Wind farms weigh in on technology to ease blinking red lights at night

Representatives from Xcel and NextEra Energy said they are working with the companies who built the systems to fine-tune them so that only aircraft trigger the lights.

Agricultural equipment, road traffic and the weather also can cause the lights to pop on, said Chris Kozlowski, director of business management for NextEra. The developer uses the technology on four of its wind farms in North Dakota, including on a portion of the Oliver wind farm northwest of Mandan and the Emmons-Logan wind farm southeast of Bismarck.

When NextEra first installed the technology, the lights blinked about 60% of the night, he said. The company has made improvements to the systems, and now they blink about 20% of the time, he said.

The lights always blink briefly every night as a test to ensure that nothing is malfunctioning.

“Safety is the No. 1 priority as we apply this new technology at the wind sites,” Kozlowski said.

The lights sit atop wind turbines…

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