Vestas supplies its first wind turbines with intelligent aviation lights

Vestas, the world leader in wind energy, has for the first time supplied radar-controlled aviation lights to a wind farm.

The Obstacle Collision Avoidance System – or OCAS – is an innovative solution that only activates the lights when an aircraft is operating in the immediate vicinity of a wind power plant. This minimises the visual impact on local environment and opens up new commercial opportunities for sites with regulatory lightning restrictions.
The main feature of OCAS is a powerful radar system. 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.
Vestas acquired the technology from Norwegian radar specialists OCAS AS in October 2011. OCAS is approved by aviation authorities in the US, Canada, Norway and Sweden and is already installed at more than 60 sites throughout Europe and North America. However, it is the first time Vestas will supply the system – in this particular case for the Swedish wind power plants Gansparken, Näsudden väst and Stugyl. Situated at the idyllic island of Gotland, the plant consists of 27 Vestas V90-2.0 MW and V90-3.0 MW-turbines. The wind farms are owned by 700 smaller companies and private owners, among others Wickman Wind AB.
“We experience increasing demand for radar-controlled aviation lights that minimize the lighting impact from wind power plants. The OCAS-system is an example of how Vestas actively works with solutions that make it easier to integrate wind power into the immediate environment of human beings,” says Krister Poole Jönsson, Vice President for Sales (Nordics & Baltics) in Vestas Northern Europe.
“The three wind farms, now complemented with Vestas’ radar-controlled aviation lights, have been developed in close collaboration with the neighbouring residents. The only concern they have had has been related to visual impact caused by the aviation lights. This concern has now been mitigated with the installation of the OCAS system and we are receiving a lot of positive feed-back from the locals”, says Andreas Wickman, CEO, Wickman Wind AB.
Every single day, Vestas wind turbines deliver clean energy that supports the global fight against climate change. Wind power from Vestas’ more than 47,000 wind turbines currently reduces carbon emissions by approximately 55 million tons of CO2 every year, while at the same time building energy security and independence.
Today, Vestas has delivered wind energy in more than 70 countries, providing jobs for over 20,000 passionate people at our service and project sites, research facilities, factories and offices all over the world. With 65 per cent more megawatts installed than our closest competitor and more than 51 GW of cumulative installed capacity worldwide, Vestas is the world leader in wind energy.