When Canadian clean electricity company TransAlta Corporation and its counsel, K&L Gates, required assistance in obtaining a final, critical FCC radio license for an innovative aircraft detection lighting system for TransAlta’s Antrim Wind Project, they called on Marty Stern and Marjorie Spivak in Womble Bond Dickinson’s Communications, Technology & Media group. 

The aircraft detection lighting system, or ADLS, uses radiolocation radar technology to light wind turbines when approaching aircraft are detected, illuminating a wind turbine only when required to alert approaching aircraft. In contrast to traditional wind turbine lighting systems, such as always-on synchronized red lights, these deployments significantly reduce light pollution and impacts on the local community. 

Given their use of radar, ADLS facilities require radio licenses from the FCC, which may include coordination with governmental agencies to ensure that the ADLS radar operations will not interfere with governmental users. Working with Antrim’s outside airspace specialist and the ADLS equipment manufacturer, the Womble team helped Antrim obtain expedited FCC approval of the required license in just under three weeks.  

The FCC licensing of the ADLS facilities was the final governmental approval required for the project, clearing the path for completion of the 17,000-acre New Hampshire-based wind farm project and its commercial launch on December 24.