Planet Gore

Windmills vs. Bats

Reuters, getting in the holiday spirit.

Halloween is just around the corner, and it may be better than most years for one of Earth’s most unpopular species: the bat. 

Something sinister is happening to bats in the United States – not only are their numbers declining due to a mysterious malady, but large numbers of them are also being caught mid-flight in the spinning wind turbines that are cropping up rapidly across the nation.

The furry flying critters may get help this month thanks to an unlikely group of conservationists, wind energy companies and the U.S. government, who say they are undertaking a big effort to lower the number of bats killed by wind turbine blades.

The group, called the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative, is studying whether stopping wind turbines during low wind conditions will reduce bat deaths at U.S. wind farms. It is also evaluating how much electricity is lost by the shutdowns. . . .

According to the BWEC, bat fatalities occur mainly on nights when the wind is scarce and turbines are operating at low power. Scientists believe, therefore, that shutting down the turbines when there is little wind could significantly reduce bat deaths with only a modest reduction in power production.

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