On February 27, Dwyer Haney, the Product Manager for Renewable NRG Systems’ (RNRG) Turbine Control Solutions line, participated in a panel at the AWEA Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference in San Diego, California. The panel, titled “Best Management Practices for Mitigating Bat Fatalities,” brought together a number of industry experts to discuss the operational issues surrounding AWEA’s best management practice (BMP) for reducing bat fatalities at operating wind sites. Introduced by AWEA in 2015 as concerns over wind’s effect on bats were becoming more acute, the BMP involves fully feathering wind turbine blades under the manufacturer’s normal cut-in speed, lowering rotor rotations during the late summer and early fall when bats are migrating and most likely to be harmed. While effective at reducing bat take, the BMP is not without challenges.
Dwyer was joined by Tim Hayes, Environmental Director for Duke Energy Renewables, as well as Jaimeet Gulati, Associate Director, Global Operations Performance Management at EDP Renewables North America. Tim kicked off the panel by discussing basic bat biology and some of the standard industry practices for avoiding bat fatalities, including blade feathering and curtailing turbines to wind speeds above the typical cut-in. Jaimeet then dove into how these best practices are successfully implemented by operators. For example, the turbine control systems need to be updated and organization-wide alignment is key to ensure that the feathering or curtailment is effective.
During the panel discussion, Dwyer discussed the new bat deterrent technology that RNRG has been developing in cooperation with Bat Conservation International. The device discourages bats from flying within a turbine’s rotor swept area by emitting an ultrasonic field that matches their natural calling frequencies. This effectively jams their echolocation systems and keeps them at a safe distance from the rotor. Dwyer explained that the deterrent itself does not harm bats and could drastically reduce bat fatalities at wind sites. He went on to share the positive results that RNRG has seen during early testing of the bat deterrent as well as the outlook for future testing with a variety of different wind plant operators.
The crowd at the conference was excited to hear about RNRG’s technology and eager to learn more. Dwyer fielded many great questions that sparked conversations about how bat regulation works, how much curtailment costs, and the installation process for an RNRG bat deterrent device. In the long run, RNRG is hopeful that this technology will help bats avoid wind plants, while allowing operators to make more renewable energy.
If you are interested in learning more about RNRG’s forthcoming bat deterrent technology and you are attending AWEA’s Wind Project Siting & Environmental Compliance Conference in Austin, Texas, this month, be sure to attend the Advancing Wildlife Impact Minimization Technologies seminar on Monday, March 20. Held 12:30PM-5:00PM, the workshop will feature Brogan Morton, the Product Manager for RNRG’s Renewable Project Siting line, in conversation with other industry leaders about the technology development process as well as the importance of forming effective partnerships, funding, and more. Brogan will focus on the development of RNRG’s bat deterrent technology – a project that he spearheaded.
As always, please feel free to contact us with questions about this technology or any of our other products.