Study shows wind turbines killed 600,000 bats last year

Bats-graphic[1]

I wonder how many bats coal and nuclear power plants killed last year?

From the University of Colorado Denver

Bats pollinate crops, control insects

DENVER (Nov. 15, 2013) – More than 600,000 bats were killed by wind energy turbines in 2012, a serious blow to creatures who pollinate crops and help control flying insects, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Denver.

“The development and expansion of wind energy facilities is a key threat to bat populations in North America,” said study author Mark Hayes, PhD, research associate in integrated biology at CU Denver. “Dead bats are being found underneath wind turbines across North America. The estimate of bat fatalities is probably conservative.”

The study, which analyzed data on the number of dead bats found at wind turbine sites, will be published next week in the journal BioScience.

Hayes said areas near the Appalachian Mountains like Buffalo, Tennessee and Mountaineer, West Virginia had the highest bat fatality rates. Little information is available on bat deaths at wind turbine facilities in the Rocky Mountain West or the Sierra Nevadas.

The bats are killed when they fly into the towering turbines which spin at up to 179 mph with blades that can stretch 130 feet. Earlier estimates of bat deaths ranged from 33,000 to 880,000.

Hayes said his estimates are likely conservative for two reasons. First, when a range of fatality estimates were reported at a wind facility, he chose the minimum estimate. Secondly, the number of deaths was estimated for just migratory periods, not the entire year, likely leaving out many other fatalities.

“The number could be as high as 900,000 dead,” he said.

There are 45 known bat species in the contiguous U.S., many of which have important economic impacts. Not only do they control flying insects like mosquitoes, they also pollinate commercial crops, flowers and various cacti.

Those suffering the most fatalities are the hoary bat, eastern bat and the silver-haired bat.

Hayes said there ways to mitigate the killings. One is to have the turbines activated to spin at higher wind speeds when bats don’t tend to fly.

“A lot of bats are killed because the turbines move at low wind speeds, which is when most bats fly around,” said Hayes, who has studied bats for 15 years. “In a recent study in Pennsylvania, researchers adjusted the operating speeds from 10 mph to 18 or 20 mph and decreased fatalities by 40 to 90 percent.”

Hayes said with the expansion of wind energy in the future, more bats will likely die.

“I am not against wind energy. It’s clean, it reduces pollution and it creates jobs. But there are negative impacts,” he said. “Still, I think this is a problem we can solve.”

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That helps to explain the drop in vampire sightings in recent years.

Latitude

…..and solar panels are killing birds
and ethanol is killing the environment

CLR II

That’s how global warming could be related to Malaria expansion.

Dave Wendt

“A lot of bats are killed because the turbines move at low wind speeds, which is when most bats fly around,” said Hayes, who has studied bats for 15 years. “In a recent study in Pennsylvania, researchers adjusted the operating speeds from 10 mph to 18 or 20 mph and decreased fatalities by 40 to 90 percent.”
The production ratios for these boondoggles are already incredibly dismal, doubling the kickin point would pretty much eliminate any possibility of them providing useful levels of output. Luckily “Green” projects are completely exempt from the type of restrictions that limits projects that don’t have “planet saving” credentials.

pat

But the Moonbats still thrive.

Great Greyhounds

Look for the Department of Energy to mandate screens for all wind turbines by the end of next year… That will most certainly improve the efficiency of said wind turbines, and the plus will be that people will have to be hired to clean the debris stuck to the screens.

usurbrain

And how many other insects needed by agriculture will start dying off (like the bees) and how many unwanted insects will increase as a consequence of fewer bats?
Oh, I forgot, they can blame it on “Global Warming!”

Gary Pearse

Yeah, yeah, let’s not kill the bats, but lets also do science while we reporting on it.
“turbines which spin at up to 179 mph”
Gracious me, perhaps rpm? If you mean mph, note that the blade translation is from zero at the hub axis, increasing outwards to the tips of the blades. Sheesh. I think the chance of the bat contacting the tip of the blade is: let’s see, bat is 6″ long, blade is 130*12= 1560″, oh about 1:260. That’s the first approximation. I think the chances are an order of magnitude or more less than this. First, a bat getting clunked at 10mph would probably kill or maime (basically death anyway) and, the closer you get to the hub the more metal in your path. Probably at a distance along the blade where the bat has about a foot or so of open space that he thinks he can get through would kill a fair percentage; by the time the blade comes into his radar, he has little chance to manoeuver and if he does try, he could easily fly into another blade.

TonG(ologist)

Wind energy creates jobs? All it does is shift jobs from one sector to another. I am sick of this specious ‘green jobs’ canard.

I read an article weeks ago that claimed a drastic reduction in the few Whooping Cranes still
with us and wind turbines were the main suspects.
I also find that wind turbines have an enormous geographical footprint. The approximately 2800 2MW wind turbines required to match the output of a single 1500MW nuclear reactor requires on the order of close to 300,000 acres of land, and costs almost three times as much as a reactor ($5 billion these days, fixed price contract) to build.Current Generation 3 reactors have a guaranteed 60 year lifespan, many years greater than a wind turbine. Wind turbines also must pay landowners royalties and turbines are not particularly robust machines – reportedly half of all turbines are far behind in schedued maintenance. Side effect costs of using an uncontrollable
power source like wind turbines are very significant. Turbines have zero ability to replace existing conventional (fossil fueled) power plants, which must be funded to back up turbines. California is building pumped storage facilities in the mountains to store wind power but the storage loses 30% of the power and the facilities cost billions to build and have a capacity for a mere dozen hours of output. Wind turbines ruin the visual beauty of the environment and limit how the land they
occupy can be used. Recently the court ordered several turbines torn down that had ruined
the living environment of a nearby residential community.
Wind turbines make zero sense, no matter how they are viewed.

But windmills are such great monuments to political ego. Let’s just fix their blades permanently so they don’t do any practical harm. We might even sell advertising to Mercedes-Benz if we agree to have one blade (of three) pointing upwards. This would also reassure the WaBenzi of the developed world of our continuing loyalty.

pat

If bats were polar bears they would be declared a pest and expendable by the EPA.

Jquip

AGW headline: “Study shows anthropogenic fingerprint in climate change increases risks of malaria.”

The greenies simply say that without wind power the AGW-driven changes in habitat will kill millions more. No proof of course, but I guess it salves their consciences.

thisisnotgoodtogo

Is this for the US only ?

Taphonomic

“I am not against wind energy. It’s clean, it reduces pollution and it creates jobs. But there are negative impacts,”
Not necessarily. When you take into account pollution from the mining of rare earth elements (REEs) used in making the magnets for the turbines (and also electric cars), it’s not really clean and causes pollution. But that pollution occurs in China where most REEs are mined so I guess it doesn’t count. Wait until the REEs need disposal. Don’t toss that cellphone with its REEs!
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/07/china-rare-earth-village-pollution
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/r/rare_earths/

Eustace Cranch

Ethanol & wind power: ecological catastrophes.
Irony meters at highest risk.

Dodgy Geezer

Don’t knock it. It shows that wind turbines are good at something.
Actually, if I wanted to kill large numbers of bats and birds, putting up a vast expanse of circling blades in areas away from people where there was a steady stream of wind carrying migrating animals and insects is almost the ideal way to do it. It might put shotgun manufacturers out of business.
And you can sell the corpses to game restaurants…

EternalOptimist

Robin – ‘Lets go Batman, Gotham city needs us’
Batman – ‘Not tonight Robin. Its getting too dangerous out there. Greens’
Robin – ‘You are afraid of the Green Hornet ???’
Commisioner Gordon -‘No Robin. Drat those Drama Greens with their Whirly gigs’
Robin – ‘Holy turbine! Where’s the hope of the world now?’

Rastech

Latitude: “and ethanol is killing the environment”
I am now going to drink a lot more, and drink it faster!
It’s for the ‘environment’ and ‘the children’, you see.
Can I get an environmental subsidy and grant for doing it?

Dr. Bob

And when I talked to Greenpeace recruiters on the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver, they all violently denied that ANY birds were killed by wind power plants. The faulty thinking of the environmental community is staggering.

AJ

So how does this compare to the number that cats kill?

DC Cowboy

I think the correct question to ask is, “What would be the reaction if the study showed that coal fired power plants were killing 600,000 bats, a couple of thousand Eagles, and millions of other birds annually?” You think that Gore, Mann, et al and the press would be screaming to close all coal fired power plants NOW? My guess is this study will be ignored by the press and Green Peace, and the WWF.
It’s the same thing as the flourescent bulbs currently being forced down peoples throats because of evil incandescents. Each bulb has 5-8 milligrams of elemental Mercury inside. Can you imagine what the administration, the EPA, and other groups would be screaming if incandescents contained that? Yet, they seem perfectly happy to introduce a major cancer causing agent into eveyone’s homes so we can ‘save the planet’.

AJ says:
November 15, 2013 at 9:01 am
———————————————–
Cats don’t kill bats, just rats.

Bad Apple

“Silent Green”

CRS, DrPH

Not much good news out there for fans of bats!

The dangers of wind turbines only add to the increasing vulnerability of U.S. bat populations. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, bat populations have declined worldwide over the past few decades. Bats have a very low reproductive rate – females give birth to only one pup per year — and the mortality rate for young bats is high. This makes bats especially vulnerable to small changes in the environment.
, a certain fungus has killed around 6 million American bats since the fungus first debuted seven years ago in New York. Known as white-nose syndrome, the disease now infects bats in 22 U.S. states, according to The Huffington Post.

I’m sure that white-nose fungus is due to a drastically warming climate….

Berthold Klein

There is absolutely no need for wind turbines. They will not help stop a problem that does not exist. The greenhouse gas effect has been proven by experiment and study of the physics and thermodynamics to not exist. Therefore their only value is to cause higher energy prices and destroy large part of our natural flying population = this is what the environmental vampires really want . They are total hypocrites.
It’s time to arrest the crocks at the UN and many others that support the Hoax of Mann-made global warming and send them to jail.

In case anyone missed Mark Jacobson’s performance on David Letterman last month, extolling the virtues of “wind, water, solar,” it is here.
Of special note: Jacobson explaining the plans that his team at Stanford have come up with to make New York state 100-percent renewable powered. This will, Jacobson explained, require 15,000 turbines, 12,700 of them off Long Island. Mark’s an old school chum, whom I correspond with from our different sides of the climate fence from time to time. I asked him if he’d consulted with anyone in the maritime trades, or any recreational fishermen, or any biologists about the impact that almost 13,000 turbines just off Long Island might have. His answer: No.
Mark said that he and his team did, though, see a need to effectively rule the entire in-shore New York waters through what he called “exclusion zones.” The arrogance of some greens is unfathomable.
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that no group of impacted animals will understand these zones up to the moment that they lose great numbers to the turbines (which Mark pronounces “turbans,” perhaps believing that they have genie-like powers).
This is just a tiny piece of a “50-state plan” under development at Stanford.
By the way, I asked Mark as well whether he could envision Stanford itself becoming an exemplar of sustainability to the 100-percent level with wind and solar, owning as it does thousands of acres of foothills running up to Skyline Boulevard in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Stanford campus. His answer was that Stanford was not well-situated to harvest wind.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Gary Pearse says:
November 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

… Sheesh. I think the chance of the bat contacting the tip of the blade is: let’s see, bat is 6″ long, blade is 130*12= 1560″, oh about 1:260. That’s the first approximation. I think the chances are an order of magnitude or more less than this.

It helps to read the text in the graphic pasted at the top of the article (“Why Wind Turbines Endanger Bats”). Most actually die from lung hemorrhaging due to the sudden encounter of much lower pressure air near the blades. The effect is the same as a SCUBA diver holding his breath on ascent — the pressure differential ruptures alveoli in the lungs.

… only half of the dead bats had been hit by blades, and they may have been hit after they hemorrhaged.

Jimmy Haigh.

Throw a pile of 600000 ‘dead’ plastic bats on the lawn in front of the white house.

Richard Day

I hear a lot of crickets from the clowns at greenpeace. That’s because there aren’t any bats to eat them.

Betapug

Wind turbines kill bats by exploding their lungs. Pressure waves propagated by rotating blades kill well beyond the swept area. Not a new discovery, it has been known for years. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14593-wind-turbines-make-bat-lungs-explode.html#.UoZW9dIWJQI

Gareth Phillips

This is an interesting study: An Emerging Disease Causes Regional
Population Collapse of a Common North American Bat Species. Graphs show some pretty catastrophic declines as a result of the disease. http://people.ucsc.edu/~wfrick/wfrick/Publications_files/Frick%20etal%20Science%206aug10.pdf

Dead bats due to hemorrhaging lungs near turbines has long been a recognized problem. Here is an article from the University of Calgary from 2008 which falls right in line with this “new” study. The UofC study explains the “why” of the hemorrhaging as well.
http://www.ucalgary.ca/news/aug2008/batdeaths

Dave in Canmore

“The estimate of bat fatalities is probably conservative.”
Soooooo, your study is wrong? What am I supposed to take away from these two conflicting messages?
I see this kind of language in many CAGW papers as well. The study methodology has an error associated with it. Either tell me what the actual associated error is or quit speculating. It undermines the quality of the work.

Jimmy Haigh.

Of course natural selection may lead to the evolution of entirely new species of barrel-chested bats…

Bats are good because they kill the number one animal killer of humans on Earth– the mosquito.
Marcel

silver ralph

Someone should tell Greenpeace and the WWF, as they will mount an aggressive media campaign as soon as they hear of this terrible news.
Oh, wait a minute………
R

highflight56433

http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/ve/2429/globe_west_2048.jpg
I don’t see any bats, or wind energy generation….or anything else that looks like someone is doing something to the planet. 🙂

Gareth Phillips

This is also a readable study with some useful, if puzzling graphs, Bat mortality from wind turbines varies from State to State, even when variables are factored in, and are worse in adult males than females or young. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/wind/pdfs/birds_and_bats_fact_sheet.pdf

“I am not against wind energy. It’s clean, it reduces pollution and it creates jobs.
Yup, they sure do. Like all the mining for rare earths in Asia. Like all the manufacturing which is mostly done in…Asia. Then there’s the companies that shutter their plants in part due to higher power costs and move them to…Asia.

mpainter

“I am not against wind energy. It’s clean, it reduces pollution and it creates jobs. But there are negative impacts,” he said
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
One of the negative impacts is on your investment- you lose your ass. Boone Pickens: “I lost my ass on wind power”

Level 7 Denialist says, “Most actually die from lung hemorrhaging due to the sudden encounter of much lower pressure air near the blades.”
i.e., the bats get sucked into the evil vortex.
It’s official. Windmills suck, but bats get no succor.

milodonharlani

Gary Pearse says:
November 15, 2013 at 8:24 am
The articles says bats can avoid the blades, but are killed by air pressure differential at the tips.

The more I read articles like this (and the accompanying comments), the more I am drawn to the conclusion that far too many on the Green Left have become incapable of reasoning and thinking in a rational manner using facts, logic and science when it comes the issues of energy, climate and the environment. They are so brainwashed and driven by hate, mistrust, unsupportable propaganda and falsifiable beliefs that they become disconnected from the truth and from the reality of what is happening out there. And thinking about the degree of political clout they have in Washington and in the state capitals around the country really makes me cringe with disgust.
It is simply not rational to push wind and solar energy on one hand and be both anti-fossil fuels and anti-nuclear on the other. Halting the extraction of fossil fuels from the earth and shutting down our nuclear power plants would collapse the economies of the world and cause societies to descend into total chaos. I fear for where we will end up some day if these idiots continue to push their agendas with any significant degree of success.
I pray that the 2016 elections in the U.S. with put someone in the White House who puts the nation’s wildlife first and does away with these idiotic wind turbines, ethanol mandates and the burning of wood chips in power plants that puts pressure on our woodlands. Failure to do so only serves to continue the hypocrisy that stains the hands of those who claim to be green.
The only rational and logical (with all due respect to Leonard Nimoy) way to go if we are to move away from fossil fuels for electricity generation is nuclear. And the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor is the best nuclear path to take.
Our avian wildlife (especially the American Bald Eagle and its cousin, the Golden Eagle) deserve better that this from us humans. Kill wind turbines, not avian wildlife.

Gary Pearse says:
November 15, 2013 at 8:24 am
Yeah, yeah, let’s not kill the bats, but lets also do science while we reporting on it.
“turbines which spin at up to 179 mph”
_______________________________________________________________________
If he was talking about tip speed, then a 130′ blade traveling just over 19 rpm would have a speed of 179 mph, if the back of my envelope is correct.

Gunga Din

Bob Tisdale says:
November 15, 2013 at 8:13 am
That helps to explain the drop in vampire sightings in recent years.

=======================================================================
Could be.
If they built them lower to ground maybe they can help with all the zombies.

Potter Eaton

Ya know, that pisses me off.
I not far from Altamont and for a couple of years drove past it every few days. What those turbines did to hawks, eagles, and ospreys was brutal. This is just as bad.

tadchem

A secondary concern is that scavenging animals that feed off bat cadavers (skunks, foxes, dogs, cats, raccoons, etc.) can easily contract rabies.