• Directory of Taiwan

Push for more renewables may undermine Taiwan’s defense capabilities

Wind turbines could degrade performance of radars used in anti-missile systems

 Wind farm. (Unsplash, <a href="">Nicholas Doherty</a> photo)

 Wind farm. (Unsplash, Nicholas Doherty photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan may find itself in a quandary over the needs to develop wind power and bolstering national defense after reports flagged wind energy infrastructure as a potential hindrance to military radar capabilities.

The military has confirmed that wind turbines could interfere with the surface-to-air missile systems deployed in the northwestern coast of Taiwan. The low-frequency noise generated by the turbines is likely to affect the reflected radio waves that phased array radars need to detect signals of missiles or aircraft, per UDN.

The issue was brought to light following a Kyodo News article on June 11 suggesting the Japanese military had asked planned offshore wind power projects to be halted or changed due to similar concerns. The report cited sources as saying the facilities could hamper the ability of Self-Defense Force radars to detect incoming threats.

The Air Force and Navy said on Monday (June 20) that the risk of wind power structures affecting the operations of airports or missile and radar systems will be included in reviewing any such plans to ensure national security is not jeopardized, per CNA.

Concerns have already been aired about wind turbines having the potential to disrupt signals used in navigation, telecommunications, and radar services. The extent to which the impact will be brought upon depends on factors such as the characteristics of the rotor blades and the signal frequency.

The Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration has made net-zero emissions by 2050 a core agenda, which can only be achieved with ramped-up investment in renewables. The largest offshore wind farm in Taiwan, located in the waters off the west coast and operated by Danish multinational power company Orsted, started generating electricity in April.