American Broadcasting together with wind energy technology present a tremendous, yet untapped revenue opportunity for small and middle sized farms across the nation. There are approximately 18,000 TV and FM broadcast transmitters distributed across the US. In the Midwest states, the majority of broadcast transmitters (each consuming between 100MWh and 1,500MWh annually) are located on or directly adjacent to farmland. Wind turbines may be sited on farm land surrounding these transmitters to the benefit of the farmer, broadcaster and the nation in general. The farmer’s benefit may be derived by utilizing a small portion of his land, and leveraging local, state and national incentives to purchase a wind turbine and sell all or part of the electricity to the broadcaster. Or, he may lease land to the broadcaster or a third party investment company for the development of a turbine project. In all cases, the local farmer, broadcaster and nation benefit by supplemental income, lower utility costs, and reduction of carbon emissions.
Before broadcasters will allow wind turbines to be sited near their transmitters the risks to their signal integrity must be removed. Rotating blades are known to introduce interference when turbines are located between transmitters and receivers. However, interference due to turbines sited at or very near a digital TV transmitter is relatively unexplored. Our objective is to characterize that interference and develop a set of guidelines for siting wind turbines near digital transmission facilities that will assure negligible interference. In our Phase I study, feasibility will be established by developing a basic engineering model and verifying it for a set of fixed variables by taking signal interference measurements of a transmitter situated near an existing turbine.
The result of our project will be a validated engineering guide that will enable the placement and design of wind turbines that will not interfere with the signals broadcast by co-sited transmitters.
There are approximately 1,200 TV and 2,600 FM transmitters in the 12 windswept Midwest states and another 14,000 transmitters in the remaining states (including Washington DC). Most of the non-Midwest states contain large regions with favorable wind conditions at transmitter sites (i.e. mountain tops, plains, etc.). This represents a total market of approximately $4.0B in the 12 Midwest states and up to $10B in the remaining 38 states. If fully realized, turbines serving all TV and FM markets have the potential to produce approximately 4 GW hours of renewable energy annually, which is equivalent to 8% of all wind power produced in the United States in 2008, thus eliminating 2.5 million metric tons of CO2 annually.