UK radar deal 'could unlock 2.2GW'

A deal between the UK’s air traffic authority and two major wind developers could enable development of up to 2.2GW of capacity previously bogged down by radar interference issues, the trio said.

Air traffic services company NATS, and utilities SSE and Vattenfall have come to an agreement over funding at two radar sites – Lowther Hill and Great Dun Fell – to make technical modifications to mitigate turbine interference in northern England and southern Scotland.

The upgrade is the result of a three-year research programme called Project RM, which provides “a mitigation service in the vast majority of cases where there is interference, for the length of the planning consent”, said NATS.

The air traffic body – consulted on all UK wind farm planning applications – currently objects to a significant number on aviation safety grounds.

The initial agreement covering two sites includes the option to explore further roll out “as developer demand requires”.

Piers Guy, head of development for Vattenfall UK, said: “This investment in UK Infrastructure will benefit the whole industry by unlocking the potential of gigawatts of otherwise stalled wind power capacity.

“This new capacity would generate well over a billion pounds of new investment creating hundreds of jobs and significantly boosting UK renewable energy production.”

Richard Deakin, NATS chief executive, said: “This is a landmark agreement that heralds a significant technical advance in mitigating the radar interference from wind turbines.

“It unlocks significant potential for wind-based power generation and indeed for the UK in meeting its carbon reduction targets.”