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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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By cmdrdredd on 11/3/2010 12:08:20 AM , Rating: 1
Stop being a bleeding heart liberal for a second and realize WE are more important than a few bats and such. Maybe then you'll stop crying every time some wacko claims a couple useless animals died through no fault of ours.

By EndlessChris on 11/3/2010 1:17:04 AM , Rating: 2
and your cat is part of the problem. Outdoor cats are a completely wasteful and unnecessary source of predation. They have a huge impact on native natural wildlife populations. There is little we can do about that though, as regulating pet care would be impossible. This is something that can be done easily and have very little impact on our energy production. I don't see why it would be considered a bad idea.

By MrBlastman on 11/3/2010 9:34:03 AM , Rating: 4
You might think outdoor cats are completely wasteful and I wholeheartedly disagree. I completely see a purpose for my cat roaming outside, killing mice, eating birds, chasing squirrels and most importantly, eating bugs... lots and lots of bugs. The end result of my furry friend is reduced pests coming into my home. It is a wonderful relationship we have.

The icing on the cake, of course, is when my cat leaves a dead bird or mouse on my doorstep. It makes me feel good everytime I see it.

I'd much rather have my cat doing their job than my wife constantly freaking out and bothering me about foreign intruders in our house.

By olafmetal on 11/3/2010 10:39:52 AM , Rating: 2
I enjoy when my pet Coyote eats peoples pet cats.

By MrBlastman on 11/3/2010 11:52:48 AM , Rating: 1
I enjoy when I get to plug a Coyote with my Steyr AUG. .223/5.56 mm--the great problem solver, used all around the world for the last several decades. :) The best part is, per my county ordinances, it is perfectly legal to do so, even though I live in a major city.

By TheRoadWarrior on 11/3/2010 2:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
They leave it at the doorstep only because they can't open the door by themselves so they can bring it into the house and finish it ;-)

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