Wind Turbines pose a threat to flying animals. These clean energy behemoths are growing in size to generate more electricity over time, but what happens to animals as the blades get more expansive and the towers rise taller? It turns out that when it comes to Wind Turbines, size doesn’t matter. According to a recent study, newer, larger systems pose no greater risk to bats and birds than older, smaller systems. Scientists utilized conservation dogs to gather data for this study.
According to Josh Saul of Bloomberg Green, the four-legged researchers were able to find downed birds and bats at a wind turbine plant in California that featured both modern and older systems for comparative purposes. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) led the investigation, which found that wildlife fatality rates per unit of energy produced remained constant.
Author Manuela Huso, a USGS research statistician, said, “Location, as well as the amount of energy production, are likely stronger determinants of wildlife deaths than the size of turbines installed. Simply replacing older and smaller Wind Turbines with newer and larger machines generating the same amount of energy has little effect on the rate of wildlife mortality.”
That is, as long as the electric output was consistent, the scientists found no difference between “smaller, lower capacity, closely spaced turbines and larger, higher capacity, more widely separated turbines,” according to the research, which was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology in March 2021. This is fantastic news for the wind energy industry, transitioning from smaller, low-capacity turbines to larger, higher-performing units.Tax credits for more extensive and better renewable energy projects are expected to be included in the infrastructure proposal currently being debated in Congress. But, of course, bats and birds will benefit as well. They may thank dogs for discovering it.