Since 2004, BWEC researchers conduct post-construction surveys to better understand the patterns of mortality at wind energy facilities.

2004 Study

BWEC scientists implemented an intensive effort to study interactions between bats and wind turbines and patterns of mortality during late summer and early fall 2004, the time of year during which bat fatalities appear to occur most frequently at wind energy facilities.

The 2004 program included applying thermal imaging to observe interactions between bats and wind turbines, conducting fatality searches to document bat mortalities at wind turbine sites, and performing extensive analyses of mortality data to identify patterns and relationships with weather and other variables.

A red bat is found having been killed by a wind turbine at the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center on Backbone Mountain near Thomas, West Virginia (photo by Ed Arnett, BCI).

2009 Study

Post-construction monitoring at wind facilities in Somerset County and Schylkill County, Pennsylvania was conducted April – November 2009.  We collected more information regarding bat fatality at wind turbines to determine if there is a correlation between pre-construction activity levels and post-construction fatality rates.

Accomplishments

  • Conducted daily searches to estimate bat fatalities at wind facilities.
  • Improve quantification of bias corrections for searcher efficiency and scavenger removal of bats; account for differences in bias corrections among different habitat conditions.
  • Determined optimum sampling intervals and methods required to accurately estimate fatality of bats at turbines.
  • Correlated fresh bat fatalities collected daily with weather and turbine characteristics from the previous night.
  • Determined interactions and activity patterns of bats at wind turbines.
  • Developed recommendations for improving and standardizing fatality search protocols for bats at turbines.

BCI Field Research Technician Paula Shover gathers field data at the Casselman Wind Power Project near Rockwood, PA (photo by Ed Arnett, BCI).

Study Reports

pdf-documentRelationships between Bats and Wind Turbines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia: An Assessment of Fatality Search Protocols, Patterns of Fatality, and Behavioral Interactions with Wind Turbines (Arnett, Erickson, Kerns, Horn – June 2005)

Publications

pdf-documentA preliminary evaluation on the use of dogs to recover bat fatalities at wind energy facilities (Arnett 2006)

pdf-documentPatterns of Bat Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities in North America (Arnett, et al – 2008)

pdf-documentBehavioral responses of bats to operating wind turbines (Horn, Arnett, and Kunz – 2008)