Innovative ideas sought to mitigate radar risk of wind farms

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NEW technology to ensure future wind farms will not affect the UK’s Air Defence radar system will be developed as part of a £2m innovation competition launched this week.

Proposals for innovative solutions and advances in technology that alleviates the impact off-shore wind turbines could have on military and civilian radar systems are being sought by the Ministry of Defence’s innovation hub, the Defence and Security Accelerator.

Defence and Security Accelerator is leading the work on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Royal Air Force, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

Wg Cdr Helena Ramsden, Air Capability Development, RAF Air Command, commented on the scheme: “We are investing in cutting-edge innovation and harnessing the best technology from the brightest minds in the country.

“This competition demonstrates our commitment to keeping the skies above the UK safe from aerial threats while accelerating crucial work to allow the nation to do more to combat climate change.”

This builds on the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, published by the Government in March 2019.

Adam Moore, Defence and Security Accelerator delivery manager, said: “Crucial innovation like this is vital if we are to meet our renewable energy targets.

“This competition will not only help us meet our green energy needs but it will help boost UK prosperity, entrepreneurs and innovators by investing in their game-changing technology.

“Defence and Security Accelerator is proud to be working closely with BEIS, the RAF and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to lead this important work which could transform the UK’s approach to offshore wind power generation.”

In the Deal the government committed to work with the sector and wider stakeholders, setting out that we could see up to 30GW of offshore wind by 2030 (expected to represent around 30% of the UK’s electricity need), with a manifesto commitment to increase this to 40GW by 2030.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin added: “Defence technologies have a huge amount to offer the demands of the 21st century UK – including addressing the challenge of climate change.

“We have an incredible skills base in the UK and this initiative will harness the power of wind turbines while ensuring our air defence standards.”

The deal also set out industry targets of supporting 27,000 jobs and £2.4bn per annum of exports by 2030.

Multiple proposals are expected to be funded with up to £2m available in total from the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme.

Full details and scope of the Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence competition can be found here.