Big data and technological innovation help us understand and minimize risk to bats from wind energy operation
Wind energy operation can pose risks for bats, although the extent of this risk is not well known. In parts of the U.S., the need to substantially reduce bat collision fatalities while minimizing power production losses represents the greatest conservation challenge for wind energy development.
Research is needed to understand more about bats and inform risk assessment and targeted strategies for minimizing risk. AWWI and collaborators are developing innovative tools and approaches to better understand risk, and are evaluating technological solutions to make wind energy operation safer for bats.
Hoary Bat By Adam Searcy, Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0
An AWWI white paper, Bats and Wind Energy: Impacts, Mitigation, and Tradeoffs, provides an overview and review of what is known about wind energy’s impacts to bats, incorporating findings from the recent AWWI technical paper on a new analysis of post-construction fatality data. The paper also discusses the tradeoff of expanding wind energy to meet urgent emissions mitigation needs and accepting some uncertainty about risk to bats.
Hoary Bat By J.N. Stuart, Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0
View the Bats & Wind Energy Issue Brief to learn more about bat interactions with wind turbines and reducing collision fatalities for bat species in the U.S. and Canada.
Tri-colored bat by USFWS, Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0
The first report from the AWWIC (American Wind Wildlife Information Center) post-construction fatality database summarizes bat fatality data and sets the foundation for understanding which species are at risk, where, and why.
Little Brown Bat By J.N. Stuart, Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Learn more about bat impact minimization technologies in development in a National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (NWCC) webinar.