The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced its plans to invest $1.75million on 5 projects that are expected to protect bats from collisions with wind turbines.
According to their press release:
This funding will support projects in two research categories. Projects in the first category will focus on innovative early-stage technology development—advancing proof-of-concept designs, and developing and testing technology prototypes.
- Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas— Texas Christian University will develop and test coatings that alter the surface texture of wind turbine towers to potentially deter bats from approaching them.
- Frontier Wind, Rocklin, California — Frontier Wind will develop and test an ultrasonic acoustic deterrent system comprised of an array of electric ultrasonic transmitters mounted along the length of turbine blades. High-frequency sounds from these transmitters will cover the entire turbine rotor.
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts — The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will develop a blade-mounted ultrasonic whistle. As air flows over the wind turbine blade, the device will produce a deterrence signal. The project will address the challenge of deterring bats across the entire wind turbine rotor and test whether a pulsed-noise, similar to a bat call, can act as an effective deterrent.
Projects in the second research category will focus on technology demonstration and validation by testing the effectiveness of existing near-commercial technologies at operational wind facilities. This work will serve as a critical step toward deploying commercially-viable, proven tools for protecting bats.
- Bat Conservation International, Austin, Texas — Bat Conservation International will conduct reliability tests for an electronic deterrent device and carry out a full-scale validation of its effectiveness at a wind plant. The project will also compare the electronic deterrent’s ability to reduce impacts to bats versus turbine curtailment—or turning turbines off when bats are most active—the primary mitigation measure currently in use.
- General Electric (GE) Power & Water, Greenville, South Carolina— GE will advance the development of a turbine-integrated, air-powered deterrent device by refining its design based on lab testing and field tests at an operating wind plant.
The purpose of these projects is to remove barriers to continued wind project development in the US and increase general acceptance of the technology by ‘addressing siting and environmental issues’.
If the DOE is able to successfully deter bats from wind turbines, this could increase the availability of sites for future developments.