Siting, Wildlife & Environmental Monitoring
Presentation Description: Offshore wind energy is well-established in Europe and is an emerging industry in the U.S. Understanding potential impacts to birds and bats is an important factor in the permitting of an offshore wind farm. Assessing such impacts is challenging given harsh offshore conditions and the inability to conduct standardizes carcass searches similar to land-based turbines. Therefore, development of automated monitoring technologies is a key factor to advancing offshore wind energy. WEST is leading the development of an automated, multi-sensor system for detecting and quantifying bird and bat collisions at offshore or land-based wind farms. In collaboration with TNO, NREL, and LEEDCo, WEST’s project funded by the DOE will advance TNO’s existing WT-Bird system that has successfully detected large bird collisions during the daytime at an offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. The existing system includes acceleration sensors installed in turbine blades to detect collision impacts, and cameras installed at the base of the turbine to record collision events. The primary objective of the DOE-funded project will be to advance the WT-Bird system to also detect smaller bird and bat collisions during both daytime and nighttime hours. Two major technological advancements resulting from the project include: 1) improving the sensitivity of acceleration sensors to detect small bird and bat collisions, and 2) integrating machine learning algorithms to process video data collected by the cameras to automatically identify and classify a bird or bat collision to guild or species, when possible. Preliminary results of testing the advanced system will be shared at AWEA.