Why Do Wind Turbines Have Red Lights?

Wind farm operators in North Dakota say they’re working on improvements to ensure that tractors and migrating birds don’t accidentally turn on the lights atop the turbines at night.

By the start of 2020, newer wind farms were required by state law to add equipment to mitigate the lights so that they don’t cause an eyesore by blinking bright red all night. The operators have installed radar-based technology that will turn off the lights unless an aircraft approaches.

Members of the Public Service Commission, which advocated for the regulation, say the lights are staying on more frequently than they expected.

At a meeting with the PSC on Friday, wind farm operators said they’ve seen the same thing.

Birds, particularly those heading south for the winter, appear to be the main culprit.

“According to Dave Sederquist, senior regulatory consultant with Xcel Energy, which has installed the technology on its Foxtail wind farm in southeastern North Dakota, the system either recognizes the flock as an aircraft or has enough uncertainty about what it is detecting to default to the light system activation.

Xcel and NextEra Energy representatives said they’re working with the company that created the devices to fine-tune them so that only aircraft trigger the lights.

Agricultural machinery, traffic, and the weather can also cause the lights to turn on, according to Chris Kozlowski, NextEra’s director of business management. Four of the developer’s wind farms in North Dakota use the technology, including a section of the Oliver wind farm northwest of Mandan and the Emmons-Logan wind farm southeast of Bismarck.

According to him, the lights blinked around 60% of the time when NextEra first installed the system. According to him, the corporation has improved the systems, and they now blink around 20% of the time.

Every night, the lights flicker briefly as a test to check that nothing is broken.

“As we implement this new technology at wind farms, safety is our first priority, according to Kozlowski.

The lights, which are mounted on top of wind turbines, flash every few seconds to warn aircraft flying in the dark.

Some residents living near wind farms have claimed that the lights are obnoxious and detract from the beauty of the night sky. In response to these concerns, the PSC lobbied the Legislature in 2017 to establish a law requiring wind farm operators to put light mitigation technologies on their projects. While newer wind farms have already installed it in order to meet the law’s initial deadline, those built before June 2016 have until the end of 2021 to comply.

“Commissioner Julie Fedorchak stated, “It’s vitally crucial for the industry to be the greatest possible neighbor it can be and to minimize affects in rural areas.”

Radar-based technology is referred to as a “Lighting system for aircraft detection It sits atop a tower in a wind farm and tells the turbines around it when the lights should begin blinking.

The technology was purchased by wind farm operators from one of several vendors throughout the world. Depending on the size and location of the wind farm, the technology can cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to over a million dollars.

In the United States, the radar system is the only type of light mitigation technology that has been approved so far for wind turbines. Another form is referred to as a “The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to approve a lighting intensity dimming solution.

According to Jeff Grabner, managing director of wind for Technostrobe, which is designing the system, the suggested technology would keep the blinking lights on at night but reduce them depending on the weather and visibility circumstances.

In an interview with the Tribune, he explained that such an idea protects a person close from suffering the shock of the lights suddenly flashing on in the dark at full power when a jet flies past.

The technique works by installing a visibility sensor on some of the turbines in a wind farm.

“Grabner said that the sensor is measuring the particle density in the air. “It can measure sleet, snow, rain, dust, fog, and anything else you can think of.

The technique was first presented to the FAA a few years ago. Technostrobe failed to win approval from the agency the first time around and is now trying again. In July, the business learned that an independent lab had completed the product’s initial testing.

The FAA will then install it in a test environment at an airport, he said. While the intensity of the lights increases and drops, a pilot would fly around the technology.

Technostrobe’s technology was certified by Canadian transportation regulators in June, and it is now in use in a wind farm in Quebec. Grabner claimed the site’s lights are lowered to 10% of their full brilliance two-thirds of the time they operate at night.

Light mitigation technology for wind turbines is what he called it “a burgeoning topic of debate across the country Other states and localities are considering rules similar to North Dakota’s, which was the first in the US to enact such a legislation.

When the Legislature reconvenes in January, the topic of technology is sure to come up again.

The PSC has prefiled legislation that would allow the commission to award wind farms a waiver or extension on installing light mitigation measures.

When one developer applied for a permission to build a wind farm in Ward and McLean counties, the state’s 2017 statute proved troublesome.

The radar-based system Southern Power planned to utilize for its proposed Ruso Wind project prompted concerns at the Minot Air Force Base. Hundreds of helicopter trips to intercontinental ballistic missile sites are flown by the Air Force each year, some of which are near where the company intended to build the turbines.

The PSC refused the company a permit in March, citing a lack of wiggle area in the statute to make an exception for the project, according to numerous commissioners.

On wind turbines, what do the red lights mean?

The purpose of flashing warning lights on turbine nacelles is primarily to aid aircraft flying at night. From incandescent to LED-based lighting, there has been a transition. Advanced lighting systems can be seen in the intricacies of numerous modern lights.

A one-piece mount is available for one model of obstruction light. The flash electronics and GPS synchronization circuitry are housed in an inside container, allowing it to sync up with other lights of the same model in the area. The use of the dome as a resting pad is discouraged by a bird spike on the dome. The light’s beam projects 360 degrees with a 3 divergence at 50% vertical peak.

The 33-pound lamp has a controlled power source with over voltage protection and monitoring and alarm connectors. Internal photocells eliminate the requirement for an external photocell, and they operate at 100 to 240 Vac.

Another light has a small flash head that reduces the wind strain on stationary objects like wind turbines, towers, and bridges. The series of lights is stated to have the lowest power usage of any L-864 product (FAA classification for a flashing red obstruction light, 20 to 40 flashes per minute), allowing for energy savings and lower running expenses.

The shock and vibration-resistant lights have a low profile, which helps to lessen the influence of wind sheer on the mounting structure, making them ideal for high-altitude applications and enhanced performance in inclement weather.

Another type of obstruction light can be set to burn continuously or equipped with a controller that sends out 20 to 40 flashes per minute. This LED-based light has optics that reduce ground scatter and reduce community light pollution to almost zero. Furthermore, precise beam cutoff reduces scatter to below 0.1 millifootcandles across a mile while still delivering the 2,000 candelas mandated by the FAA.

The lights are designed to readily retrofit existing incandescent fixtures and have a 10-year or longer life expectancy, lowering maintenance costs and reducing the frequency of dangerous tower climbs associated with older beacon equipment.

Migrating birds are able to fly over obstacle lights on wind farms that flash out of sequence, according to environmental specialists familiar with bird migration patterns. Birds appear to believe they are seeing something substantial on which to land when held still.

FAA Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1Kof is available to readers who want more information on obstruction marking and lighting.

Windmills have crimson tips for a reason.

The position of the rotors in relation to the tower is also a point of contention in terms of design and acoustics. The downwind design is more structurally sound, with the tower between the blades and the wind. (Think of a pinwheel: if you don’t keep a firm grasp on it, it will tend to spin downwind.) The issue is that the tower creates a dead zone in the airflow, which stresses the spinning rotors and causes a repeating whop that can be heard for miles. The upwind arrangement is currently preferred by the majority of manufacturers.

White paint, which is required by code in many areas, is also a question of aesthetics. White windmills appear to be less of an eyesore to city planners. The white also reflects sunlight, preventing the gel coat that protects the fiberglass composite rotors from expanding and splitting. However, not all windmills are white. To complement the grain, some turbines in the Midwest are yellow. (In the spring, when the crops are green, this isn’t as effective.) To blend harmoniously with the forest, German windmills are occasionally painted dark green at the bottom. Rotors in Europe are frequently marked with a red stripe to make them more apparent to aircraft. Engineers attempted painting the rotors black to absorb sunlight and prevent icing, but it didn’t seem to work very well.

Wind turbine blades are light for a reason.

A wind turbine, also known as a wind energy converter, is a mechanical device that transforms wind kinetic energy into electrical energy. Wind turbines operate on the simple premise of wind turning the propeller-like blades of a turbine around its rotor, powering a generator to generate electricity.

Wind turbine blades should be light since lighter blades are more efficient. It improves the performance of wind turbines by making them easier to assemble and disassemble as well as turn. While lightweight, high-material-strength systems are preferable, lowering bulk may raise the danger of structural collapse.

The balance of criteria of strength versus weight for overall performance is common in mechanical systems. This article will look at whether lighter or heavier blades help wind turbines operate better, as well as how wind turbines work and the mechanical systems that go into their construction.

What’s the deal with some wind turbines that aren’t spinning?

Why don’t the turbines spin all of the time? The most common reason for turbines stopping to spin is that the wind is not blowing fast enough. To operate, most wind turbines require a sustained wind speed of 9 MPH or higher. Turbines will also be shut down for scheduled maintenance or repairs.

What are the red flashing lights on the towers?

The only time you’ll notice one of your neighborhood’s broadcast or cell towers is at night, when they’re illuminated with brilliant red lights.

These lights aid pilots in seeing the massive metal structures that can reach 1,000 feet in the air, but they can be deadly to birds.

According to Caleb Putnam of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, one tower at Gun Lake, Mich., killed almost 2,300 birds in one night in 1976. Birds kept flying headfirst into towers, he claims, for reasons scientists are still trying to figure out.

In Texas, what are the red blinking lights?

According to the APD, if you approach an intersection with a flashing red light, you must come to a complete stop and advance only when it is safe to do so. If both sides of the intersection have flashing red lights, it is considered a four-way stop, and the vehicle that stopped first can advance.

In Mojave, California, what are the blinking red lights?

The Mojave Road has been traveled by Native Americans, European explorers, and modern-day travelers for millennia.

Much of the route passes through public areas, and the natural beauty of the country gives passengers with an experience similar to that of previous generations.

For miles around, Joshua trees and creosote bushes dominate the landscape, leaving little trace of the industrial age.

However, that could change now that the BLM is examining an application by Eolus Vind, a Swedish corporation, to develop the Crescent Peak Wind project in southern Nevada. The project would include up to 220 wind turbines, each nearly twice the height of the Statue of Liberty at 591 feet and topped with blinking red lights to alert planes at night.

What is the significance of the grey paint on wind turbines?

Although there are numerous advantages to painting turbines white for the human eye as well as aircraft pilots, there are some drawbacks for insects and animals.

Insects are attracted to the brilliant white color found on most wind turbines across the world, according to studies. As a result, they typically land on structures when they are stationary or spend extended amounts of time in the region.

Wind turbines injure birds, bats, and other flying animals as a result of this. They may be flying through the blades and stopping in mid-air, or they could opt to nest beneath them to be near a convenient food source generated by the insects. For these reasons, it is thought that white-painted wind turbines are to blame for the deaths of many different species of wildlife.

It has been suggested that wind turbines be painted purple rather than white. The fact that insects seem to be drawn to brighter hues like yellow and white is one of the main reasons for this suggestion.

Because most wind turbines are white and reflect sunlight, they operate as a magnet for all kinds of insects and flying animals. Scientists found after completing study that applying purple paint to the region will deter pests and discourage a huge number of birds and bats from flocking to the spinning blades.

When wind farmers chose grey paint for their turbines to help them blend in with their environment, they are also attracting fewer insects.

Despite its near resemblance to white, grey is not as brilliant or shiny. As a result, bugs are less likely to congregate around the blades. Despite the fact that many individuals are gravitating toward purple and grey paint colors, most wind turbines are still white at the moment.

Most people haven’t given much thought to why wind turbines have traditionally been painted white throughout their entire existence.

Because white is such a simple and basic color, it’s tempting to imagine that all turbines are designed in this manner for no apparent reason. Scientific study, on the other hand, has shown that white is still the best color for wind turbines practically everywhere on the planet.