Finnish researchers have developed a method that facilitates the choosing of locations for wind farms to best prevent disruption of TV broadcasting and mobile communications.
Developed by a team from the VTT Technical Research Centre, the set of tools could help developers of new wind farms struggling with the issue of digital interference at the planning stages.
"The placement of wind turbines can have a major impact on the quality of digital connections across a wide area," said VTT's Principal Scientist Seppo Horsmanheimo.
The effect of wind turbines on digital communications differs from that of static buildings due to the rotation of the blades, which generates dynamic forces. Until recently, few tools have been available to assess this type of impact.
Similar to a static building, a wind turbine can also generate static impact, which can be considerable due to the wind turbine's height.
"With our methods, it is possible to verify the impacts and investigate their actual causes and thereby identify the source of problems and mitigate the impacts," explained VTT's Principal Scientist Markku Sipilä.
The new technology allows the assessment of the need to adjust base station antennae or install additional base stations and television gap-filler transmitters and can thus be used by telecommunication companies to mitigate existing problems.
Finland aims to increase the use of wind power together with other types of renewable energy. However, the country has been struggling with public opposition against such projects and the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, mobile operators and broadcasting company Digita Oy, have been receiving frequent complaints about the disruptions caused by existing projects.
The researchers hope the new tools will minimise the negative impact of wind farm construction, thus lessening the public resistance against such plans.