Wind turbines cannot be placed too close to airports, increasing the risk of collision as well as interfering with the navigation systems. In order to support the energy transition in Belgium, Skeyes, the air navigation and traffic service provider, presented a new set of measures, including the removal of the protection zone around Charleroi airport, without compromising the safety and efficiency of air traffic.
In particular, the company is replacing outdated technologies with state-of-the-art technical installations that are much more resistant to the potentially negative effects of wind turbines. The main challenge is to remove restrictions related to the company’s protection criteria, as wind turbines can pose a risk to civil aviation safety by interfering with aviation radars and beacons. Moreover, they increase the risk of collisions near airports.
The new ground radar at Charleroi airport and the removal of the protection zone around it are a further step in this direction. Wind energy projects closer to the airport can now be evaluated and receive a positive recommendation. The technology used will be extended over the entire Belgian territory in the coming years.
The company also presented an interactive map it is making available to the wind energy sector, which will make it easier for them to consult the protection criteria. The consequences of the new measures are clearly visible on this map, the radar protection zone disappearing completely and a perimeter of 3 km being freed up. Applicants no longer need to provide studies in advance for the feasibility of placing turbines closer to the airport, skeyes will directly handle the analysis.
The measures to create more space for wind energy projects show that skeyes wants to actively contribute to the energy transition.Johan Decuyper, CEO skeyes
“All these investments also have a positive impact on the overall safety of air traffic”, said the company’s CEO. “The ground radar has many similarities with the future surveillance technology -Wide Area Multilateration or WAM- that skeyes plans to deploy, as it is based on the same technology, where the position of the aircraft is determined by triangulation. This technology will be further deployed in the area in the coming years.”
A €13.5 million budget has been allocated as a supporting measure for technical works, without of course forgetting safety, which always comes first.Georges Gilkinet, Vice-Prime Minister and Mobility Minister
“The war in Ukraine proves once again that energy supply is of great geostrategic and political importance. It is one more reason why the development of renewable energy is important, not just to reach our country’s climate and energy goals. Since February of this year it is also, more than ever, a crucial incentive for our country’s greater energy independence. It is a matter of national security. The federal government has set a goal to increase the production of renewable energy in our country with 1,5 GW; that is why our government has acted on a green proposal to reduce the restricting thresholds for civil and military air navigation beacons and radars to a minimum”, highlighted Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet
In line with the concrete measures already taken, skeyes has drawn up a new roadmap that takes into account the priorities and demands of Edora1 and the VWEA2, the two national bodies representing the various actors of the wind energy sector. These measures focus on three main aspects: the improvement of radar surveillance technology, the transition to satellite navigation and the adaptation of operational procedures.