Wind Industry Plans Serious Changes to Protect Bats

Migratory bats, for some reason, have a lethal attraction to wind turbines. Now, they may get help via “feathering.”

New industry guidelines, to be announced Thursday, aim to save tens of thousands of bats each year by idling turbines at low wind speeds during peak bat migration season. They could reduce by a third the number of bats killed at wind farms.

Seventeen members of the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, have agreed voluntarily to begin idling, or feathering, turbines in the next year or two. Together, the companies produce nearly 90 percent of the wind power generated in the United States.

“It’s a big deal. That’s a big move on their part,” says U.S. Geological Survey bat biologist Paul Cryan. “It’s really encouraging to hear the industry is taking steps to curtail turbines, which is the best way we know of to reduce bat fatalities.”

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