David A Spera and Dipak L Sengupta
NASA Contractor Report 194468
During the late 1970's and early 1980's, concerns about the potential interference of wind turbine generators with electromagnetic communication signals led to a series of research studies, both in the laboratory and in the field, conducted by the staff of the University of Michigan Radiation Laboratory. These studies were sponsored by organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy, the Solar Energy Research Institute and private developers of wind power stations. Research objectives were to identify the mechanisms by which wind turbines might adversely affect communication signals, estimate the severity of these effects for different types of signals (e.g. television, radio, microwave, and navigation), and formulate mathematical models with which to predict the sizes of potential interference zones around wind turbines and wind power plants. This work formed the basis for preliminary standards on assessing electromagnetic interference) by wind turbines.
With the current renewal of interest in wind energy projects, it is appropriate that the many experimental and analytical aspects of this pioneering work be reviewed and correlated. The purpose of this study is to combine test data and theory from previously published and unpublished research reports into a unified and consistent set of equations which are useful for estimating potential levels of television interference from wind turbines. To be comprehensive, these equations will include both horizontal-axis and vertical-axis wind turbines, blade configuration parameters (e.g. number, size, material, twist, and coning), signal frequency and power, and directional characteristics of the receiving antenna.
The approach that is followed in this report is as follows: First, some basic equations that describe electromagneticsignals with interference are presented without detailed derivations, since the latter are available in the references. Minor changes in terminology are made for purposes of consistency. Next, the concept of a signal scatter ratio is introduced, which defines the fraction of the signal impinging on a wind turbine that is scattered by its blades onto a nearby receiver. Equations from references are modified for the calculation of experimental scatter ratios (from measured signals containing interference) and idealized scatter ratios (from rotor characteristics and relative locations of the transmitter, the turbine, and the receiver). Experimental and idealized scatter ratios are then calculated and compared for 75 cases from the literature, in which TVI measurements were made around a variety of wind turbines. An empirical equation is then defined.for estimating the probability that an actual scatter ratio will differ from an idealized ratio by a given amount. Finally, a sample calculation of the size of a potential TV interference zone around a hypothetical wind power station is presented.