MOD paves way for new wind-farm-friendly radars

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The MOD has agreed a deal for energy companies to fund new wind-farm-friendly radars, with the potential to unlock more than four gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy - enough to power over two million homes.

A new Air Defence Radar that is not adversely affected by wind farms has been installed and tested on the Norfolk coast, allowing for the potential releasing of 3.3GW of renewable energy. Until recently, the MOD has objected to wind farms located near Air Defence Radars due to the interference caused by the turbine blades.

In an award-winning follow-on deal, the MOD recently ordered two more of the wind-farm-friendly radars, funded by developers, which will be installed in Northumberland and Yorkshire, unlocking a further 750 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. This deal will promote further development of wind farms and help the Government reduce carbon emissions.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan said:

The MOD was instrumental in convincing the energy companies to collaborate and jointly fund the cost of the radar, meeting operational requirements and ultimately enabling the generation of more renewable energy. This is good news for all parties to this arrangement.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said:

We must rapidly increase the levels of homegrown clean energy produced in the UK. Wind farms and other forms of renewable energy will help boost our energy security, and ultimately our national security. I am pleased that an outcome has been reached that is beneficial to our national security, energy security and decarbonisation goals.

On behalf of the MOD, Serco installed a Lockheed Martin TPS-77 Air Defence Radar near Cromer, on the Norfolk coast. The MOD has therefore removed planning objections to five further offshore wind farms in the Greater Wash. The new TPS-77 was delivered in a project between Serco, Lockheed Martin, the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, to produce a radar not affected by wind farm turbine blades.

The radar project was delivered on time, within cost, and met stringent performance requirements, and, as a result, the DE&S project team was shortlisted as one of the top three of 750 project teams in the Civil Service Awards 2011, and won an internal MOD award.

The two new wind-farm-friendly radars in Northumberland and Yorkshire, replacing existing radars, provide the potential to remove objections to multiple future wind farms, estimated to be able to provide in total over 750MW of renewable energy.