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Six wind farms miss deadline for new lighting systems


Six wind farms have missed a December 31st deadline to install new “Aircraft Detection Lighting Systems” on their turbine towers, as required by state law..

Those wind farms were permitted after June of 2016. That new system replaces the blinking red lights or strobes on wind towers, and only light up when an aircraft is in the area, detected by radar.

"We all know that this technology has been talked about for a long time," Fedorchak said. "It's been promised to the people living near the wind farms."

Fedorchak said it was made part of the permitting process for these facilities.

"If I'm living out among these facilities, I might be feeling like this is an empty promise," Fedorchak said.

The law passed by the North Dakota Legislature does not allow the PSC to give these wind operators extra time to get the new systems put in.

Fedorchak said the PSC is sending letters to the six wind farms – telling them they have to comply with the law. She said the companies have been a part of the discussions, and none of them had expressed any concerns with them deadline date.

"This is not a surprise to them," Fedorchak said. "And it was well within their means to meet that deadline. And they didn't."

Fedorchak said the wind farms could be subject to financial penalties for not meeting that deadline. She said one of the wind farms is still under construction – and has promised that the new lighting system will be in when construction is complete.

For older wind farms, the Legislature gave the operators until the end of 2021 to retrofit their turbine towers. And Fedorchak said in those cases, the PSC does have the option of giving them more time.

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