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Wind farm developers to argue for an exemption from ND lighting law

The developers of the proposed Ruso wind farm in northern McLean County have asked to appear before the North Dakota Public Service Commission, to make the case for an exemption from the state’s new law for light mitigation.

State law said wind farms permitted after June of 2016 would have to have new lighting systems that turn on tower lights only when an aircraft is detected in the area. One of the complaints from neighbors of wind farms has to do with the blinking red lights used on many of the towers.

The PSC has said the law doesn’t give the Commission any authority to grant waivers.

"Staff counsel has one opinion on what we're able to do under the law, as far as providing an exception for that wind farm," Commissioner Randy Christmann said.

Christmann said Ruso Wind is under pressure from the Air Force on the matter.

"The Air Force is not wanting the light mitigation system, at least what's available," Christmann said.

Christmann said Ruso Wind would  like to present its legal theory on why an exemption would be possible.

The PSC will hold an informal hearing on it February 13th.

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