The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved two sets of rule changes that impact wind farm lighting and future decommissioning at the end of their use.  

“A half century ago our ancestors made a commitment to ensure that our coal mines would be reclaimed when the prairie became quiet again,” said Commission Chairman Randy Christmann. “These new rules demonstrate a renewed commitment by our generation to ensure that North Dakota’s beautiful landscape will be returned to its splendor when these giant wind turbines reach the end of their usefulness.” 

One of rule change packages addresses decommissioning and ensures that wind turbines are removed and the land reclaimed when taken out of service. This rule package seeks to assure that money is available for decommissioning and reclamation and enhances the decommissioning requirements for future projects.  The PSC has been responsible for North Dakota’s coal mine reclamation program since 1970 and used that as a basis for these new rules.

The other rule change package addresses wind tower lighting. They allow preference to be given to wind energy projects that commit to installing light mitigation technology to offset the continuously blinking red lights. The new technology would require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.  

The rule changes still need to be examined by the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee before final approval.