Because of the fast rate of wind-energy development it will become a challenge to verify impacts on birdlife and construe ways to minimise these. Birds colliding with wind turbines are generally perceived as one of the major conflict issues for wind-energy development. Development of effective and practical measures to reduce bird mortality related to offshore and onshore wind energy is therefore paramount to avoid any delay in consenting processes. The expected efficacy of post-construction mitigation measures for wind-turbine induced avian mortality can be expected to be species-specific with regard to audible, optical and biomechanical constraints and options. Species-specific sensory faculties limit the ability to observe a wind turbine in a given circumstance. Their consequent cognitive perception may depend on the possibilities for associating wind turbines with risk, and discriminating these from other sources. Last but not least, perceived risks may only be evaded when their aerodynamic, locomotive physiology enables them to do so in due time. In order to be able to identify and construe functional mitigation measures these aspects need to be taken into account. Measures eliciting a series of intermittent strong stimuli that are variable in frequency may limit habituation effects; these should only be elicited specifically to mitigate imminent collision. Thus measures either adjusting turbine operation or warning/deterring birds approaching turbines are expected to be most functional. Warning signals may either be based on optical or audible stimuli; however, birds׳ hearing is inferior to humans while their visual acuity and temporal resolution is higher, but with great differences among species. Implementing effective mitigation measures could reduce the general level of conflicts with birdlife and thus enable both the development at new sites, at sites that have been declared having too high conflict levels, and utilise the wind resources better at specific sites without increasing the conflict levels.
Mitigating Wind-Turbine Induced Avian Mortality: Sensory, Aerodynamic and Cognitive Constraints and Options
Title: Mitigating Wind-Turbine Induced Avian Mortality: Sensory, Aerodynamic and Cognitive Constraints and Options
February 01, 2015
Journal: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
May, R.; Reitan, O.; Bevanger, K.; Lorensten, S.; Nygård, T. (2015). Mitigating Wind-Turbine Induced Avian Mortality: Sensory, Aerodynamic and Cognitive Constraints and Options. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 42, 170-181.