Archive for September 26th, 2011

Turbines and Bats

Monday, September 26th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Although a popular source of renewable energy, wind turbines are responsible for tens of thousands of bat deaths annually. Sometimes the animals fly into the structures or, because of the rapid pressure drop that occurs as air flows over the turbine blades, bats’ lungs become…let’s just say… damaged.

Ed Arnett, a conservation scientist at Bat Conservation International and coordinator of the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative, says he expects an increase in bat fatalities.

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

As bats hunt for insects during low-wind periods, turning off the turbines during these times may save the animals.

11—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 under development include white noise emitted from the turbine to possibly keep the bats away altogether.

12—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.

That’s our show… with support from the SFWR Program, funded by your purchase of hunting and fishing equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.