Radar-Controlled Lights on Wind Farms

Moon Rise behind the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm [Photo by Chuck “Caveman” Coker] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Two adjacent wind farms in Wyoming may be the first in the US with radar-controlled lighting that only turns on when aircraft are near. This kind of efficient system could overcome the objections from neighbors who dislike the idea of blinking lights on the mountain slopes at night.

The concerns about light pollution have been the largest obstacle to moving forward with the farms. Such systems are already in use with other types of obstructions, but haven’t yet been approved for wind farms. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may grant approval by late summer. Both 31 turbine wind farms would be built by Utah-based Wasatch Wind south of Glenrock, Wyoming. Employees of the FAA will be conducting measurements and other tests of a radar-controlled system that is already in use at the Talbot Wind Farm in Lake Ontario, Canada.