Weather Sensors for Wind Energy: Ensuring Safety and Optimizing Operations

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Wind energy plays a crucial role in the global transition towards renewable energy sources. However, the presence of wind turbines, particularly in areas with high population density or sensitive ecosystems, requires careful consideration to mitigate potential impacts. One such concern is the light pollution caused by aviation obstruction lights mounted on wind turbines,

Light Pollution and Visibility Sensors

To address the issue of light pollution, wind farm developers and turbine manufacturers have turned to visibility sensors. These sensors continuously monitor meteorological conditions, adjusting the intensity of warning lights based on visibility levels. In clear conditions with visibility exceeding 10km, the lights are dimmed to a minimal level, significantly reducing light pollution for local residents, whilst maintaining the safety of low-flying aircraft. Many countries promote the control of obstruction warning light intensity according to the local visibility.

Biral Visibility Sensors: Robust and Reliable Solutions

Biral offers a range of visibility sensors that are specifically designed to withstand the challenging conditions encountered in wind energy applications, specifically wind turbines. These sensors are not affected by the proximity of obstruction lights or reflections from the turbine nacelle. The horizontal orientation of the measurement optics eliminates errors due to reflections, and built-in heaters prevent snow and ice buildup in the sensor optics.

Present Weather Data: Enhancing Safety and Efficiency

In addition to visibility sensors, Biral also provides present weather sensors that offer additional benefits for wind farm operations. By monitoring weather conditions at nacelle height, these sensors can provide crucial information for optimizing turbine performance and ensuring safety. For instance, real-time data on freezing conditions, hail, or snow can help operators proactively manage ice buildup on turbine blades, preventing damage and maximizing energy production.

Assessing Wind Resources for Optimal Wind Farm Placement

Before a wind turbine or wind farm is installed an assessment of the site is necessary to ensure the available wind resources will repay the installation and operating costs. Biral can provide First Class cup and vane IEC 61400-12-1 class 0.5 compliant anemometers for use on masts. Additionally, Biral offers SODAR systems that can provide real-time 3-dimensional wind profiles in the height range of interest for site assessment.

Lightning Detection and Warning Systems

Another important aspect of wind farm safety is lightning protection. Biral’s BTD range of thunderstorm detectors uses a quasi-electrostatic operating principle to detect lightning risk even before lightning occurs. This early warning allows engineers on-site to seek shelter and take necessary safety measures in a timely manner.


Weather sensors play a pivotal role in ensuring the safe, efficient, and sustainable operation of wind farms. By providing accurate and timely information on visibility, present weather conditions, and lightning risk, Biral’s sensors contribute to minimizing environmental impact, enhancing operational efficiency, and protecting both personnel and assets.

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