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How to Build a Wind Farm

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Assess the Risk to Wildlife
While hunting their dinners, insect-eating bats face danger from wind turbines.

While hunting for its dinner, this insect-eating bat could be killed by changes in atmospheric pressure caused by spinning blades.

Photo (c) Rich Sturges, courtesy Bat World.

Spinning blades on wind turbines kill endangered birds, bats, raptors, and waterfowl, so it’s best to position turbines away from busy wildlife corridors and annual migratory paths.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends using a tiered approach that includes a preliminary assessment, site characterization, and field studies to predict the species and habitats that would be harmed by the wind farm.

As the site developer, you’ll need to work closely with the appropriate government agency (or permitting authority) to reduce and mitigate deaths of animals due to the wind farm.

In some cases, you may be allowed to build the wind farm if you alter its operation to be more wildlife-friendly. For example, you could be required to temporarily stop turbines during migration season and during periods of low wind when bats are most active and power yield is minimal. Also, color of the wind turbines can influence kill rates.

If you plan an offshore wind farm, you'll need to consider how placement of the turbines may affect fish and marine life that live in the water nearby.

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