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United States

Bat death causes 70MW project shutdown

UNITED STATES: A single bat death has caused the nightly shutdown of a 70MW project in Pennsylvania.

The Indiana Bat is on the Federal list of protected species
The Indiana Bat is on the Federal list of protected species

The North Allegheny project is owned by Duke Energy and uses Gamesa 2MW turbines. It was closed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service after the dead bat was discovered under a turbine.

The bat was an Indiana Bat and is protected by the federal endangered species act. It was discovered during routine monitoring of the wind farm.

Many bat deaths are caused by a phenomenon known as barotrauma, whereby a change in pressure between turbines causes the creatures’ lungs to explode.

It is believed operational changes such as increasing the speed at which a wind turbine starts generating energy from 3.5-5.5m/s can reduce bat fatalities by 50-80%.

Additionally, preliminary results from studies on acoustic devices, which generate ultra-high-frequency sounds to deter bats from turbines show a reduction in mortality by up to 70%.

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