Above is a clip of Judy Collins performing “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly”
from the Muppets TV show in 1977.
Readers of the British Gazette will of course know about the invidious scenario where the attempt to solve one problem leads inevitably to the creation of more problems and therefore brings about the situation where an ever increasing set of difficulties and challenges lay on one’s path.
This of course is most comically and entertainingly illustrated in the song Judy sang. It is also more expensively and much less entertainingly demonstrated in the latest difficulties surrounding the accursed wind turbines.
This is because the wind turbine blades present a problem for air traffic controllers as the tips of the blades travel at about the same speed as a light aircraft and thus the radar operators don’t know if it is a light aircraft, interference or a shadow from a wind turbine.
This problem is however being addressed by using the stealth technology developed for military aircraft.
The technology to reduce radar signatures by applying absorbent coatings has been tried and tested by applying thick, radar-absorbent coating of paint. This however would add substantial extra weight. Altering the shape of the wing (for that is what the turbine blade is but fixed at one end to a shaft) would also reduce efficiency.
However, 144 ft long wing incorporates two layers of glass fibre coated with a special ink that are embedded in the structure. The radar pulse passes through the first layer, is reflected off the second and is effectively trapped between the two. Developed by the defence research company Qinetiq the wing’s aerodynamic profile or efficiency is unaffected.
It is also intended to coat the towers supporting the wind turbines with radar absorbent ,material.
Problem solved then ?
Marine radar operators have problems, too – waves bouncing between windmills and ships can create “ghost images”. Solving the ghosting problem by making the offshore wind farms radar invisible will present a danger to navigation.
Couldn’t planes and boats simply be informed where wind farms are, and give them a wide berth?
Of course – in exactly the same was as rocks, shallows, shoals, reefs and wrecks are marked on charts. But that does not prevent the occasional shipwreck. Especially since Mr. Ed Miliband intends to locate most of the U.K.’s offshore wind farms right in the middle of some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
The simplest, cheapest and easiest solution of course is not to build any more wind farms. On land or at sea.
But then think of all the money the fraudsters would lose.