Cutting out WTG interference

1 January 2016

Methods and tools developed in a research project conducted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland allow an optimal location to be identified for wind turbines, so that interference with television broadcasting and mobile connections is minimised.

"The placement of wind turbines can have a major impact on the quality of digital connections across a wide area" - VTT's principal scientist, Seppo Horsmanheimo.

A wind turbine's effects on digital communications are dramatically different from those of a large building. The rotation of the wind turbine blades generates a dynamic force which depends on the direction and speed of the wind. Until recently, few tools have been available to assess this impact. A standard building produces a static impact.

A wind turbine can also generate a greater static impact than an ordinary building, because turbine towers tend to be considerably taller, and frequently large numbers of wind turbines are located in the same area.

The solutions VTT has developed can be used by operators building mobile communication or television networks in the vicinity of existing wind turbines, as well as by energy companies. The new technology allows prior assessment of the need to adjust base station antennas or install additional base stations and television 'gap- filler' transmitters.

Given the highly dissimilar views prevailing on the nature and scope of the impacts of wind turbines, reliable measuring techniques are a valuable asset. Citizens in areas of Finland where wind farms have been built have filed complaints with the country's Communications Regulatory Authority, with mobile operators and Digita Oy, the company that owns the television broadcasting network.

“With our methods, it is possible to verify these impacts and investigate their actual causes, and thereby identify the source of problems and mitigate the effects," commented VTT's Markku Sipilä.

The effects of wind power on digital radio communications were analysed under a research project commissioned by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority in the winter of 2014-2015.


(Originally published in MPS January 2016)

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