Click for next page ( 2

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
INVESTIGATING SAFETY IMPACTS OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES ON AIRPORTS AND AVIATION SUMMARY Economic, technical, and social factors are leading to a nationwide expansion in energy developments. New technologies and innovations are making renewable energy generation more efficient and cost-effective. Growth in energy demand combined with a shift toward a decentralized energy-generation network is moving energy projects away from population centers to locations where indigenous energy resources can be harnessed. As projects are proposed in new areas, potential conflicts with existing uses including airports and aviation have emerged. The purpose of this report is to compile existing literature, data, and ongoing research on physical, visual, and communications systems interference impacts from energy technologies on airports and aviation safety. Information has been collected from both published and unpublished sources, and interviews have been conducted with experts in the fields of avia- tion and energy. The intended audience for the report is airport operators, aircraft pilots, planning managers, energy developers, and legislators and regulators responsible for aviation safety, land use compatibility, airport planning and development, and airport financial self- sustainability. With a comprehensive inventory undertaken of the safety impacts of energy technologies on airports and aviation, gaps in the existing knowledge base are identified along with future research to fill those gaps. These suggestions are summarized at the end of the report. The energy technologies that are the focus of this report are: Solar Photovoltaic Panels and Farms--Solar photovoltaic generates electricity from sunlight on light-absorbing panels, with many panels together representing a solar farm. Concentrating Solar Power Plants--Concentrating solar power utilizes mirrors to focus and intensify the sun's heat to boil water and drive a traditional steam turbine for the production of electricity. Wind Turbine Generators and Farms--Wind turbine generators convert energy from wind to electricity either as single units or multiple units also known as farms. Traditional Power Plants--Traditional power plants are fueled by fossil or biofuels and generate base load electricity by boiling water and forcing the steam through a turbine. Cooling systems are necessary to cool the steam for reuse. Peaker power plants are a subset of this category, which are being proposed to start-up and shut down quickly in response to seasonal fluctuations in energy demand. Electrical Transmission Infrastructure--Transmission infrastructure, including towers and electrical lines, are a fundamental component of any energy project that generates electricity and delivers it to the electrical grid. The potential impacts of energy technologies that have been identified are as follows: Physical Penetration of Navigable Airspace (also referred to in this report as "airspace") as defined by FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) Part 77--Structures rising more than 200 ft above ground level or less when located close to airports intrude on defined airspace.

OCR for page 1
TABLE 1 SUMMARY OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES AND POTENTIAL IMPACTS Potential Impacts Energy Technology Impact Assessment Mitigation Examples References Metric Physical Solar photovoltaic Part 77 review Appropriate siting Solar PV, Oakland International, FAA (2010f). Technical Guidance for Penetration of California: design accommodates Evaluating Selected Solar Airspace Concentrating solar Affect on minimum en Modify structure height imaginary surface Technologies at Airports power route altitude Marking and lighting Ivanpah Solar Plant, California: 3 FAA (2008a). Procedures for Wind turbine TERPs penetration of power towers each 459 ft tall; Handling Airspace Matters, Order JO generators 35 ft or more Update air navigation charts FAA lighting required 7400.2G Traditional power Modification to instrument Bowers Field, Ellensburg plants approach procedures Washington: increased approach minimums after Wild Horse Electrical Wind Farm constructed transmission Blythe Solar Plant, California: CEC decision decreased height of transmission towers, lights, and ball markers Communications Solar photovoltaic Corona discharges New radar facilities Solar PV, Oakland International, U.S. Transportation Command (2010). Interference where leaks occur California: 500-ft set-back from Assessment of Wind Farm Concentrating solar between conductors Transponders in aircraft ASR Construction on Radar Performance, power and insulators Cooperative Research and Building set-backs from Shepherd Flats Wind Farm, Development Agreement, Research Wind turbine primary radar Oregon: FAA approval Conclusions and Recommendations generators contingent on upgrade of primary Radar-absorbing material radar facilities Traditional power plants Correction to STARS Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield configuration California: study concludes Electrical transmission impacts avoided with software upgrade via STARS configuration Glare Visual Solar photovoltaic Ho Method (see Ho et Anti-reflective coating Blythe Solar Plant, California: California Energy Commission Impairment al. 2009) CEC decision required update of (2010). Blythe Solar Power Project Concentrating solar Modified flight procedures air nautical charts, operational Commission Decision power movements during nighttime, and Proper siting and design documentation of complaints Ho, C., et al., (2009). Hazard Analysis of Glint and Glare from Notification to aviation Ivanpah Solar Plant, California: Concentrating Solar Power Plants, community CEC decision requires Solar PACES 2009

OCR for page 1
TABLE 1 (continued ) development of heliostat Positioning mirrors during non- monitoring plan, and power tower California Energy Commission daylight hours luminescence monitoring plan, (2010). Ivanpah Solar Power Project update of air nautical charts Commission Decision Continuous operations and maintenance Specific design requirements Glare avoiding operational planning Procedures for recording and responding to public complaints Thermal Plume Concentrating solar Australian Method Notification to aviation Blythe Solar Plant, California: FAA (2006). Safety Risk Analysis of Turbulence power (4.3 m/s velocity community CEC decision required update of Aircraft Overflight of Industrial signifies potential air nautical charts Exhaust Plumes (DOT-FAA-AFS- Traditional power impact) Modified flight procedures 420-6-1) plants Ivanpah Solar Plant, California: Aircraft preserve 1,000-ft flights over facility no lower than buffer from energy facilities 1,350 ft Avoid flights directly over the facility Vapor Plume Concentrating solar Aircraft preserve 1,000-ft Ivanpah Solar Plant, California: Visual Impact power buffer from energy facilities flights over facility no lower than 1,350 ft Traditional power Avoid flights directly over the plants facility Rotor Turbulence Wind turbine Trolberg setback (750- Troldborg, N., et al. (2007). Actuator generators ft buffer from wind Line Simulation of Wake of Wind turbine) Turbine Operating in Turbulent Inflow," Journal of Physics: Conference Series 75. The Science of Making Torque from Wind TERPS = Terminal Instrument Procedures; PV = photovoltaic; CEC = California Energy Commission; STARS = Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System; ASR = airport surveillance radar.

OCR for page 1
4 Communications Interference--Electromagnetic interference can be caused by any large structure that can reflect radar signals causing loss of radar coverage "downstream" or produce false radar signals referred to as clutter. Physical structures can also obstruct view of navigational aids. Visual Impacts from Glare and Glint--Certain materials produce glint (a momentary flash of bright light) and glare (a continuous source of bright light), which can disrupt pilot and air traffic controller vision. Visual Impacts from Vapor Plumes--Vapor plumes can be caused by the release of power plant exhaust from wet cooling systems resulting in reduced pilot visibility. Turbulence from Thermal Plumes--Thermal plumes are created by power plants using dry cooling systems releasing hot air that rises at a measurable rate and causes air tur- bulence. Unlike a vapor plume, that turbulence cannot be perceived by a pilot, which increases the potential risk to aviators. Turbulence Downwind of Wind Turbine Rotors--Wind turbines disrupt uniform air flow causing unseen turbulence produced downstream of wind turbines. The information collected for this report is summarized in Table 1. The table presents technologies and potential impacts, metrics identified for assessing impacts, example proj- ects, useful references, and data gaps. It was found that a significant amount of research has been conducted, particularly over the past year, on energy technologies and their safety impacts on airports and aviation. Some of the issues (e.g., wind turbine impacts on radar) have received more study than others (e.g., visual impairment of glare). Current activities of government agencies studying these issues are also summarized. In general, data collection efforts have been reactive in response to new proposals for energy facilities. Based on this information, additional field studies may be conducted on each technology that can be used to further define thresholds for assessing impacts and establishing a carrying capacity limit for each technology. Further research may include a baseline inventory of energy facilities for implementing planning and conduction cumulative impact assessment; siting and planning guide books to include mitigation and opportunities for aviation adapta- tion; and glare and thermal plume turbulence assessment tools.