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Studies on Bird and Bat Interactions with Wind Turbines

The National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (NWCC), a partnership funded by the US Department of Energy that builds stakeholder consensus on issues confronting wind power development, has released a paper examining bird and bat interactions with land-based wind turbines. The paper, “Wind Turbine Interactions with Birds, Bats, and their Habitats: A Summary of Research Results and Priority Questions,” provides a literature review of previous NWCC research and peer-reviewed studies on the subject.

Technical experts conducted the literature survey and wrote the paper in conjunction with a review panel including representatives from the wind industry, academia, conservation and environmental protection organizations, and federal agencies. The paper discusses the current state of information regarding bird and bat interactions with wind turbines by examining what studies show about these interactions, what aspects of these interactions are only partially understood or documented, and what opportunities exist for continued research.

The paper notes that impacts on birds and bats have been demonstrated at many wind power facilities but that these impacts vary among facilities and regions. Also, the paper reports that the impact of collisions with wind turbines is several orders of magnitude lower than impacts from other human-related causes of songbird mortality.

For over 15 years, DOE has invested in peer-reviewed research with organizations like NWCC to understand and reduce risks to key species and habitats from wind power developments. The NWCC is a consensus-based network of stakeholders formed in 1994 to support the development of environmentally, economically, and politically sustainable commercial markets for wind power. The organization works to identify, define, discuss, and address wind-wildlife interaction issues by seeking broad stakeholder involvement on scientific and public policy questions.

The “Wind Turbine Interactions with Birds, Bats, and their Habitats” fact sheet and bibliography are available online at the NWCC Web site. For more information on DOE’s work in this area, visit Wind and Water Power Program’s Environmental Impacts and Siting of Wind Projects.

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