Texas State researchers have completed trial of a bat deterrent technology from NRG Systems that helps reduce wind turbine-related bat fatalities.
The ultrasonic acoustic system which was installed on 16 of Los Vientos Wind Energy Facility’s 255 turbines, reduced overall bat fatalities by 54%.
“Our results from a robust, two-year study at an operational wind energy facility in Texas indicate NRG’s acoustic deterrents significantly reduce Brazilian free-tailed bat and hoary bat fatalities,” said Texas A&M biology lecturer and Texas State PhD candidate Sara Weaver. “Based on these results, the technology is a promising tool for reducing bat fatalities at wind turbines.”
The new system is based on jamming the echolocation capabilities of bats, which they rely on for orienting, foraging and communication, while causing no harm to wildlife that encounter the treated airspace.
“It is no secret that wind turbines cause mortality to bats. This has become an increasingly critical issue as bat populations across North America continue to decline,” said Brogan Morton, senior product manager at NRG Systems.
“NRG set out to develop a technology that would allow wind developers and operators to protect bats while creating more energy more of the time. We are incredibly pleased to say that we are well on our way to making this a reality.”
While 2018 marks three years of testing for NRG’s Bat Deterrent System, research around using ultrasonic acoustic deterrents to reduce bat fatalities at wind turbines has been under way for more than a decade.
This was led by the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC), an organization that Texas State project partner Bat Conservation International (BCI) helped launch and continues to coordinate.
“BCI is proud to partner with companies like NRG Systems – entrepreneurs looking to reduce bat fatalities at wind turbine sites,” said Mylea Bayless, senior director of network and partnerships at BCI.
“We hope that future testing shows continued mortality reduction in additional species and that NRG’s Bat Deterrent System will serve as a highly effective tool for wind developers and operators looking to minimize their impact on bat populations.”
Image and content: Pixabay/Texas State University