Presentation Description: It is ironic that the species being impacted the most by wind-energy, receive the least amount of regulatory protection. The three tree bat species, eastern red bat, hoary bat, and silver-haired bat, are found as fatalities in much greater numbers than any other bat or bird species. The lack of regulatory protection of the tree bats makes it difficult for operators to justify using voluntary measures to reduce mortality that result in significant energy loss, such as curtailment. However, biologically, the largest issue facing the wind industry is the impact it is having on tree bat populations. The level of current tree bat mortality could lead to potential future listings and additional regulation of the wind industry.
The wind industry and WEST have collected over 20 years of post-construction monitoring data, and some patterns in tree bat mortality are becoming more apparent as we complete large scale analyses across projects and regions. Reviewing existing data does not require extensive, expensive data collection such as expensive daily carcass searches. WEST will review recent site specific research and meta-analyses we have completed, and will describe the development of a potential real time, regional forecasting model that identifies the highest 2 or 3 riskiest weeks for species such as the hoary bat, in real time. Wind companies will be much more likely to participate in voluntary curtailment if the period of energy loss is narrow, limited, and focused on periods when it is most effective.
Our talk will outline the issue, summarize the regional patterns we have observed, introduce regional forecast models as a potential solution.