Deterrent Technologies

Science Center Objects

USGS scientists are testing bird and bat deterrent devices (such as ultrasonic acoustic deterrents) as well as operational management strategies that can cost-effectively reduce wildlife fatalities while allowing wind operators to generate this carbon-free energy.

Each project below is associated with a type of energy production or transmission. Types of energy production or transmission are represented by the following icons:

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Wind Energy

Abbreviations used in project descriptions are defined on the Energy and Wildife Abbrevations page.

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Comparing the Effectiveness of Acoustic Deterrents to Operational Curtailment in Reducing Bat Fatality

Science Center: Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Independent studies have shown that both operational curtailment and ultrasonic acoustic deterrents can be effective in reducing bat fatalities at wind energy facilities. A primary goal of this study, co-funded by  DOE, USGS, and Bat Conservation International, is to compare the costs and benefits of acoustic deterrents to operational curtailment. Fatality rates, when both curtailment and acoustic deterrents are applied singly and in combination, are being compared with fatality rates at untreated turbines to determine if one of these methods is more effective, if they are equally effective, or if they might act synergistically when employed simultaneously.

 

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Reducing Bird and Bat Wind Turbine Strikes Using Weather Radar 

Science Center: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

USGS scientists are collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory through a DOE-funded Technology Development and Innovation project on a two-pronged study consisting of a localized field component and a national-level assessment to determine whether the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) system can effectively detect wildlife at considerable distances. If this approach is validated, the radar system could then be paired with local visual detection for target identification and be used to alter turbine operations or trigger deterrent systems to reduce wind energy impacts on flying animals.

 

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Ultraviolet Illumination as a Means of Reducing Bat Activity and Risk at Wind Turbines

Science Center: Fort Collins Science Center

Insectivorous bats are known for their ability to find and pursue flying insect prey at close range using echolocation, but they also rely heavily on vision. Using a cue that only bats would perceive, USGS is developing technologies to prevent bats from approaching wind turbines that might be mistaken for trees. USGS scientists are collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory through a DOE Technology Development and Innovation award on refining a selectively perceptible wind turbine system to prevent bat fatalities. This project plans to test the hypothesis that dim, flickering, and position-shifting UV light can enable bats to differentiate turbines from trees, keeping bats from approaching turbines in search of resources such as food or roosts. Results from this and related research may determine whether dim UV light can reduce bat activity and fatality at operational wind farms, with the potential benefit of allowing operators to run turbines at maximum efficiency.

 

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Wind Turbine Curtailment Strategies to Reduce Bat Fatality

Science Center: Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center

Wildlife fatalities due to collisions with wind turbines have sparked efforts to reduce the number of fatalities through operational management. Recent studies have shown that altering turbine operations when winds are below certain speeds can decrease the number of bat fatalities, but questions remain regarding optimal management. USGS and colleagues are modeling the proportion of bat fatalities occurring under varying meteorological conditions at Avangrid Renewables’ Blue Creek Wind Farm in Ohio to identify conditions that minimize both bat fatalities and energy production loss. USGS scientists are also investigating whether accurate and precise estimates of fatalities can be derived from carcass searches conducted at easily accessed areas, such as roads and pads beneath turbines.