We are excited to share the latest advancements in technology aimed at monitoring the coexistence of wind turbines with birds and bats. A team of researchers at Oregon State University, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) and the National Wind Technology Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is actively developing innovative solutions to detect and understand interactions between wind farms and wildlife.
The primary objective of this project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is to develop commercially viable technologies that can accurately detect bird and bat contact with wind turbines. By gaining a better understanding of how wildlife coexists with wind farms, we can mitigate potential harmful interactions and promote sustainable wind energy practices.
Preventing adverse impacts on wildlife is crucial for maintaining public approval and avoiding legal consequences. In recent years, there have been instances of bird fatalities, such as golden eagles, caused by wind turbine blades. To address this issue, the research team has installed accelerometers on wind turbines, which provide real-time data on structural vibrations resulting from bird or bat contact. Additionally, acoustic recordings capture noises made by approaching wildlife, aiding in the detection process.
To test the system without harming actual wildlife, the researchers employed tennis balls to simulate the movements of birds and bats. This allowed them to collect valuable data, which was subsequently used to fine-tune and validate the monitoring system's accuracy.
The ultimate goal of this research is to make these monitoring technologies commercially available for both onshore and offshore wind turbines. By doing so, we can safeguard wildlife populations and minimize the impact of wind energy installations on their habitats. This technological advancement will not only protect valuable species but also contribute to the long-term sustainability of the wind energy sector.
We are proud to support this research endeavor, as it aligns with our commitment to responsible and environmentally friendly energy solutions. By staying at the forefront of innovative technologies, we can ensure a harmonious coexistence between renewable energy and wildlife.