On February 19-20 at a two-day workshop in Juno Beach, Florida was organized with over 20 participants (see Appendix B), including several of the world’s leading bat scientists and experts from other relevant fields, the wind industry, and federal and state agencies to share information and discuss what is needed to understand and resolve issues involving bat mortality at wind turbines. Bat Conservation International and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the need for this workshop, which was funded by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association and hosted by Florida Power and Light Energy. Participants are hopeful that collaboration will yield solutions that support the continued growth of wind power production in concert with wildlife conservation.
The purpose of the workshop was to:
- To identify what participants know and do not know about the problem of bat strikes at U.S. wind energy projects
- To discuss the state-of-the-art methods and technologies and understanding of bat behaviors that may better define the problem and/or prevent future bat kills
The workshop was not intended to make decisions about specific project proposals or who implements and finances the potential solutions. The expected outcomes of the meeting were:
- Proceedings about the state of knowledge and applicable tools to address the problem that the participants identified
- A list of potential technical solutions best suited to address the defined problem and near term priorities for a path forward
The agenda (see Appendix A) was designed to encourage dialogue and the meeting was facilitated. This document is a summary of the workshop proceedings. It captures the comments and ideas that were exchanged, and summarizes the major themes that were expressed throughout the workshop.
The morning of the first day provided the participants and the experts with a brief over view of a wind turbine project layout, infrastructure, development process, and operation from the industry perspective. Background on relevant bat studies and surveys in the U.S was also provided. Thereafter, the ten bat and migration expert s invited provided a brief overview of their relevant knowledge. This session allowed for discussion about the current state-of-the-art tool s and techniques used to better understand bat ecology and behavior and a report on relevant European studies.
The first of five facilitated discussions began on the afternoon of the first day addressing specific questions outlined in the agenda. The facilitator posed the focus questions and led the group in a discussion to explore and organize responses to the focus questions. All participants, including industry and agency observers, provided ideas and they were posted on storyboards. The ten invited bats experts then independently evaluated these ideas and expressed their individual views and preferences regarding which of these should be priorities. The experts made their thoughts known by placing a dot ( ♦ ) next to those ideas on the storyboard that were a priority to them. They acted individually, not in consensus, in placing the limited number of dots each was provided. These preferences, and all of the ideas, are reflected in the tables that follow in this report. The participants addressed the following questions:
- What are the problems associated with bats and wind turbines?
- What are the underlying and most critical causes of the problems with bats and wind turbines?
- What are the most significant knowledge gaps with understanding and addressing the underlying causes of the problems with bats and wind turbines?
- What is preventing an understanding of the problem?
- What does the group need to know to address the problem?
- What tools, technologies, and information gathering techniques (e.g., radar, thermal imaging, acoustic tracking) would be most helpful in developing a better understanding of bat-turbine interactions and quantifying the magnitude of the problem?
- What can be done to address the knowledge gaps and/or the problem?
- What actions do we need to take now to address the problems and near term priorities?
- What is the path forward?
At the end of the second day, the participants were divided into smaller groups of 3 or 4 and discussed the details of the priority actions. At this time, some of the priority suggestions were combined, if they were related. The experts led ten breakout groups and presented their findings to all the participants. This break out session focusing on near-term solutions addressed the following questions:
- What are the immediate next steps associated with implementing the top priority actions/solutions?
- What are the defined tasks, schedules and involved parties?
The summary session at the end of the work shop allowed the entire group to hear the results of each of the ten priority actions, engage in a discussion of the findings of the breakout groups, and provide concluding remarks. For a detailed list of the ten priority actions selected and discussed, see Table six.