North Dakota regulators have denied another wind farm operator’s request for more time to comply with the state’s law requiring technology to mitigate the blinking red lights atop wind turbines at night.
The Public Service Commission voted 2-0 this week to reject the request brought by Onward Energy Holdings for its Sunflower wind farm in Morton and Stark counties. The commission has rejected several similar requests in recent weeks.
The deadline to install the technology has already passed – it fell at the end of 2021. Under a new state law, wind farm operators can seek an extension or waiver for economic or technical feasibility reasons.
Onward sought an extension, as it had originally hoped to install a system that was waiting on approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. When that did not come through in time, the company opted for different technology already approved but said the equipment would not be running at the wind farm by the deadline.
The system the company plans to install is radar-based and keeps the lights off unless an aircraft flies in the vicinity. The light mitigation requirement is in place to improve the night sky for people who live in the vicinity of wind farms.
The PSC has not yet issued any fines this year for wind farms unable to meet the deadline, but penalties are expected in the coming months.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding