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US provides $1.75 million for bat protection

UNITED STATES: The US government will invest $1.75 million in five projects developing initiatives to protect sensitive bat species against the effects of wind turbines.

DoE said wildlife protection was still a challenge facing wind energy developers in the United States
DoE said wildlife protection was still a challenge facing wind energy developers in the United States

The funding from the Department of Energy (DoE) has been split in to two categories; one for projects in the early stage of development and one for existing or near-commercial initiatives.

The bodies that will benefit from the fund include manufacturer GE, the Bat Conservation International (BCI), systems developer Frontier Wind, the Texas Christian University and the University of Massachusetts.

GE, as part of the second category, is developing an air-powered deterrent integrated in the turbine. GE is looking to conduct field tests on the device.

The other project in the second category is by BCI, based in California. It is developing an electronic deterrent and will compare it to stopping turbines when bats are active – the current measure used.

The early-stage projects include plans to develop coatings that change the texture of a turbine tower's surface. Texas Christian University believe it will deter bats from going near the machine.

Frontier Wind is developing an ultrasonic acoustic deterrent. Transmitters will be installed along the length of blades and send out high-frequency sounds.

Lastly, the University of Massachusetts wants to develop a blade-mounted ultrasonic whistle. The device will be mounted on the blades and transmit a signal as the blade turns. The university wants to test using a frequency similar to a bat call as the deterrent.

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