Demystifying Obstruction Lighting During Wind Turbine Construction

What you need to know about the new Federal Administration Guidelines.

By Paul Longley, Sales Engineer, Carmanah Technologies

Statistically, wind turbines don’t cause many aviation accidents, but even one incident is more than enough to awaken builders to the absolute need to mark their turbines with obstruction lighting.

On a foggy day in April 2014, a private Piper airplane crashed into the blade of a wind turbine near Highmore, S.D., killing all four people on board. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation revealed the light on the turbine was not operational when the crash occurred. It was later revealed that the tower’s obstruction lighting had been inoperable for some time.

Since the 2007 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines for obstruction lighting were published, there has been an increase in the number of wind turbine installations. As more and more wind turbines are built throughout North America, they present an increasing hazard to low-flying aircraft, particularly in poor visibility. According to the Wind Turbine FAQs on the FAA Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis website – oeaaa.faa.gov – the FAA is receiving over 1,000 wind turbine filings each month to clarify American Wind Energy Association reports that the annual capacity installations have been 5,000 MW or more every year since 2007, while it was half or less in all of the years preceding.

Since the 2007 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines for obstruction lighting were published, there has been an increase in the number of wind turbine installations. As more and more wind turbines are built throughout North America, they present an increasing hazard to low-flying aircraft, particularly in poor visibility. According to the Wind Turbine FAQs on the FAA Obstruction Evaluation/Airport Airspace Analysis website – oeaaa.faa.gov – the FAA is receiving over 1,000 wind turbine filings each month to clarify American Wind Energy Association reports that the annual capacity installations have been 5,000 MW or more every year since 2007, while it was half or less in all of the years preceding.

Lighting guidelines

Like other obstructions, such as radio antennas and electrical transmission towers, the FAA publishes guidance for wind turbine obstruction marking and lighting in its Advisory Circular (AC) 70/7460. The latest version, AC 70/7460-1L, was published Dec. 4, 2015, and has adopted some important new recommendations for wind turbines during their construction phase. In the previous 2007 version, AC 70/7460-1K, wind turbines under construction were to be lit using the same methods that apply to a permanent installation.

Like other obstructions, such as radio antennas and electrical transmission towers, the FAA publishes guidance for wind turbine obstruction marking and lighting in its Advisory Circular (AC) 70/7460. The latest version, AC 70/7460-1L, was published Dec. 4, 2015, and has adopted some important new recommendations for wind turbines during their construction phase. In the previous 2007 version, AC 70/7460-1K, wind turbines under construction were to be lit using the same methods that apply to a permanent installation.

The important guidelines that now apply to wind turbines under construction are summarized in the following:

  • Wind turbines under construction are now only required to be lit by 32.5 candela L-810 lighting rather than the full 2,000 candela of L-864 lighting. At less than a tenth of the power consumption, the L-810 fixtures are less expensive, smaller, lighter and easier to handle than L-864s, making their initial and subsequent installations much simpler as construction progresses upward;
  • The construction phase lights should be “steady burning,” which means the light is required to have a constant light signal. L-810s are, by definition, steady burning lights, whereas L-864s for permanent installations use a flashing pattern and all lights are synced to flash at the same time;
  • All turbines under construction should be lit once they reach 200 feet (61 meters). Once the wind turbine farm is complete, the brighter permanent lighting configuration allows for gaps, depending on the wind turbine farm configuration; and
  • If power is not available, the FAA recommends the light be solar-powered and “self-contained.” This means the LED light fixture, control electronics, batteries and solar panels should be encased in an all-in-one system as opposed to individual components bolted together with fasteners, cables and mounting brackets that tend to be bulky and exposed to the risk of breakage and corrosion. Power source options for temporary obstruction lighting include battery packs, fuel-powered generators and solar.

Overall, the new FAA changes for lighting construction-phase wind turbines provide a simpler and more cost-effective way to install temporary obstruction lighting while enhancing pilot safety at night. Always contact your local FAA office for information and guidance on how to fully ensure the compliance and safety of your project.

Read the article in North American Windpower

Carmanah Solar Obstruction Lighting Solutions Receive ICAO Certification

Carmanah has received ICAO certification for two additional solar obstruction lighting products. The OL10A and OL32, also marketed as the A703 and A704, have been certified to ICAO Type A and ICAO Type B standards for marking towers, cranes and other hazards to aerial navigation. With their rugged design and built-in solar panels, the OL10A and OL32 obstruction lighting products are unique in the obstruction lighting market. Designed to survive and perform in the harshest of environments, these Carmanah lights include no extraneous components, moving parts, cabling or external power source within a small, lightweight and fully self-contained housing.

Carmanah has ICAO certified obstruction lighting products for a range of obstruction marking lights including Type A and B low-intensity lights and ICAO Type C medium intensity lights. Carmanah obstruction lighting solutions also offer GSM communication options and visible and infrared lighting options.

Preserving Ecology when Designing a Wind Farm

By Anthony Tisot

The evolution of renewable energy in the Galapagos Islands

As one of the world’s most unique and ecologically sensitive regions, the Galapagos Islands are a natural choice for green energy technology. To help preserve the delicate ecological balance of this
world heritage site, the government of Ecuador has embarked upon a mission to eliminate fossil fuel-based power production from the Galapagos archipelago by 2015.

As the first step in this initiative, the community of San Cristóbal is employing renewable energy technology as an environmentally friendly complement to the island’s existing diesel-powered generating plant. In 2007, San Cristóbal’s new wind energy facility came online as part of a hybrid wind-diesel solution, generating electricity for the island’s 6,000 inhabitants while reducing the
community’s diesel fuel consumption by half. Appropriately, even the flashing obstruction lights that sit atop the three giant wind turbines use renewable energy (in this case solar energy) as a
showcase of environmentally friendly technology at work.

Close up of a wind turbine and blue skyAdapting to life on the islands

Located on the equator some 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 large islands and more than a hundred smaller islands, islets, and rocks that are home to
some of the world’s rarest birds and sea creatures. Although mariners have frequented the islands for 500 years, attempts to maintain self-sufficient communities in this remote location have historically proven challenging and, at times, problematic. Invasive plants and animals introduced intentionally or incidentally over the years have plagued the native species and threatened their habitats.

Ongoing efforts to restore and protect the region’s ecological balance have seen some success but, in recent years, a new threat emerged as the growing communities and expanding tourist trade demanded ever-more energy from the region’s existing diesel-based power generation facilities. To reduce diesel consumption, while ensuring a reliable power supply in all seasons, the
project’s three massive wind turbines would work in conjunction with San Cristóbal’s existing 650 kilowatt diesel generators. Together, this hybrid wind-diesel system would fulfill the
island’s power requirements while reducing CO2 emissions by an estimated 2,800 tons per year and cutting diesel fuel shipments by fifty percent.

A solar-powered lighting solution

With two airports in the vicinity, effective obstruction markers were a necessity on the three 50-meter tall structures; although, as lighting can sometimes prove hazardous to birds, these
too were chosen with care. For this project, Made Tecnologías Renovables selected a set of solar-powered LED (light emitting diode) obstruction lights from Canadian manufacturer
Carmanah Technologies Corporation. Initially designed for the United States Air Force and approved for use in the Galapagos by the Ecuadorian Aviation Authority, the solar-powered obstruction
lights were found to be an effective and environmentally friendly lighting solution.

Suitable for locations with limited access to sunlight, the stand-alone beacons require just 1.5 hours of sunlight per day to operate effectively—a valuable asset in an area where seasonal conditions
can result in a thick, persistent fog at higher elevations. Another benefit was the lights’ ability to endure vibration and buffeting from the elements while shielding all components—
solar modules, batteries, LEDs, and electronics—within a compact and durable enclosure.

Read the full story here >>

Carmanah Lights Up Wind Turbines in the Galapagos Islands

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Carmanah’s Solar LED Lighting Division is working on a wind-energy project on the Galapagos Islands to outfit an installation of wind turbines with its environmentally friendly solar-powered obstruction lights. Carmanah’s A702 obstruction marking lights will be installed at the top of each wind turbine to improve safety for air traffic flying near the Islands.

Working with one of the largest wind energy companies in the world, this is the second order of Carmanah marking lights for this particular project. Project coordinators cited Carmanah’s reputation for reliability and customer service as the main reasons for continuing to choose Carmanah lights.

As one of the most unique and ecologically sensitive regions in the world, conservation efforts and environmental friendly practices are of particular importance in the Galapagos Islands. Creating no greenhouse gas emissions, and requiring no connection to the electrical grid, Carmanah’s solar obstruction marking lights are an ideal solution for the Islands. In addition to being environmentally friendly, Carmanah’s A702 lights provide minimal disturbance to the habitats of nesting birds and surrounding wildlife.

For more information about this project or Carmanah’s other obstruction lighting solutions, contact us.

About Carmanah Technologies Corporation

Carmanah is an award-winning manufacturer specializing in energy-efficient technologies. The Company is currently focused on three technology groups: solar-powered LED lighting, solar power systems & equipment and LED-illuminated signage.

Carmanah is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and has branch offices and/or sales representation in 11 cities across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. With more than 250,000 installations worldwide, Carmanah is one of the world’s premier suppliers of energy-efficient products.

The shares of Carmanah Technologies Corporation are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “CMH” and on the Berlin and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges under the symbol “QCX”. For more information, please visit www.carmanah.com.

 

Carmanah Provides Solar LED Obstruction Lighting for Wind Energy Projects in Cuba

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Working through an authorized regional distributor, Carmanah supplied an additional 180 of its Model 601 solar-powered LED obstruction lights for wind energy meteorological stations throughout Cuba.

This shipment represents the second phase of the project and will bring the total number of Carmanah obstruction lights in Cuba to over 400. The lights are installed on 20-40 meter meteorological evaluation towers. Carmanah’s solar LED lighting technology was selected primarily because of the Company’s track record of reliability, as well as the low maintenance costs and ease of installation.

Carmanah’s solar-powered LED obstruction lights are completely self-contained and can be installed in minutes with minimal technical expertise. They are designed to operate with no scheduled maintenance for up to 5 years. As these fixtures use light emitting diodes for illumination, there are no bulbs to replace for the operating life of the unit. Carmanah’s obstruction lights are also shock-proof, vibration-proof and watertight. They have been field-proven to operate reliably under the harshest of environmental conditions and extreme temperatures.

Carmanah is a world leader in renewable and energy-efficient technologies, with more than 250,000 installations in 110 countries. In May 2006, the Company also proudly unveiled its Model 704-5 next generation obstruction light. This unit meets ICAO Annex 14 Type A Standards and a host of new features, including:

  • Revolutionary new lens design with unprecedented efficiency, increased vertical divergence and improved performance
  • Integrated push-button manual switch for quick, hands-on control of critical lighting functions and diagnostics
  • External power capability (military-spec connector)
    • Enables AC/DC charging capability for long-term storage and transport situations when used for temporary applications
    • Enables AC/DC continuous operating capabilities for extreme weather conditions and/or poor solar environments
    • Enables the connection of external solar panels for regions with poor solar conditions or when brighter LED output is required
  • Proprietary MICROSOURCE® power management technology now includes Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for more efficient solar charging
  • More powerful battery system enabling up to 600 hours of operating autonomy without additional charging
  • New integrated carry handle for easy transport
  • Can now be ordered in white, aviation yellow (civilian applications) or olive drab green housings (defense applications)

For more information about this project or Carmanah’s solar-powered LED obstruction lighting solutions in general, please contact us.

About Carmanah Technologies Corporation

Carmanah is an award-winning manufacturer specializing in energy-efficient technologies. The Company is currently focused on three technology groups: solar-powered LED lighting, solar power systems & equipment and LED-illuminated signage.

Carmanah is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and has branch offices and/or sales representation in 11 cities across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. With more than 250,000 installations worldwide, Carmanah is one of the world’s premier suppliers of energy-efficient products.

The shares of Carmanah Technologies Corporation are publicly traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “CMH” and on the Berlin and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges under the symbol “QCX”. For more information, please visit carmanah.com.

United Nations Development Programme To Use Carmanah Lights

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The United Nations Development Program, located in Mexico City, has purchased Carmanah’s Model 601 obstruction lights for installation on several Anemometric towers throughout rural Mexico. The “Electrical Research Institute” (Instituto de Investigaciones Electricas or IIE), located in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, will be responsible for the execution of the project, including the installation of Carmanah’s obstruction lights on various wind towers. The Wind Energy project is dedicated to bringing renewable power to outlying regions of rural Mexico. For more information about the United Nations Development Programme, visit http://www.undp.org.

Carmanah’s Solar Powered, Self-contained Marking Light

The Model 601 is a completely integrated, self-contained unit that does not require any external electrical source or bulb/battery replacement for its entire 5 year lifespan. The Model 601 offers cost-effective performance. Based on an independent cost analysis, they will pay for themselves within their first year of operation – in the form of reduced installation, maintenance and servicing costs.
It is also designed to be extremely durable, waterproof and virtually indestructible.

Carmanah has supplied obstruction lights in more than 40 countries to-date, for marking applications including wind energy masts, crane infrastructure, telecommunications towers, general buildings and weather masts.