What Are The Negative Effects Of Wind Turbines

What Are The Negative Effects Of Wind Turbines – Kayla Fratt began preparing for her summer job in March, when a package of frozen bat carcasses arrived in the mail. Well, actually, the bats were for his frontier miners, Barley and Niffler, and it’s actually their summer job too. They needed to learn the smell of dead bats, because they would spend three months on wind farms looking for bats killed by spinning turbines.

In order to teach them, Fratt, who worked as a dog trainer before going into the bat detection business, started by hiding the carcasses around her living room (in Tupperware, so their smell wouldn’t linger on the furniture) . Soon, the dogs graduated to hunting for dead bats in the yard, then in parks. Fratt started carrying bat carcasses around when he left the house with Barley or Niffler, in case they had free time to practice in a new location. All three of them reported for duty at a wind farm in the midwest earlier this month. When we spoke last week, Fratt told me that their orientation starts the next day. Then, he said, “we were on the ground running.”

What Are The Negative Effects Of Wind Turbines

What Are The Negative Effects Of Wind Turbines

Haidd and Niffler are just two of the many conservation detection dogs now employed by the growing wind industry. As turbines proliferate across the country, understanding their impact on wildlife is more important than ever. In the early days of turbines, scientists focused on the danger they posed to eagles and other birds of prey – but it seems those large bird carcasses were the easiest for people to spot.

We Need To Build A Lot Of Wind Turbines. Will Americans Agree To Live Near Them?

“The truth was, people are terrible at finding bats and little birds,” said K. Shawn Smallwood, a biologist who has worked on wind farms in California. Smallwood told me he was initially skeptical of using dogs to monitor turbine deaths, but the data simply blew him away. In one study he conducted, dogs found 96 percent of dead bats, while humans found only 6 percent. The canine searchers managed to find small bats as small as one gram. Other dog handlers sent me pictures of bats – or actually parts of bats – that their dogs had managed to sniff out: a piece of wing, a jawbone the size of a dime. Biologists have long worked with scent-detecting dogs to track animals including turtles, black-footed ferrets, and grizzly bears. Wind farms now provide consistent and more predictable work for the dogs and their handlers.

On wind farms, a patchwork of federal, state and local regulations may govern how companies must monitor wildlife deaths, but reporting requirements vary widely. This means that reliable data on mortality is difficult to find. Estimates suggest that turbines in North America kill 600,000 to 949,000 bats and 140,000 to 679,000 birds per year. Dogs are by far the fastest and most effective way to find them.

The best dogs for this job are misfits from the pet world. They have to be completely obsessed with playing – to a point that most people would find exhausting. “All the dogs we have in our program, they’re either rescues… or they’re owner surrenders, where they just say they’re out of options and even a shelter won’t take them,” said Heath Smith, director of Rogue Detection Teams, a conservation-detection-dog company. The dogs have too much energy and an “insatiable urge to play fetch,” which is not great for a family pet but very useful for motivating a dog to find birds or bats so they can get their favorite toy as a reward . (Barley, says Fratt, was a “pain in the butt” when he was younger. The work gives him all that energy.) Some dogs love their ball, others like a rope or a spiky toy; one of Smith’s dogs has taken her to an empty food bowl which she likes to scoot around.

However, searching under wind turbines can be physically demanding work. A typical day includes 10 miles of walking, says Sarah Jackson, who works with Rogue Detection Teams on a wind farm in Palm Springs, California, where it has gotten so hot that she is now searching in the middle of the night. Jackson and the three dogs he works with – Lady, Ptero, and Indy – scan two wind turbines a night, walking back and forth over an area the size of several football fields. (The dogs are allowed to switch off every hour. She is not.) Others told me to work in the rain and mud. Still, when I spoke with Jackson at 6 a.m. after a long night of searching, she sounded extremely encouraging. Her hours are odd, and the work is tiring, but she gets to be around dogs who are so happy to be on the job. “Imagine you have three colleagues in your car and everyone is having a party,” he said. That’s what it’s like to drive to work every day.

Stripy Wind Turbines Could Prevent Fatal Seabird Collisions

The dogs make the search more interesting for people too. Before she started working with dogs, Wynter Skye Standish, who is currently working on another wind farm in California, had been a human researcher monitoring wildlife on wind farms. That work is monotonous; it’s easy to zone out. Now she is consistent with her dog – the wag of her tail, the angle of her nose. This partnership takes advantage of the strengths of both species: the dogs’ incredible sense of smell, their keen awareness of human social cues, and our keen awareness of theirs. Standish doesn’t think of herself as a handler with an obedient dog; they are equal on a team.

The people who work with dogs on wind farms tend to be fond of all animals, so discovering a dead bird or bat is bittersweet. The dogs are delighted, anticipating a reward for a job well done. On days when there are no dead animals, people may feel relief for the birds and bats, but the dogs can get very frustrated, says Amanda Janicki, who has worked on Iowa wind farms with her dog, Caffrey . Janicki marvels at his ability to smell the smallest, most hidden bat bones. But she also laments their meaning: The turbines have killed another bat.

The specific problem of bat deaths in wind turbines first came to the attention of biologists in 2003, when 2,000 bats died on a wind farm in West Virginia. Most bat deaths occur during fall migration, and are concentrated among three species: eastern red bats, silver-haired bats, and gray bats. All of these bats roost in trees, and they seem to be attracted to wind turbines, possibly because the structures look like “the biggest, tallest trees in the landscape,” says Erin Baerwald, a bat scientist at the University of Northern British Columbia.

What Are The Negative Effects Of Wind Turbines

Scientists have since found that idle turbines under certain conditions – at night, during the bats’ fall migration, and when wind speeds are below 6.5 meters per second (about 14.5 mph) – can curb bat deaths in sudden; a promising set of studies also suggests that ultrasonic white noise can keep bats away. But idling the turbines means producing less energy and less revenue; installing audio equipment costs money too. In 2015, the wind industry approved, to much fanfare, voluntary guidelines for idling turbines when wind speeds are below a certain cutoff, usually around three meters per second. But Baerwald says this cut is too low; besides, it is completely voluntary. Government authorities often do not have the power to force wind farms to spend money to prevent bat deaths, especially as the three species most often killed are not currently endangered.

Wind Energy Takes A Toll On Birds, But Now There’s Help

Wind energy, of course, has obvious advantages. It is essential to the US’s continued shift to renewable energy, and the resulting reduction in carbon emissions will benefit every creature on the planet, including untold billions of bats. But it is the particular bats that happen to fly through particular wind farms that bear the cost of this energy transformation. “It comes down to this existential question: How much is a bat worth?” Baerwald says. And how much money will wind companies give up to save a few hundred thousand bats a year?

When the bat sniffer dogs wander around turbines, they wander straight into this tangle of questions. In some cases, wind farms — or their regulators — have decided that calculating the loss of life among these wild animals is at least worth the cost of hiring a dog team, which is more expensive than humans alone. The dogs are more thorough, and although they don’t save any bats directly, they give us the most comprehensive picture yet of the problem. Even if they are just to play. Too much wind energy can warm the environment more than oil or coal – at least in the short term. Harvard research suggests that careful planning is necessary

Although many consider wind power to be the most reliable form of alternative, clean energy, researchers at Harvard warn that “too much wind power” could warm the environment more than the coal and fossil fuel power it replaced – in at least in the short term. . When spinning, wind energy produces more heat than other sources of energy production through disruption of the air flow; although for a long time

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