Obstacle Lighting of Onshore Wind Turbines

Balancing aviation safety and environmental impact

To ensure the safety of air traffic, aviation authorities require wind turbines over a certain height (typically a tip height of 150 meter) to be fitted with obstacle lights. Although essential for air traffic flying at low altitudes, these lights cause significant residential annoyance, especially at night, reducing public support for wind energy. As next generation wind turbines have become increasingly higher over the years, the majority of newly planned wind farms will require obstacle lights. As a result, these plans encounter more and more resistance from local communities. Especially in populated states, this public resistance forms a serious challenge for wind farm developers and national wind energy ambitions.

A white paper by Mr. Jeroen van der Zee aims to provide wind farm developers and operators with a basic understanding of the international regulations regarding obstacle lighting and an overview of means to reduce the residential annoyance posed by these lights.