Julie M. Rodriguez

Painting Wind Turbines Black Could Prevent Thousands of Bird Deaths Every Year

by , 08/08/13

wind turbines, bird deaths, bird collisions, wind power, green energy, renewable energy, wind farmsWind Turbine photo from Shutterstock

For years, environmentalists have been faced with a dilemma when it comes to renewable energy: wind turbines generate clean power, but in the US alone they may kill up to 40,000 birds a year. Well, a new research project in Norway may be about to change all that. Energy Norway is funding a trial at the 68-turbine Smøla wind farm to test if changing the color of turbine blades will help prevent birds from colliding with the structures.

wind turbines, bird deaths, bird collisions, wind power, green energy, renewable energy, wind farms

The plan is to color one of the three blades black, creating a higher contrast that will hopefully make them more visible to ducks, grouse, and other low-flying birds. Rather than replace the blades with a new material, the existing turbines are simply going to be painted. This makes it much simpler than some of the other experimental technologies designed to scare away birds, which mainly involve advanced technology and a dedicated power supply. Norway is also testing out another practical, lower-tech solution to the problem — installing small UV lamps on turbines to help steer birds away.

Via CleanTechnica

Images by Peter Rood and Felix O

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1 Comment

  1. jensstubbe November 3, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Perspective please.

    According to serious research in the field the average bird death related to wind turbine collisions are 4 per year per wind turbine in northern Germany. 130 different species of birds was killed according to the researchers who counted the death toll caused by 3.000 wind turbines in Brandenburg.

    You can find an excel sheet with the counted dead birds by entering this search. http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=brandenburg+birds+wind+turbines&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    The death toll caused by grid connections or road traffic is way higher than that caused by wind turbines.

    Airports annually kills birds on an industrial scale relatively to the rare occurrence of wind turbine bird killings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_strike

    Bats is a little more of a concern as each wind turbine kills about 4 bats annually (10,000 to 17.000 in total for the 3.000 turbines envolved in the 10 year test period) and bats are far more scarce and there are fewer bat species and bats does not reproduce as fast.

    Newer wind turbines rotate slower and are placed much higher over ground which should reduce the problem.

    Sorry that the link is in Danish – it is from the national birdlife organization. http://www.dof.dk/index.php?id=nyheder&s=nyheder&m=visning&nyhed_id=985

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