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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 kattanna on 11/3/2010 11:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/wind-p...

quote:
While the total number of birds killed in the US each year fluctuates, Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that US wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year.


the article also talks about previous studies on bats

quote:
Blade rotational speed was a significant negative predictor of collisions with turbine blades, suggesting that bats may be at higher risk of fatality on nights with low wind speeds


but also this

quote:
This followed previous research that showed that bats can have their lungs ruptured from the sudden low pressure of passing turbine blades: the bats are actually drowning in mid-air. It is not necessary for the bats to collide with the turbines, bats don't even need to come in physical contact with the turbine blades. A blade passing close by is enough to be fatal—an unexpected hazard that was previously unsuspected.


its good to see more sites talk about this issue. I want to see the enery field be on a level playing field and if any other energy producer was the product of such mass death there would be howls from the econuts. yet wind has seemingly been getting a free pass, even when it comes to killing endangered species

quote:
Yet a July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, California, estimated that an average of 80 golden eagles were killed there by wind turbines each year.


wind power has its place, like most other forms, but it is FAR from the "magic bullet" a lot of greens think it is


RE: This is news?
By FaaR on 11/4/2010 8:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
Wind turbines should preferably be placed out at sea where winds are stronger and more prevalent than over land, or in high, mountainous regions where few birds (and virtually no bats, I presume) fly around to get killed by these things.


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