ST. PAUL – After introducing a bill to require lighting systems on wind turbines, Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said he hopes to spur renewable energy technology.
“I brought up this subject in the House because I hope the Minnesota wind industry will embrace ADLS technology and deploy it in all new construction,” Swedzinski said. “It should be our goal that ADLS be deployed and retrofitted in all existing wind farms.”
Swedzinski’s H.F. 3792 is a bill that would require wind companies to implement radar-activated lighting systems that turn blinking lights atop wind turbines and tall towers on and off depending on whether aircraft is in the vicinity. These Aircraft Detection Lighting Systems can reduce light pollution by remaining dark most of the time, lighting up only when necessary to serve as beacons.
It was also a topic of discussion at a public hearing in Hendricks this winter regarding more wind turbines entering Lincoln County. One landowner broached the subject of the new lighting system. It was so new, though, that it was not included in the contract being discussed at that meeting.
Swedzinski said turbines are a major component in our future and 14 months ago the first operational radar-based lighting tech was launched in Wyoming. He added that two years ago, the FAA added a new Chapter 14 that introduced performing guidelines for radar-activated lighting technologies.
“I’m not big on mandates, so my goal is all about raising awareness,” Swedzinski said. “North Dakota has taken a strong stand and embraced this technology for the benefit of all its citizens. There is more technology available than the status quo in light systems and we should do more to implement new systems in Minnesota. I encourage citizens to contact their local, state and federal representatives to advocate for this technology and also urge folks to ask for the technology when visiting with wind developers.”
“EDF Renewables is tracking new technologies which include radar activated lighting. In addition, we have included a project in Texas as a test project for an FAA product,” EDF Project Development Manager Shanelle Montana said. “Currently, many of the new technologies are still getting approved by the FAA. We have been following Rep. Swedzinski’s bill and we appreciate his interest in wind energy.”
Great strides are being made in FAA lighting, however, many technologies are still not formally approved by the FAA for use, she said.
The Red Pine Project is currently operational and does include dimmer lighting which can be activated if advised by the FAA, Montana said of their Lincoln County wind farm.