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United Kingdom

Maiden trial for "stealth" wind turbines

The first full-scale trial of "stealth" turbine technology in Britain is to start this summer after a community group was granted consent for a 2 MW turbine on the outskirts of Glasgow. Initial plans for a three turbine cluster by the Castlemilk and Carmunnock Community Wind Park Trust had to be ditched due to objections from National Air Traffic Services. NATS was concerned about the impact of the turbines on its radar. The site for the turbines, at Cathkin Braes country park, is ten kilometres from Glasgow Airport. The movement of turbine blades causes false plots -- or a twinkling effect -- on radar screens, which can obscure the tracking of other moving objects. NATS has not objected to the trust's revised plans for a single 125 metre Vestas turbine using "stealth" rotor blade technology developed by research and development firm QinetiQ. According to QinetiQ, modelling shows that its "stealth" composite blade material reduces the number of false plots on radar screens. The company had been looking for a site to conduct field trials to validate the results of the modelling. From Carmunnock Community Wind Park Trust, Margo Smith is relieved the project can at last proceed to construction and begin to generate revenues for the community. "It has taken us seven years to get to this stage," she says.

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