Modifying wind turbines so they kill fewer bats… it can — and is — being done
My Clean Break column today takes a look at the importance of bats when it comes to agriculture and how bat populations, under threat by white nose syndrome and wind turbines, are getting some help by the Electric Power Research Institute. EPRI researchers have designed a system that can detect a bat’s echolocation call and adjust the operation of a wind turbine to reduce its potential for harm. The researchers have run the models and done preliminary ground tests, and are close to demonstrating the system on the nacelle of a GE wind turbine. The ultimate goal is to have the detection system a common, build-in feature of wind turbines, completely integrated into the turbine’s control system. It’s just the latest example of how innovative thinking is addressing some of the problems associated with wind energy. Siemens and Vestas are watching the research closely.