Author Topic: Marine Wind Energy and Birds  (Read 1138 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bcbird

  • Phanatic
  • Old Bird
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,440
Marine Wind Energy and Birds
« on: November 09, 2011, 19:27 »
The Biodiversity Research Institute hosted a Webinar that is just finishing up right now.  I signed up to receive the audio feed, and wish I had posted an alert here in case any other Phanatics were interested.  The actual lecture was in Portland Maine, I forget which University.

The presentations were from Denmark and UK studies of the effects of offshore wind turbines (ocean wind farms) on marine birds.
Here is a bit of what I recall:
 
Location of the farms was found to be the most important factor in overall impact on the studied species, from both initial loss of habitat during project construction, to ongoing risk of collision between the birds and turbines.

Interestingly, different species showed different frequencies of avoidance of the turbines.  Gannets and erns were often avoiding turbines, sometimes seen to safely fly even between rows of turbines.  Cormorants had very low avoidance of the turbines.  As well, seasonality and breeding mattered, as birds flying often to forage for a nest of young were observed to take shorter but higher risks flights.

A diagram showing density of flight paths around a known colony of seabirds had lines marking 90/75/50 % density, and was felt to be useful in plotting locations for future placement of wind turbines in lowest density areas.  The flight path densities had been created by tracking monitored birds.  Another advantage of tracking the birds was at migration, to determine the risks of encountering other turbine farms along the migratory path.
As turbine farms are decommissioned and new ones planned, it is hoped such data will be useful in site location planning.

The quality of the webinar sound was disappointingly poor, and although slides shown at the lecture were also broadcast, the amount of information I could absorb was limited.  I sent in comments about my experience.

Offline The Peregrine Chick

  • Administrator
  • Old Bird
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,281
    • Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project (Manitoba)
Re: Marine Wind Energy and Birds
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2011, 19:33 »
They are finding similar problems with land-based wind farms as well - different species are affected more (bats more than birds, some bird species more than others) and some locating them in some locations are causing major mortality.

Don't know if they talked about when the wind isn't blowing strongly enough to actually generate energy - there have been some studies that in those cases, instead of continuing to "run" the turbines, that it seems to reduce mortality when you let them "wander" or turn with the wind as that then minimizes the blade area for birds passing through.  Or that's what I remember ... did they speak to anything like that BCBird?

Offline bcbird

  • Phanatic
  • Old Bird
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,440
Re: Marine Wind Energy and Birds
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2011, 22:09 »
Don't know if they talked about when the wind isn't blowing strongly enough to actually generate energy - there have been some studies that in those cases, instead of continuing to "run" the turbines, that it seems to reduce mortality when you let them "wander" or turn with the wind as that then minimizes the blade area for birds passing through.  Or that's what I remember ... did they speak to anything like that BCBird?

Not that I recall.  I didn't listen to the post lecture question period, the sound transmission  was worse, so I likely missed a few issues raised.
 
There was mention of reduced windflow post energy generation being a theoretical problem for species such as vultures, who relied on soaring and riding the air currents while hunting for food.