Work group formed to reconcile interests of wind farm developers, defense forces (1)

Wind farm in Aulepa, Lääne County. (Postimees/Scanpix)
7/13/2016 2:43 PM
Source: BNS
Category: News

Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso has set up a work group to try and find a solution for how to build new wind farms in Estonia without disturbing the work of defense forces' radars.

According to a working order signed by the minister, the work group's initial task will be to determine what regions in Estonia would be suitable for the establishment of wind farms, after which they must search and explore various options for setting up wind farms in said areas in such a way that they would not undermine the country's military capabilities.

The third task of the work group will be to examine the possibility of the construction of national defense facilities being financed by private investors and draft legislation enabling private investors to finance structures or other acquisitions necessary for national defense.

The work group, which will be led by Ministry of Defence Undersecretary for Defence Planning Meelis Oidsalu as chairman and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Comunication Deputy Secretary General for Energy and Construction Ando Leppiman as deputy chairman, has been convened through 2022.

The Ministry of Defence announced in January that new wind farms slated to be built in northeastern Estonia could hinder the work of defense force radars and thus undermine Estonia's reconnaissance and early warning capabilities.

Maj. Mati Kuppar, an air surveillance engineer and head of the technical group in the Estonian Air Force, noted that there were multiple issues related to radar.

"First, the wind turbines' rotating rotor blades create false targets for a radar," explained Kuppar. "The ion emission of the blades is largely similar to the emission of an aircraft, which means that they are identified as flying craft."

A bigger issue was that Estonian radars would be blind to areas situated behind the wind turbines. When turbines are 200 meters, or approximately 656 feet, high and too close to a radar, the blind spot created would be high enough for a military aircraft to operate in it, added the officer. The wind farm would hinder radio reconnaissance as well, as rotating blades would scramble the radio signal badly enouguh that identifying the entire message and its place of origin would be unlikely.

Eleon AS, a company owned by Estonian businessmen Andres and Oleg Sõnajalg, is planning on establishing a plant for the manufacture of extra large wind turbines in Ida-Viru County with a production capacity of up to 60 turbines for year, and insists it needs a wind farm in the same area to serve as a development, testing and demonstration facility.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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