Flashing lights on the wind turbines improve air traffic security but can be a nuisance, Source: Depositphotos

Why is Austria pushing legislation to ban blinking lights on wind turbines?

Why is Austria pushing legislation to ban blinking lights on wind turbines?

It has to do with a certain type of pollution that was not taken into account during design and planning stage

Austria now has some 1,426 wind turbines generating electricity, which makes it one of the leading countries in the world in terms of that type of renewable power capacity. In the past 15 years wind power generation has almost quadrupled and the aim is to have it reach 20% of total capacity by 2035.

In essence, wind turbine technology is the vehicle that is expected to be a pillar in the goal of bringing about climate neutrality in Austria by 2040.

It turns out, however, that there is one specific problem, at least with some of the wind turbines – their constant blinking lights.

The thing is residents are often irritated by the flashing lights, according to the managing partner of the wind farm in Munderfing (Braunau district), Gerhard Steindl, as quoted by ORF.

It is perceived as a nuisance by the population. This is also the feedback from resident surveys.”

The reason why wind turbines sport blinking lights on their tops is so that they serve as warning beacons for aircraft flying nearby.

Social impact of wind turbines on rural residents

We’ve grown accustomed to hearing about air pollution and noise pollution, but the constant blinking lights in a sense also constitute a type of visual pollution and an irritant to the mental well-being of the population.

That reluctance to the expansion of wind farms, however, could jeopardize the energy transition goals of the Austrian government. That’s why the federal authorities have already promulgated legislative amendments which would mandate that lights on top of the wind turbines can only flash when there’s an approaching aircraft.

If formally adopted by parliament in April, this will show the way technology can be improved to solve multiple challenges, such as public health, air traffic safety and cleaner energy generation.



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