LANSING, MI – A new state law will require visible markings on temporary towers erected by the wind energy industry when siting locations for turbines.
Public Act 28 of 2016 requires owners register meteorological evaluation towers 50 feet or higher with the Michigan Department of Transportation for inclusion in a directory.
As of May 30, towers must be registered and painted alternating bands of orange and white, with guy wires attached to orange marker balls.
Many towers fall just below the 200-foot federal threshold for obstruction markings. They can also be erected quickly and without notice to the local aviation community, depending upon their location.
Because they are often made of gray tubing, low-flying pilots often have trouble seeing then. The National Transportation Safety Board says there have been three fatal accidents since 2003 where aircraft collided with the towers. The NTSB has asked states pass registration and marking laws.
“We are very pleased the governor and Legislature passed this law quickly,” said Mike Trout, Michigan Aeronautics Commission director. The towers “can be very problematic for agricultural, balloon, and helicopter pilots to see.”