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Duke Energy puts in place new procedures to protect bats from wind turbines

CTBR Staff Writer Published 30 October 2015

US-based Duke Energy Renewables is working on implementing new procedures that can prevent bats from getting killed or injured when they accidentally come into contact with wind turbines.

The new protocols are based on ten years of research by the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative and others.

These are expected to reduce the wind power sector's impact on bats by around 30%, according to American Wind Energy Association that had formed a committee for the purpose

Though reasons behind why bats are attracted to wind turbines are not known, scientists believe that bats mistake the turbines as large trees due to poor vision.

The project, led by the company's environmental director and biologist Tim Hayeswas, made certain suggestions such as slowing down the wind turbine rotor speeds during low-wind conditions around August and September, since this is the time of year when bats migrate and breed.

Duke Energy has already implemented the new procedures at 11 of its wind power generating plants, with plans to adopt them at five more of its facilities.

The company also intends to implement new operating parameters for the turbines in their future projects.

Tim Hayes said: "We're on the leading-edge of addressing this. Whatever the environmental issue, Duke prides itself in meeting it head-on.

"Wind energy is clean, with no emissions, and it doesn't use any water.

"However, there is no free lunch, and every form of generation has an impact on the environment. We must figure out how to improve the impact we do have."