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  (Source: Treehugger)
Raising the cut-in speed to 11 mph could result in as much as a 93 percent reduction in bat-turbine related deaths

Wind power has become an important competitor in the race for clean energy, but like many newer developments, it needs some work. One issue associated with wind power is bat and bird-related fatalities due to the spinning blades of the turbines. However, researchers may have solved this problem with a slight change in speed

Edward Arnett project leader from the Bat Conservation International in Austin, Texas, along with John Hayes, co-author of the study from the University of Florida, have studied bat fatalities associated with wind turbines and concluded that altering the speed slightly would reduce a large percentage of these deaths.

Wind turbines within the United States are programmed to start producing power when wind speed reaches 8 or 9 mph. The speed at which wind turbines begin producing power is the cut-in speed, and those with a low cut-in speed tend to run more often than those with a high cut-in speed because they begin running at lower speeds in the first place. 

Arnett, Hayes and their research team recorded bat fatalities while observing 12 out of 23 turbines at the Casselman Wind Project in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. They stayed for 25 summer and fall nights in 2008 and 2009 (because wind speeds are low this time of the year), and found that the less time a wind turbine is running, the better because bats cannot be harmed by blades that aren't in motion. Following this logic, Arnett suggests raising the cut-in speed of wind turbines to 11 mph, which would result in a reduction of bat fatalities by approximately 44 to 93 percent and an annual power loss of less than one percent. 

"This is the only proven mitigation option to reduce bat kills at this time," said Arnett. "If we want to pursue the benefits associated with wind energy, we need to consider the local ecological impacts that the turbines could cause. We have already seen a rise in bat mortality associated with wind energy development, but our study shows that, by marginally limiting the turbines during the summer and fall months, we can save bats as well as promote advances in alternative energy."

Arnett notes that reducing bat fatalities is essential because bats help with pollination and pest management, making them an important part of ecosystem health nationwide. 

"Rarely do you see such a win-win result in a study," said Arnett. "There is a simple, relatively cost-effective solution here that could save thousands of bats. This is good news for conservation and for wind energy development." 

This study was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on November 1.



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RE: This is news?
By quiksilvr on 11/3/2010 12:03:24 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, its showing how we made wind turbines slightly more useless to save the lives of bats.


RE: This is news?
By Omega215D on 11/3/2010 2:31:28 AM , Rating: 5
So much for getting rid of my mother-in-law....


RE: This is news?
By MrBlastman on 11/3/2010 9:30:29 AM , Rating: 2
Why? Is she driving you... "batty?"


RE: This is news?
By MrTeal on 11/3/2010 11:10:50 AM , Rating: 1
See, you wouldn't have gotten downrated if you would have tossed a "Yeeeaaaaaaaahhhhh" at the end of that. It's a must.


RE: This is news?
By borismkv on 11/3/2010 1:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe a Wokka Wokka Wokka or two? Sheesh. Everyone forgets about the Fozz...


RE: This is news?
By sleepeeg3 on 11/3/2010 10:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
Lol!

I'll give TK a break here, since I just read about a more practical method of... er... not killing bats by wind turbines.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=c...
Paint them purple. Keeps away the insects that are attracted to these white, 40-story monstrosities like a moth to a... turbine. No insects = no food for bats = less bat deaths.


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