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Bird friendly tests

The wind turbine developed jointly by R. Lynette and FloWind is being tested with a tubular tower because of concerns related to birds and lattice towers. Of the two AWT-26 wind turbines now operating in Tehachapi, one has been installed with a tubular tower.

"We switched to this tower so there would be no potential nesting or roosting areas for birds," says Bob Lynette whose company co-developed the design with FloWind Corp. The machine will ultimately be available with either a lattice or tubular tower.

There are indications that lattice towers attract birds which then get killed by flying into a turbine's turning blades. A research project is currently probing the link between tower design and bird mortality, the most-serious environmental issue plaguing the US wind industry to date (Windpower Monthly, March 1994).

The AWT-26 will also be installed this summer with a 140 foot (42.7 m) tower instead of its current 80 foot (24 m) tower, and with a larger nacelle shell so that maintenance can be done from inside rather than from an outside platform. In March, an unattended AWT-26 produced more than 50,000 kWh of energy.

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