Wind farm warning light change

May 4, 2017

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Courtesy Julie Fedorchak

The Public Service Commission has drafted new rules dealing with lights on wind towers.

Right now, most of the towers have blinking red lights – that are on all night. They’re there to keep aircraft away – but neighbors have complained about them. The new rules say new towers have to have “light mitigation technology” – which only turns the lights on when aircraft are in the area.

The Legislature passed a bill requiring the PSC to submit rules. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the PSC has required projects permitted since June of 2016 to use those systems. She said the new rules give preference to projects that commit to installing the systems. And she said the PSC will work with the existing wind farms to install this technology.

"In the end, what we're going to see is -- wind farms transferring to a day where the red lights will be off more than on," Fedorchak said. "And we will get our dark night sky back."

Fedorchak said it's good for the wind power industry, and good for the state's landscape long-term.

Fedorchak said North Dakota is a leader in this area – and will help push that technology forward.

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