Even Small Wind Turbines Lower Bat Activity by Half

By Derek Markham, TreeHugger

One of the drawbacks of large wind turbine installations is the loss of bats, which play an important part in the environment and in our economy (up to $53B a year!).

Right now, researchers are exploring new solutions to reducing bat deaths at large wind farms, but with the rising number of small wind turbine installations for residential and urban areas, bats may lose more valuable habitat.

A research study by Dr Jeroen Minderman, of the University of Stirling, is the first study to examine the impacts on local wildlife activity from small wind turbine installations, and the results suggest that the microturbines could significantly decrease bat habitat in their immediate area.

“Previous studies have shown that birds and bats can be killed by colliding with large turbine blades or that wildlife may avoid the surrounding environment, leading to effective habitat loss. To date, studies have focused solely on large-scale wind farms. We therefore felt it vital to address this knowledge gap by determining whether such effects are also applicable to small wind turbines, to improve planning guidance and deter badly-sited turbines in the future.” – Minderman

The results of the study showed that bird activity was not significantly affected by the turbines, but that bat activity was 54% lower near operating units. The authors recommended that wind turbines be kept at least 20 meters away from important bat habitat, and hope that their findings can help guide future installation guidelines.

 

Related:
Having Bats in the Belfry is a Good Thing (video)
You’ve Never Seen Bats Like This
Adorable Baby Bat (Video)

61 comments

Jo Recovering
Jo S.11 months ago

Thanks Molly.

Warren Webber
Warren Webber1 years ago

Live long and prosper

ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA SOMLAI2 years ago

noted

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K.2 years ago

I do believe it's important to protect each part of the ecosystem. Bats are a vital part of it, so any disruption should be remedied. But I still like wind better than nuclear. Thanks.

Archie B.
Archie B.2 years ago

Research into SOLAR POWER! Nothing gets hurt with solar power. Problem is the mega rich wouldn,t make money from it!

Ruth R.
Ruth R.2 years ago

So glad that people care!

We can build wind turbines and windmills -- where the birds and the bats do not fly. We can and have studied where birds and bats fly.

We can have birds, bats, wind turbines, wood wind turbines and wood windmills -- all exist !

Sandi C.
Sandi C.3 years ago

noted

Samir Nassir
Past Member 3 years ago

I am looking for the solution .Noted,thanks.

Valentina R.
Valentina R.3 years ago

This is tragic. We need safer turbines. Wind power is not more important than bats' lives.

Susan A.
Susan A.3 years ago

Sad...have to find better turbines and protect bats!