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PSC denies a delay for a wind farm light replacement project

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The North Dakota Public Service Commission has denied a request by a north central North Dakota wind farm to delay replacement of the lights on top of the turbine towers.

The old red blinking beacons have to be replaced on existing wind farm facilities by the end of the year.

PPM Energy had asked for a year extension for the Rugby Wind Farm, because of the potential for using what is called the “LIDS” system – for “Light Intensity Dimming System” – instead of the “ALDS,” or “Aircraft Light Detection System,” where the lights would only come on where there is aircraft present in the area.

PSC Chairman Julie Fedorchak said the Federal Aviation Administration was contacted about “LIDS.”

"We learned that the first round of testing revealed some safety concerns," Fedorchak said. "They essentially told us they didn't envision it being approved in time for the company to install it by the extended deadline of Dec. first, 2022."

Fedorchak said the current ALDS system was approved – and is already working for some other wind farms.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said Rugby Wind has been given adequate time to make the change in the lighting system.

"The other consideration is that the citizens were promised the skies would be dark again," Kroshus said. "It's time to accomplish that."

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