bird radar

USING RADAR TO CONTROL WIND TURBINES AND REDUCE BIRD KILLS: DOES IT WORK?



By Serena Scaglione and Miriam Raftery

April 22, 2012 (Ocotillo)-One of the major criticisms of wind energy facilities is the deadly impact of the fast-whirling blades on birds.  Most notoriously, thousands of golden eagles have been killed at the Altamont wind farm; however significant numbers of bird deaths have occurred at many other wind facilities.

Now, wind farm developers are touting radar systems similar to those used by the U.S. Air Force and NASA.  In aviation, the technology detects large flocks of incoming birds and is sold to avoid bird collisions with aircraft.  At wind facilities, avian radar in theory offers the potential reduce bird kills by shutting off turbines before birds reach the blades. 

Just how effective these systems are at wind facilities, however, remains debatable.