Archive for August 7th, 2009

Wind Turbines & Bats

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife…

Wind turbines are a popular form of alternative energy, but it’s not without disadvantages. Gretchen Mahan tells us more…

Wind turbines kill tens of thousands of bats each year like the Brazilian free-tailed bat in Texas. It’s often killed by running into the turbines or because of a sudden drop of pressure near the turbine blades.

Ed Arnett is a conservation scientist for Bat Conservation International and project coordinator for the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative. He says he expects bat fatalities to increase in the future.

I do believe the threats to threatened and endangered species will increase as we enter into the range of those creatures.

Arnett also says bats hunt for insects during low-wind periods. So turning off the turbines during these times will save many bats.

By reducing the amount of operating hours during those low wind periods we reduce the fatalities of bats at least half and up to as high as 87 percent of the fatalities can be reduced.

Other solutions being developed include a white noise that could be emitted from the turbine to keep the bats away from the turbines altogether.

Bat Conservation International certainly supports the development of renewable energy resources. But we want to do that wisely. And we don’t want to develop at the expense of today’s resources for tomorrow’s hopes.

Ultimately, Arnett says, animals need to be taken into consideration as we develop renewable energy.

Thanks Gretchen. That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.