This short note has been written as part of the MAPE project (https://mape.cnrs.fr/fr). This collaborative research project aims at a better understanding of the causes and consequences of collisions inducing avian fatalities in operating onshore windfarms, in order to reduce these fatalities. This work focuses only on bird fatalities (i.e., it does not consider the bats fatalities) that occur during the operational phase (i.e., not those that happen during the construction phase of the windfarm). It does not consider the indirect impacts either (see below).
This document is based on a critical analysis of all international scientific publications listed at the end of the current document, as well as on the review of 26 unpublished study reports (mostly confidential) of the systems (including seven conducted in France). It also relies on information gathered through the numerous email exchanges or interviews of the different actors of the wind energy sector that we conducted. Notably, we interviewed three wind operators, two turbine manufacturers and three Environmental Impact Assessment companies. We organised several meetings with representatives of the French government, members of research institutes such as the National Museum of Natural History team (MNHN, in Paris) working on the impact of wind energy on bats, one biodiversity policy officer from KNE (Kompetenzzentrum Naturschutz und Energiewende) and four research officers from France Énergie Marine. We also individually interviewed the six detection-reaction systems’ suppliers already installed in France (or that will soon be installed) to learn more about their technologies, their technical performances and their limits. At the date of the publication of this report, five of these discussions were conducted by videoconference and one through email exchanges.
The main information contained in this document was presented and discussed at the MAPE Steering Committee and at a seminar bringing together the 90 partner structures of the MAPE project in March 2021. Finally, this document was also reviewed and commented by the members of the MAPE Work Package 4 technical committee: M. Cellier (EDF-RE), J. Champagnon (Tour du Valat), C. Chuzeville (Valeco), G. Dangoisse (Boralex), T. Disca (Sintec-Ing/Biotope), N. Saulnier (LPO 34), M. Thauront (UPGE/Ecosphère) & T. Vasseur (RES).
Furthermore, at the time we wrote these lines, no offshore wind turbine is operating in France. This note then exclusively focuses on French onshore windfarms. Because the issues of bird fatalities and the wind turbine models are largely similar across the world, the information and principles provided in this document are applicable to all windfarms worldwide. In theory, these recommendations are also valid for offshore wind turbines as they operate on the same principles as onshore turbines. However, in practice, offshore wind turbines seem to be more difficult to stop quickly, as they are larger, more powerful and subjected to stronger winds than onshore ones.
It is important to note that this work focuses on rapidly evolving technologies. Many new companies are also investing into this market. Therefore, it is possible that, by the time you read this, other devices than those listed below will be available. Many R&D tests are also currently being carried out in different countries. It is likely that new information on the performances of these devices will be published after the publication of this short note. We thus encourage readers to consult any new document, if available, in relation to this note.
Finally, we would like to point out that some of the information described in this document are extracted from reports that are subject to confidentiality agreements. Because of their importance in the part that aimed at describing current practices, these elements are anonymised and reported without specific reference