I’m All for Alternative Energy, But Will it Impact My Airport?

10.25.2011 | HMMH |

by Steve Barrett

HMMH provides answers in ACRP Report.

Growing demand for electricity and the transition to new technologies is pushing energy projects in new geographical areas.  Proposals for wind farms and solar plants are getting the attention of  aviation professionals who see projects proposed near their airports and are concerned that the projects will impact pilot safety and airport operations.  To gather more information on the pertinent issues, the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) funded a Synthesis Report, and I was selected as the Principal Investigator for the study.  The Report, Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation, was released by the ACRP on October 15.

The study looks into the potential impacts of wind farms, solar panels and concentrated solar power plants, and traditional natural gas plants on airports and aviation.  Types of impacts evaluated include solar glare, radar interference, thermal plumes from emission stacks, and penetration of structures into airspace.  The report reviews specific project proposals including the proposed Shepherd Flats Wind Farm in Oregon’s Columbia River Valley and the Blythe Concentrated Solar Plant in the desert of Southeastern California. 

The Synthesis Report, combined with the Solar Guide prepared by HMMH and released by the FAA in November 2010, provides a substantial amount of information on the subject of alternative energy and airports.  ACRP has announced a follow-up Project to develop a Guidebook for energy and aviation professionals that will contain more detailed information including new analyses of specific projects.  HMMH, as a leader in the field of alternative energy and airports, will continue to track these developments closely.

Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation