windfarms and bats

To: "Stuart Cooney" <>, "Keith Brandwood" <>, <>
Subject: windfarms and bats
From: "Chris Corben" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2010 06:36:08 +1000
Hi all

Unlike the US, however, not many of our bats migratory, which are the type of bats most impacted by wind turbines in that country. Therefore the anticipated impact is considered to be smaller on most species.

You could also argue that the bats most affected in the USA are tree-roosting bats. There are lots of those in Australia, and the Southern Bent-wing Bat is not one of them. The biggest danger is that bats are attracted to their deaths by wind turbines and there seems reason to think this is the case. Worryingly, no-one has any idea of the impact of bat kills at turbines in terms of overall population damage. You would like to think that the desire for turbines would have generated all sorts of knowledge about bat population sizes and migration routes, but overall it hasn't.

If the turbines are being built where their production rate is marginal, that is even more of a worry, because then there is much more resistance to simple changes which might reduce the problem. It has long been known that bat kills can be greatly reduced if the turbines are shut down at low wind speeds, but that can have a significant impact on energy production and profitability at marginal sites.

I used to like seeing wind turbines, but now they have become a serious blight on the landscape in the USA and parts of Europe. You would like to think that at least the proliferation of them will do something meaningful for energy needs, but there seems considerable doubt about that, too. The community needs to be vigilant that there is a nett benefit to such projects, and that it understands the real pros and cons, not just from the viewpoint of those few with most to gain. Fat chance, I fear...

Cheers, Chris.


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