Yacht & Coast

Environment

Dutch urged to copy neighbors on windfarms

February 27, 2014 by robert in Environment, Featured with 0 Comments

SCHEVENINGEN _ An alliance of recreational boaters, North Sea resort towns, charter companies and sports fishermen is raising objections to plans for more offshore windfarms much closer to the Dutch North Sea coast. Boaters and fisherman complain that since those farms are off limits to them, they will be forced to venture closer to commercial shipping. Coastal towns moan that windmills built 6-to-22 kms offshore will be eyesores that will scare tourists away and kill thousands of jobs.

The government is studying the size and location of future North Sea wind parks that will be closed to yachts and fishermen. Critics urge it to take a cue from Britain, Germany and Denmark which let recreational boaters and fishermen into their wind parks. Yachters will find it hard to go around wind farms since these can can cover areas of up to 100 sq., nm. Erecting windmills several miles from the North Sea resort of Scheveningen alarms regatta sailors. The waters off  Scheveningen feature popular international races. Also, Scheveningen has just been added as a 24-hour stop on the last leg of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

Britain, which allows boats of up to 24m into its wind parks, has done some useful thinking about the impact of wind farms on recreational boating. A recent UK Marine Guidance Note made these points:

_ Wind parks have a “minimal impact” on VHF radio, GPS, cellphone and AIS communications. UHF and other microwave systems suffer “from the normal masking effect when turbines were in the line of the transmissions.”

_ Wind turbines can “generate strong radar echoes that” at close range may mask “real targets.” These develop at about 1.5 nm away. Careful adjustment of radar controls can suppress some of these spurious radar returns. “But mariners are warned that there is a consequent risk of losing targets with a small radar cross section, which may include buoys or small craft, particularly yachts or GRP constructed craft. Due care should be taken in making such adjustments.”

- Offshore wind turbines in Britain “have the lowest point of the rotor sweep at least 22m. above Mean High Water Springs. This clearance should be ample for the majority of small craft. Those with a greater air draught should be aware of this height, and take appropriate care.

_ Turbines “de-power” the wind by about 10%. The wind-shadow impact reduces with distance in the lee of a turbine. “The wind … will be expected to recover downwind of the turbine. Consequently, wind-shear may occur as the wind back fills.”

 

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