The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) issued the following statement from Tom Vinson, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs, in response to a new study on wind power’s impact on the Hoary Bat:
“The wind industry is confident that the conservation measures we have put in place and those in the pipeline can prevent the scenario articulated in this study. These conservation measures were not considered by the authors.
The wind energy industry takes its wildlife conservation responsibilities seriously, including with respect to bats, and is proactively working to reduce our impacts. Even for bats that are not protected by federal law, the industry conducts pre-construction studies to understand potential risks and develops bat conservation strategies to address any concerns. That includes provisions to implement additional conservation measures if issues arise, and monitoring at operating facilities to verify actual impacts.
The wind industry also developed a voluntary best management practice that limits the operations of turbines in low-wind speed conditions during the fall bat migration season, when research has shown bats are most at risk of collision. It is expected to reduce impacts to bats from operating wind turbines by as much as 30%. And the wind industry is supporting research to improve our understanding of these issues and options to reduce impacts, including the development of technologies to detect and deter bats from wind farms and helping found and continuing to support the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative and the American Wind Wildlife Institute.
Early results of the research into acoustic deterrent devices, for example using ultrasonic sounds that bats can detect to ward them away from turbines, have shown promise and that research continues.
Various bat species have been significantly harmed by white nose syndrome and are at further risk as a result of climate change, for which expanding wind energy is a leading solution. The wind industry has a legacy of care for the environment and will continue to work to protect bats while addressing these larger threats to their survival.”