swiftly. Furthermore, state government agencies, particularly in FAA Block Grant States, and local entities must also be involved in project planning and coordination efforts, as significant decisions are often most effectively achieved at the state and local level. 5.3.2 IFT&E Results The IFT&E is a model interagency program that will pro- vide important information about mitigating the impacts of wind farms on radar. The individual test results and associ- ated recommendations are expected to achieve the following objectives (see Section 3.2.3.1): • Accelerate the adoption of mitigation technologies by the radar community. • Allow the sponsor agencies to make near-term and future investment decisions. • Provide government agencies quantitative WTG interference data that can be used by government researchers to develop new mitigation technologies. • Provide additional insights and a deeper scientific under- standing into the phenomenology of wind turbine inter- ference on radar systems for all stakeholders. • Encourage participants to use their proprietary information garnered during the tests for product improvements. The publication of the results should be an opportunity for the cooperating agencies to proceed on several fronts to implement the recommendations. 5.3.3 Outreach to Energy Industry One of the important findings of this research is that only certain projects trigger an obvious airspace study and that many other projects may not be reviewed until a problem is identified during or after construction. Types of projects that may not be reviewed include solar PV off airport property, wind turbines and METs less than 200 ft. in height, oil and gas off airport property, and electricity transmission infrastructure. Projects that have resulted in airspace hazards after construc- tion include METs and electric transmission towers. To min- imize these occurrences, the aviation community needs to increase outreach to the energy industry, both formally and informally. Some of the options that the aviation community should consider are listed in Table 5.1. Activity Who Why Monitor local development activity Airport, Aviation Stakeholders Because project proponents that may not notify the airport are likely to be involved in a broader public discourse Meet with local government officials Airport, Aviation Stakeholders Inform them about airport’s interests in protecting airspace; local officials can also inform project proponents about need to communicate with airport Collaborate on communications with State DOT Airport, Aviation Stakeholders State DOT can expand visibility of airspace protection communication efforts Meet with the local utility company Airport, Aviation Stakeholders An annual meeting to discuss future projects might be successful in planning for airspace compatibility Coordinate with national aviation interest groups Airport, Aviation Stakeholders Groups like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association track issues of concern to constituents and are active in airspace protection projects Engage national energy associations FAA, Airport Associations Contact national associations for wind, solar, oil and gas, and energy generators about working groups, conferences, and other opportunities to inform their constituents about airspace impacts Engage federal energy agencies FAA, DoD, DHS Contact federal agencies involved with encouraging energy research and communication to discuss airspace protection Table 5.1. Options for outreach to the energy industry.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 108: Guidebook for Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace describes processes to plan, develop, and construct energy production and transmission technologies at and around airports. The guidebook emphasizes aviation safety practices in order to help ensure a safe and efficient national air system while still helping to meet U.S. domestic energy production needs.

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