WIND TURBINE GENERATOR IMPACTS
TO MARINE VESSEL RADAR
Committee on Wind Turbine Generator Impacts to Marine Vessel Radar
Ocean Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Studies
A Consensus Study Report of
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Wind Turbine Generator Impacts to Marine Vessel Radar. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26430.
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COMMITTEE ON WIND TURBINE GENERATOR IMPACTS TO MARINE VESSEL RADAR
WILLIAM L. MELVIN (Chair), Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Smyrna
JENNIFER BERNHARD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
BENJAMIN KARLSON, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico
HAO LING, The University of Texas at Austin (Ret.)
ANDREW McGOVERN, New Jersey Sandy Hook Pilots Association (Ret.), Great River, New York
JOHN STONE, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, District of Columbia
ALEXANDRA SKRIVANEK, Study Director, Ocean Studies Board
EMILY TWIGG, Senior Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board
ELIZABETH COSTA, Program Assistant, Ocean Studies Board
KENZA SIDI-ALI-CHERIF, Senior Program Assistant, Ocean Studies Board (through August 2021)
THANH NGUYEN, Financial Business Partner, Ocean Studies Board
OCEAN STUDIES BOARD
CLAUDIA BENITEZ-NELSON (Chair), University of South Carolina, Columbia
MARK R. ABBOTT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
CAROL ARNOSTI, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
LISA M. CAMPBELL, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
THOMAS S. CHANCE, ASV Global, LLC (Ret.), Broussard, Louisiana
DANIEL COSTA, University of California, Santa Cruz
JOHN R. DELANEY, University of Washington (Ret.), Seattle
SCOTT GLENN, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
PATRICK HEIMBACH, The University of Texas at Austin
MARCIA ISAKSON, The University of Texas at Austin
LEKELIA JENKINS, Arizona State University, Tempe
NANCY KNOWLTON (NAS), Smithsonian Institution (Ret.), Washington, District of Columbia
ANTHONY MACDONALD, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey
THOMAS J. MILLER, University of Maryland, Solomons
S. BRADLEY MORAN, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
RUTH PERRY, Shell Exploration & Production Company, Houston, Texas
JAMES SANCHIRICO, University of California, Davis
MARK J. SPALDING, The Ocean Foundation, Washington, District of Columbia
ROBERT S. WINOKUR, Michigan Tech Research Institute, Silver Spring, Maryland
SUSAN ROBERTS, Director
STACEE KARRAS, Senior Program Officer
KELLY OSKVIG, Senior Program Officer
EMILY TWIGG, Senior Program Officer
MEGAN MAY, Associate Program Officer (through January 2022)
ALEXANDRA SKRIVANEK, Associate Program Officer
VANESSA CONSTANT, Associate Program Officer
SHELLY-ANN FREELAND, Financial Business Partner (through January 2022)
THANH NGUYEN, Financial Business Partner
BRIDGET McGOVERN, Research Associate
KENZA SIDI-ALI-CHERIF, Senior Program Assistant
ELIZABETH COSTA, Program Assistant
GRACE CALLAHAN, Program Assistant
Over the past 15 years or so, the impact of wind turbine generator (WTG) interference on radar performance has caught the attention of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, as they strive to ensure the mission effectiveness of their systems. More recently, in January 2021, the Biden Administration issued Executive Order 14008, resulting in a goal of generating 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. The sheer scale of the requisite deployment of WTG farms on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to meet the objectives for renewable energy holds unique implications for the Maritime Transportation System (MTS), the connection of waterways and ports supporting commerce and recreation.
As marine vessel radars are common tools used by mariners to navigate the MTS, studying the effects of WTGs on radar performance, as well as identifying corresponding mitigating solutions, is an important undertaking for the maritime stakeholder community. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened the Committee on Wind Turbine Generator Impacts to Marine Vessel Radar in 2021 to conduct this study, and this report is a result of that effort.
Marine vessel radars are not presently optimized to operate in a WTG environment. Marine WTGs are very large structures, with towers on the order of several hundred meters and blade lengths exceeding 100 meters. Being heavily composed of steel, the nominal WTG structure has a large radar cross section. Furthermore, many hundreds to thousands of WTGs will be constructed throughout the U.S. OCS. The combination of high radar reflectivity and vast number of WTGs leads to many strong reflected signals entering the radar receiver, further complicated by other factors, such as multipath and range ambiguous returns. In addition, blade motion generates aspect-dependent, Doppler-spread interference. These various effects, left unresolved, combine to complicate navigation decision-making. Certainly, there is a need to collect more data, develop physics-based models, identify key failure mechanisms, and devise mitigating strategies to effectively manage the situation. Such considerations are highlighted in this report, which provides 28 key findings, as well as two specific conclusions and two actionable recommendations to take marine vessel radar into this new era of expansive, offshore, renewable energy.
This report captures the expertise of some of the nation’s leading experts in radar modeling, radar design and applications, marine navigation and safety, and WTG engineering. I want to express my deep appreciation to every member of the committee for their time, talent, and commitment to this important task. I am further grateful for their candor and collegiality, which have served to improve the thought process behind this study while also making for an enjoyable endeavor!
The committee is grateful to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for its responsiveness to the many questions and requests for information while developing this report. In particular, we thank Jennifer Draher and Arianna Baker for their guidance throughout the study process. The committee is also grateful to the many individuals who played a role in completing this study. The committee held four major events during the course of the study, and would like to extend its sincere thanks to all those from the federal government, research institutions, private industry, and other stakeholder groups who appeared before the full committee, or provided background information and discussed relevant issues.
Lastly, the committee extends its deepest appreciation to the National Academies’ staff for their invaluable support and many contributions to the project. The successful and timely completion of this effort would not have been possible were it not for the superb efforts of study director Dr. Lexa Skrivanek and program assistant Elizabeth Costa. It has been an honor working with this team, and we are most grateful for their guidance and expertise.
Dr. William Melvin, Chair
Committee on Wind Turbine Generator Impacts to Marine Vessel Radar
The committee would especially like to thank the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) staff and contractors for their invaluable assistance in providing background information and responding to information requested by the committee and for their participation in meetings. In particular, the committee thanks Jennifer Draher, Arianna Baker, and Thomas Kilpatrick.
This report was also greatly enhanced by discussions with participants at the committee’s four meetings conducted as part of this study. The committee would like to especially acknowledge the efforts of those who gave presentations at these meetings: Jennifer Draher (BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Programs), Arianna Baker (BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Programs), Eric Kunz (Furuno), David Brigada (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory), Russell Colburn (Booz Allen Hamilton), Jeremiah Sheahen (Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies [MITAGS]), Robert Becker (MITAGS), Elizabeth Kretovic (Ørsted, North America—Marine Affairs), Ed LeBlanc (Ørsted, North America—Marine Affairs), George Detweiler (U.S. Coast Guard), Bill Haynes (Furuno), Brandon Ennis (Sandia National Laboratories), and Tim Acland (Hensoldt UK [formerly Kelvin Hughes]).
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed as a draft by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
MELISSA CHOI, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
MARK DAVIS, MEDavis Consulting
J. STUART GRIFFIN, Griffin Maritime Strategies
LOUIS HUSSER, Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, U.S. Department of Defense
DAVID JENN, Naval Postgraduate School
EDWARD LEBLANC, Ørsted Offshore North America
WALTER (WALT) MUSIAL, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
RICK ROBINS, FathomEdge Limited
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Clark Gellings (NAE), Clark Gellings and Associates, LLC, and R. Keith Michel (NAE), Webb Institute. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
Offshore Wind Energy Development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf
Marine Navigation and Radar Interference
2 IMPACTS OF WIND TURBINE GENERATORS ON MARINE VESSEL RADAR
Navigation and Safety Using Marine Vessel Radar
Marine Vessel Radar Design and Operation
Offshore Wind Turbine Generator Characteristics and Deployment
Electromagnetic Characteristics of Wind Turbine Generators
Wind Turbine Generator Impacts on Marine Vessel Radar
3 MITIGATING SOLUTIONS FOR WIND TURBINE GENERATOR EFFECTS ON MARINE VESSEL RADAR
Stakeholder Needs and Capabilities