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Wind Farm Promises Radar Triggered Lights

A proposed wind installation for the mountains south of Glenrock goes before the Industrial Siting Council this week.

Pioneer Wind Park I and II will have about 6o turbines. The proposed installation by Wasatch Wind includes a commitment to use a– yet-to-be FAA approved– lighting technology that’s radar triggered. If it happens, it could be one of the first uses of the technology in the country.

The both audio and visual system, alerts a passing pilot and then allows for a return to darkness when no aircraft are around.

“As the wind industry continues to grow and expand we’ve gotten a lot of attention from the industry, just because we have this technology that can provide, not only the safety aspect, but from an environmental and light pollution perspective it’s a really good solution on the wind side as well.”

Melissa Mccarthy is General Manager of O.C.A.S or Obstacle Collision Avoidance System.

She says the radar triggered lights were developed by fighter pilots who lost friends in collisions with unmarked obstacles. The audio signal portion comes as a radio message to the pilot identifying what the obstacle is.

“When the aircraft gets within a certain distance we would turn on the lights and then if the aircraft doesn’t make any maneuvers to move away from the obstacle, then that’s when they get that secondary warning.”

She says they’ve been working since 2003 with the FAA to get the technology approved for wind towers. It’s already in use for things like power lines and bridges. She says the FAA will be running test on a wind site in Canada this summer.

But for now, Wasatch Wind and its Pioneer Wind Park await the result of this weeks Industrial Siting Council Hearings.

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