Wind turbines might be asked to stop in severe weather

Posted on July 6, 2009. Filed under: Wind |


From an article by Scott Williams in the Milwauke Journal Sentinel:

A Dodge County wind farm might be asked to shut down its rotating turbines during severe weather to avoid disrupting a nearby weather radar system.

National Weather Service officials said they have started discussing such options with owners of the Butler Ridge Wind Farm.

The wind farm’s giant turbines have sent false storm signals to the government radar system in nearby Sullivan, which provides severe weather alerts throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Tim Crum, a spokesman at the National Radar Operations Center in Norman, Okla., said the wind farm does not present a significant problem for the radar operation about 30 miles away.

However, an agreement to shut down the turbines during inclement weather remains a possibility, Crum said.

“That would be a positive step, if it becomes necessary,” he said.

Butler Ridge, which began operation about six months ago, has 36 turbines that are each about 260 feet tall and 300 feet wide. The operation generates electricity for several surrounding communities.

The National Weather Service in April said the wind farm’s false storm signals could create confusion during real severe weather conditions.

The owner of the wind farm, Babcock & Brown Ltd., later approached weather service officials to discuss the situation and consider possible solutions.

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