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Iberdrola Renewables has partnered with independent conservation group Bat Conservation International (BCI) for wildlife data collection at a southwestern Pennsylvania wind power project to study the interaction between bats and wind turbines.

BCI's work is being conducted through the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC), which is a coalition of the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and BCI. The cooperative's work focuses on identifying and addressing potential wind energy impacts on bats.

From late July to early October, Iberdrola Renewables and BCI researchers conducted a controlled experiment in which selected wind turbines at the Casselman Wind Power Project were stopped during certain wind conditions.

Shutting down turbines at certain wind speeds and during periods when bats appear most vulnerable is a potentially new and effective way to reduce the impact on bats during their late-summer migration season. Although it was crucial for this study, curtailing turbine operations is not likely to be the complete solution to reducing the impact on bats in all circumstances, but just one part of it, according to Iberdrola.

"We need to develop renewable energy resources, and we would like to develop those responsibly," says Ed Arnett, a principal wildlife investigator for BCI. "There's no free lunch here. There are always going to be impacts, but we want to reduce those impacts, particularly with green energy."

The results of the study will be reviewed by BWEC's scientific advisory committee and then made public.

SOURCE: Iberdrola Renewables

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