Wind Wildlife Research Fund Research Projects

The Fund supports priority research projects that expand the understanding of the challenges and the potential solutions for wind-wildlife interactions.

All project proposals, scopes of work, and results undergo independent peer and expert review and are submitted to peer-reviewed journals for publication or will be published as AWWI technical reports.

Enhancing Understanding of Bat and Bird Activities and Fatality Risk

Relationship between bat acoustic activity and collision fatalities: Pair pre-construction bat acoustic activity surveys with publicly available fatality estimates from the same wind facilities to evaluate the ability of pre-construction acoustic activity to predict bat collision risk. View 2019 journal publication.

Landscape factors associated with fatalities of migratory tree-roosting bats at wind energy facilities: Evaluate American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) fatality data to further assess the relationship between landscape-level attributes and variation in fatalities of hoary bat and other tree bat species among wind energy facilities. View 2019 report.

*New in 2020* Evaluating the effect of turbine size on bird and bat mortality: Analyze the effect of turbine height and rotor diameter on bird and bat fatality rates using data contributed to the American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) to assess whether bird and bat fatality risk increases with turbine size.

*New in 2020* Investigating of the effect of insects on bat fatalities at wind turbines: Develop the first phase of a project – a detailed study design – to evaluate whether UV light will attract insects away from the rotor swept area of wind turbines and reduce bat activity and collision risk.

Refining Smart Curtailment Practices for Bats

Using local and regional weather data to improve smart curtailment strategies for bats: Scope the feasibility of using bat fatality models developed with machine learning technology and regional weather data to provide targeted, proactive turbine curtailments, resulting in reduced bat fatalities and reduced production losses.

Comparing the effectiveness of curtailment strategies in reducing bat fatalities: Compile data from post construction monitoring studies contributed to the American Wind Wildlife Information Center (AWWIC) to evaluate species-specific variation in bat fatalities among different curtailment regimes.

*New in 2020* Assessing the Efficacy of Bat Smart Curtailment (BSC) Technology: Test the efficacy of the Bat Smart Curtailment (BSC) technology – developed to integrate with turbine control systems and use real-time data on bat presences and wind speed to execute curtailment commands – at an operational wind facility. This project is collaboratively funded with the DOE.

Refining Eagle Fatality Estimates and Informed Curtailment

*Continuing in 2020* Using machine learning to model eagle behavior and improve turbine curtailment strategies: Develop turbine-specific algorithms that incorporate eagle flight behavior recorded by camera-based detection systems into curtailment decisions to improve curtailment algorithms for these systems and ultimately reduce eagle collision risk.

*Continuing in 2020* Improving adjustments for raptor carcass persistence: Analyze regional variation in persistence of game bird versus raptor carcasses used in carcass persistence trials to produce more accurate estimates of fatalities of eagles and other raptors.

*New in 2020* Incorporating incidental eagle carcass detection to improve eagle take estimates: Evaluate methods of incorporating incidental carcass detections by wind facility operations staff into the overall estimated probability of detection at an operating wind facility to provide a methodology for operators to more accurately estimate eagle take.

Evaluating Habitat-Based Impacts for Grouse

*Continuing in 2020* Assessing lesser prairie-chicken response to a wind energy development: Continue the fourth year of data collection and analysis of a control-impact study investigating the potential effects of wind facilities on the lesser prairie-chicken to provide data previously lacking to inform siting decisions within lesser prairie-chicken habitat. View 2019 report.