The possibility that six 2 MW wind turbines proposed within ten kilometres of a meteorological radar might interfere with its readings was grounds enough for a local authority to refuse the project a site permit last summer. But as project developer Ventura points out, no proof was given that the machines, to be sited west of Nimes in the Gard département of southern France, will have any impact. Furthermore, existing regulations state that structures likely to cause interference should not be built within five kilometres of a radar. Ventura is appealing the decision. The prefect heading up the département made his decision according to the guidelines issued by government last March. These recommend a protection zone of five to ten kilometres for turbines within line of sight of a radar, depending on its type (Windpower Monthly, May 2008). They also require the prefect to consult the radar operator, though not necessarily to follow the advice given, and to try and find a solution where possible. Ventura suggested carrying out studies to see if there really is a problem, but Météo France was unwilling to do so, says the company's Fabien Viard. Ventura is now commissioning its own expert analysis. The project layout puts the turbines 6.5-7.5 kilometres from Météo France's Manduel radar. Ventura, which was bought by Theolia in 2005, applied for the siting permit in September 2004.
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