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ATESS - Wind Turbines

In certain circumstances, wind turbines, either as single units or grouped together in a wind farm, can negatively affect navigational systems if installed within a certain distance of an aerodrome. Although wind turbines do not transmit or radiate RF signals other than the generation of background noise, they can still affect radar signals in a number of ways including shadowing, mirror-type reflections, clutter or signal scattering. The impact of a radar receiving such a signal could cause critical information about a target (i.e. aircraft) to be lost or cause the target to disappear suddenly and reappear in a different location on the screen. This impact on performance causes great concerns to flying operations in terms of safety to military and civilian personnel and aircraft. In addition, the large blades of wind turbine towers located near an airport are a hazard to low approach and low altitude flights, as well as gliders and skydiving training activities.

To avoid any potential difficulties, the following process is recommended at an early stage in the wind farm development process:

Turbine 1Step 1. The wind turbine project Proponent creates documentation showing:

  • Maps of the location of the proposed wind farm and all the wind turbines
  • Latitude and Longitude of each wind turbine
  • Ground or base elevation above Mean Sea Level for each turbine
  • Height of each nacelle above ground level
  • Diameter of the rotating blades
  • Blade material
  • Local government contact; e-mail address/telephone number

Step 2. The Proponent contacts +WindTurbines@forces.gc.ca with this information to determine if there is any possibility that the proposed wind farm may impact any radar in the area.

Turbine 2Step 3. If it is determined that a given installation may have an impact, the Proponent and the Department of National Defense authority then undertake the necessary studies and non-regulatory mitigation measures to resolve the issue to the mutual satisfaction of both parties involved.

The determination of whether or not a proposed turbine or wind farm may create an unacceptable level of interference with existing radar is very complex and it is not possible to categorically determine if unacceptable interference will occur unless a site-specific analysis is undertaken.

Turbine 3

Guidelines for Consultation/Impacted Areas

The table below provides general area sizes around specific equipment that would require consultation between a potential developer and the Department of National Defense.

Systems General Guidelines for Consultation Zone

Air Defence Radars


Air Traffic Control Radars

  1. Within a 100 km radius of any DND Air Defence Radar.
  2. Within a 80 km radius of any DND Air Traffic Control Search Radar.
  3. Within a 10 km radius of any DND Air Traffic Control Secondary Search Radar.
  4. Within a 40 km radius of any DND Precision Approach Radar.
  5. No Wind Turbine should be constructed within 10 km of a major military airfield.

Department of National Defence Radar Contacts

Systems Contact
Military Air Defence and ATC Radars

E-mail : +WindTurbines@forces.gc.ca

Postal Address:
Wind Turbines
ATESS/CCISF
8 Wing Trenton
Box 1000 Stn Forces
ASTRA, Ontario
K0K 3W0

This contact is for technical assessment and impact on National Defence Radars only. All general public inquiries should be directed to Public Affairs at the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/contact-eng.asp


Other Department of National Defence Contacts

Systems Contact
Military Radio Communication Users

E-mail : mario.lavoie2@forces.gc.ca