During avian monitoring studies conducted from 1994-1999, several bat collision victims were found at wind turbines in the Buffalo Ridge Resource Area (WRA) in southwest Minnesota. This study further examined bat interactions with wind turbines at this site.
Although development of renewable energy sources is generally considered environmentally friendly, wind power development has been associated with the deaths of birds colliding with turbines and other wind plant structures. Bats may also be affected. EPRI and Xcel Energy, Inc. sponsored a study of bat interactions at Xcel‘s 354 turbine 236 MW wind plant on Buffalo Ridge, located in southwest Minnesota. The wind development area currently consists of three major phases of development. Phase 1 was constructed in 1994 and consists of 73 Kenetech Model 33 M-VS 330 KW turbines. Turbines in Phase 1 are no longer being manufactured and are not representative of new-generation larger turbines; therefore, they were not included in this study. Phase 2 consists of 143 and Phase 3 consists of 138 newer-generation Zond Model Z-750 750 KW turbines.