2016-11-07. When Bats Look for Meals Near Wind Power, Bats Die.

posted Nov 8, 2016, 8:30 AM by Alan Gould
By John Schwartz, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 4. Excerpt: A new study of wind turbines in Britain found that each turbine killed one to two bats each month on average, with some killing more than 60. ...There are more than 300,000 wind turbines around the world. The risks to birds of the blades of wind turbines are becoming well understood, but the risk to bats, while known, has been poorly defined until now, said Fiona Mathews, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of mammalian biology at the University of Exeter in England. Bats, she said, might be attracted to turbines, whether because of the noise the machines make or the bugs that are trapped in the air movement: “It’s a ready food supply.” ...Using specially trained bat-sniffing dogs, the researchers found the hard-to-spot bat corpses at the bases of turbines at 46 wind farms around England. ...Dr. Mathews...said that the research in no way suggested that renewable power was a bad thing, but argued that wind power companies should take action to minimize the damage to bats, which pollinate plants and consume pests like mosquitoes. The risk is higher at times of low wind, in part because bats are less likely to take to the air during a hard blow; because turbines are not generating much power anyway during those times of relative calm, stilling the blades or shifting their pitch to limit motion could save many bats, as could curtailing operation during peak bat periods of the year....  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/08/science/bats-wind-power-turbines.html