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.
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.