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Combating ‘light pollution’ with grit and innovation

One of the most pressing issues when it comes to making wind energy fit for the future is the aspect of acceptance: acceptance among the broader public, but especially among those directly affected by it, the residents and the environment. Transponder-based aircraft detection lighting systems (ADLS) offer a sustainable solution putting non-stop blinking obstruction lights to an end and bringing back dark night skies.

It was almost twenty years ago when Gerd Moeller, General Manager of Lanthan GmbH based in Bremen, Germany, was first confronted with the question of how to solve the problem of ‘light pollution’, an issue that residents, as well as the environment surrounding wind farms, are quite literally facing every single night due to the red obstruction lights on the wind turbine generators (WTG) blinking non-stop to ensure that the WTGs are always safely visible to aviation.

‘In 2002, we were already being confronted with the problem of acceptance by residents. Our first measure was the technical and legal implementation of the visibility range control. In this case, the obstruction lighting would burn less brightly in times of good visibility. In 2004, we were first introduced to the concept of on-demand lighting – lights that detect aircraft. It was back then when we were first approached to come up with a transponder-based solution for an aircraft detection system. Our first reaction was rather reticent, but luckily, we were wise enough to give up our resistance and, instead, started to focus on this.’

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