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Danish wind giant fits first turbines with radar aviation lights

Vestas supplies Swedish wind farm with OCAS system to reduce visual impact and open up commercial opportunities

The radar aviation system alerts aircraft when they are flying near wind turbines

A Danish world leading wind firm has for the first time fit its turbines with a radar controlled aviation lights system. Vestas has fitted the radar system to its turbines at a Swedish wind farm, which aims to alert aircraft to the structures, while reducing visual impact. 

The Obstacle Collision Avoidance System (OCAS) is described as 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 minimising the visual impact on the surrounding environment.
 
Vestas acquired the technology from Norwegian radar specialists OCAS AS in October 2011. Aviation authorities in the US, Canada, Norway and Sweden have approved OCAS, which is already installed at more than 60 sites throughout Europe and North America.

However, it is the first time Vestas has supplied the system, which is being used at 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.
 
Krister Poole Jönsson, vice president for sales (Nordics & Baltics) in Vestas Northern Europe, said: “We experience increasing demand for radar-controlled aviation lights that minimise 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.”
 
“The three wind farms, now complemented with Vestas’ radar-controlled aviation lights, have been developed in close collaboration with the neighbouring residents,” said Andreas Wickman, CEO, Wickman Wind AB. “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.”