QinetiQ/Vestas 'stealth' turbine is hoped to remove a major planning barrier to wind power developments

Technology consultant QinetiQ and manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems have developed a “stealth” wind turbine that reduces interference with radar systems and could remove one of the major barriers to the development of wind farms.

The technology, which has taken five years to develop, uses radar-absorbing materials integrated into the turbine's blades, nacelle and tower to reduce the size of the radar signature made by individual turbines, to the point where they can be factored out of air traffic control and air defence systems, claims QinetiQ.

Stealth turbine
A prototype of QinetiQ's “stealth” blade is fitted onto a Vestas V90 turbine at Swaffham wind park in Norfolk

With proposed wind farms potentially generating 9GW blocked by objections from radar operators, the technology could have a major effect on wind farm planning in both the UK and the rest of the world.

A full-scale demonstration of the technology has been carried out at a wind farm in Norfolk as part of a programme part-funded by the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Mark Roberts, strategic business director for energy and environment at QinetiQ, said: “We believe that stealth turbine technology could be a genuine game-changer for the renewable energy industry by removing a major barrier to its development.”