Do wind farms need to install bird detection systems?
Ploughcroft on why their 10kw wind turbine does not to pose any significant threat to wildlife.
Ploughcroft review the concerns about the potential threat to wildlife from wind turbines
As one of the great renewable energy technologies of not only the present, but also of the future, wind turbines offer a great and wonderful energy supply to traditional and damaging forms of energy, such as the great maelstrom of fossil fuels which we use to power our business and homes.
One of the few negatives of wind turbines, which quite a few many people worry about, is the impact that they have upon the natural environment, especially bird.
Despite a few angry and opinionated articles by The Daily Mail, many bird charities and organisations are in favour of wind farms.
The RSPB itself states that although wind turbines can damage birds, they are in favour of wind energy as an imperative part of renewable energy revolution and are a necessary piece to the renewable energy jigsaw.
The current state of wind turbines
As seemingly negative press tolls daily about wind turbines, this comes at a time when the UK Government has pledged to attain 20% of its electricity by 2020.
Although this is a massive and radical step towards a greener planet, it certainly finds itself shy of the pledge that Scotland has made towards renewable energy, who are working towards sourcing their renewable energy 100% by the same year.
Although there are varying forms of renewable energy including solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, and heat pumps amongst others; it is wind energy which will be one of the forerunners in the race towards total sustainability.
- currently there are 3,506 wind turbines in the United Kingdom
- UK is the eighth largest supplier of wind power in the world (with China, United States and Germany taking the lead)
- 723 MW of new wind power being produced in 2011 (a great figure, though a 40% decrease from 2011)
- world’s largest offshore wind farm is off of the coast of Cumbria with a capacity of 367MW
Having officially opened in February of 2012, the wind farm is expected to generate 1,300 GW·h/year with a load factor of around 40-43%.
The Future of Wind Turbines and Wildlife
With this in mind, the RSPB claims (quite rightly) that with the forever expansion of wind farms and need for renewable energy, more needs to be done to ensure the natural environment that the wind turbines are trying to protect.
As the issue presented to wildlife is a worldwide issue, scientists in Mojave, California are considering installing bird early warning systems to wind turbines in the area.
One of the proposed solutions is a De Tect avian radar unit that detects the flights and paths of birds.
Costing roughly $500,000 per unit the system has already been put into place by other states and countries including Texas and Spain.
According to De Tect, the Merlin detect and deter bird control radar system is the most advanced and proven radar system in place and was even awarded a Responsible Canadian Energy Award.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) noted that the Merlin system was over 97.5% effective in deterring birds from approaching the oil-contaminated ponds and found a 0% bird mortality rate in 2010 and 2011.
Although the ratings themselves should be taken with upmost gratitude, any petroleum institution giving away energy awards should be met with considerable suspicion and unease (especially considering that although CAPP is working to deter wildlife from these oil smitten ponds, they are doing nothing about the ponds, or indeed the oil, themselves).
As the avian radar systems are considerably expensive, another way of helping the birds is by introducing a tagging system to produce a live data stream of altitude and speed of birds that are in danger of extinction.
Should this concern worry homeowners?
Generally, the answer is no.
As the wind turbines install upon the homes are relatively small, it is very unlikely that they pose significant danger to birds or the habitat in which they live.
Of course, some people prefer to have larger turbines, such as the Ploughcroft 10kw wind turbine, which is large enough to be based in a field.
They still however, are not large enough to pose any significant threat to wildlife as the vast majority of concern lies in the large wind farms which dominate the countryside and shores around the United Kingdom.
For more information go to http://www.ploughcroft.co.uk/wind-turbines/