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OCR for page 33
33 CHAPTER EIGHT CONCLUSIONS As described in this report, energy developments are expand- Wind Turbine Rotor Turbulence--Downwind of a wind ing nationwide as a result of increasing energy demand and turbine the air can be destabilized, producing turbulence development of new and innovative technologies. Although that can impact aircraft. many of these projects result in a decrease in air and water emissions and support national policies including energy secu- This study found that a significant amount of research has been rity and climate change, many are introducing potential con- conducted, particularly over the past year, on energy tech- flicts with existing uses including airports and aviation. This nologies and their safety impacts on airports and aviation. In report has reviewed new energy technologies and their poten- 2010, the FAA completed Technical Guidance for Evaluat- tial impacts with the purpose of defining the current state of ing Selected Solar Technologies on Airports, which generated knowledge and suggesting future research. new information associated with solar photovoltaic panels and farms. The California Energy Commission has conducted The following impacts have been identified and the exist- a review and issued decisions for the Blythe Solar Power ing base of knowledge presented. Plant and the Ivanpah Solar Electric Facility that provide updated guidance on impact assessment of concentrated solar Physical Penetration of Airspace--All of the energy power projects. The DOE's Sandia National Laboratories technologies discussed in this report have the potential has produced information on potential glint and glare from to penetrate airspace depending on their proximity to concentrating solar power technologies. The U.S. Trans- airports. However, wind turbines are the most common portation Command has issued a report in association with energy technology with a potential impact because util- Travis Air Force Base and three private wind energy devel- ity-scale wind turbines can exist more than 300 ft above opment companies on the effect of farm construction on radar ground level. Power towers from particularly concen- performance. trated solar power facilities are being proposed at more than 450 ft in height. Furthermore, the FAA is actively administering airspace Communication Interference--Again, it is possible that reviews to assess the potential impact of new energy projects. any of the energy technologies assessed could interfere Where most effective, these reviews are being completed with aviation radar. However, wind farms have been iden- under a systematic and coordinated federalstate environmen- tified as producing the most significant impact owing to the amount of clutter or false radar signals that are picked tal review process such as those completed by the Bureau of up by navigation and weather radar. Land Management and California Energy Commission for Visual Impact from Glare--This impact is specific to concentrated solar projects in Southern California. Wind tur- solar technologies that have the potential to reflect bine projects have been more difficult to coordinate as a result sunlight from its surfaces. Concentrating solar power of the sheer volume of applications. Although each wind tur- facilities, which use mirrors to actively reflect sunlight bine receives an independent review, a cumulative assessment to concentrate it and boil water, pose the greatest risk becomes more difficult given the volume of applications and of visual impairment from glare. time constraints on reviews. Cooperation between federal Thermal Plume Turbulence--This impact is specific to agencies and in concert with state agencies have helped power generation that boils water to run a steam turbine, identify gaps in the knowledge base and reach consensus which is accomplished either by firing fossil fuels or on high-profile projects as well as a more coordinated review biofuels or with a concentrated solar power facility. The strategy. thermal plume is produced by those facilities that use dry cooling (e.g., an air-cooled condenser) to cool the steam Mitigation measures have been developed by regula- for reuse. tory agencies to minimize the impacts of energy technol- Vapor Plume Visual Impact--As with the thermal plume, ogies. The mitigation measures identified included the the vapor plume is a product of steam turbine electric- following: ity generation. However, the vapor plume is produced by units that utilize evaporative wet cooling to cool the Marking and lighting of wind turbines, power towers, steam for reuse. transmission towers, and other tall structures.

OCR for page 33
34 Operations and maintenance procedures for concentrat- Develop a comprehensive inventory of energy facilities ing solar power facilities to avoid inadvertent glare. to establish a baseline for implementing planning and Use of anti-reflective coatings and roughened surfaces to conducting cumulative impact assessments. minimize glare from solar photovoltaic sources. Formal Conduct a survey of pilots to collect more experiential notices to airmen and updates to nautical charts alerting information about their understanding of potential energy pilots to potential hazards of thermal uplift and glare impact issues and document their experiences. posed by concentrating solar power and air-cooled Conduct a detailed review of aircraft accidents to quan- condensers. tify energy technology components. Monitoring plans to assess the potential impact of glare Prepare siting and planning guidance for each energy on sensitive receptors. technology. Upgrading of radar infrastructure and software to filter Conduct a risk assessment for each energy technology out radar clutter. and opportunities for aviation adaptation. Preservation of a flight buffer of 1,000 ft above energy Assess cumulative impacts for each technology. facilities. Develop predictive glare assessment tools that more actively and consistently quantify glare impacts expe- Based on this information, we suggest the following data rienced at existing facilities. collections be conducted to enhance the existing knowl- Collect field data on thermal plume turbulence to sup- edge base: port an impact assessment threshold.