Vestas has announced that, for the first time, the company has supplied radar-controlled aviation lights to a group of wind farms.
The Obstacle Collision Avoidance System (OCAS) activates the lights when an aircraft is operating in the immediate vicinity of a wind farm, thus minimizing the visual impact on the environment and opening up new commercial opportunities for sites with regulatory lightning restrictions, the company explains.
The main feature of OCAS is a powerful radar system, Vestas says. Sited at the wind power plant, radars scan the surrounding area for nearby aircraft. If an aircraft is detected, the radar system tracks its heading, speed and altitude, and gauges whether or not the aviation lights on top of the wind turbines should be turned on. Once the aircraft has safely passed the site, the lights are automatically switched off again, thereby minimizing the visual impact on the surrounding environment, the company explains.
Vestas acquired the technology from Norwegian radar specialists OCAS AS in October 2011. OCAS is approved by aviation authorities in the U.S., Canada, Norway and Sweden, and is already installed at more than 60 sites throughout Europe and North America.
However, this is the first time Vestas will supply the system – in this particular case, for the Swedish wind power plants Gansparken, Nasudden vast and Stugyl. The wind farms are owned by 700 smaller companies and private owners.