September 21 - September 25, 2020

A recent study has found that bird death from collisions with turbine blades dropped by 71.9% when one of the blades is painted black. Do you think that this technique will become popular?

Answers Votes
Yes 60%
No 27%
Other (please explain in the comments section) 13%

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Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Application; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Safety

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (9/21/2020, 8:32 AM)

It's a small study which will need to be repeated, preferably in several areas and preferably trialing multiple different colors and patterns. While I see something along these lines as likely, I'm not committing to the single black blade method being the best. Fortunately bird deaths are way down per MWh produced due to a variety of factors: The original Altamont Pass from 40 years ago is an example of an old style of wind farm which fortunately is largely replaced with modern turbines. The original Altamont installs were relatively small, 100kW at most (0.1MW) per turbine while modern installs are typically in the 2-3MW range onshore and 6+MW offshore - again, per turbine. Larger towers not only mean far fewer (Altamont pass repowering removed more than 20 old turbines per new turbine) - the RPM is far lower, making it easier for birds to see. The old towers were lattice, which encouraged roosting while modern towers are monopole which don't. Larger towers also mean higher towers, which often means above the general altitude for more birds. Site selection and tower positioning has also improved. Higher capacity factor helps as well, as the same "nameplate" capacity will give considerably more electricity over the course of the year when considering old vs new installs. Yes, there are a lot of wind turbines in Texas, and I've spent plenty of time driving through and on projects near wind farms.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (9/22/2020, 11:40 AM)

I'm with you, Tom. It is a promising start. Hopefully if it bears out as it could be one more factor in reducing the number of avian fatalities as we transition to more and more energy sources that are not oil or gas related.

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