Wind power

Wind power and birds

The energy and environmental management authorities, as well as the energy industry, have stressed the need for additional knowledge about environmental impacts of wind power generation, and how birds are affected, both with respect to direct mortality and with respect to behaviour. CEDREN has addressed these questions through one extensive project – BirdWind (Pre- and post-construction studies of conflicts between birds and wind turbines in coastal Norway; 2007-2010).

BirdWind made a thorough documentation of the number of birds being killed in connection to the Smøla wind power plant, using trained dogs during weekly searches. Documentation of collision victims help identify species-specific factors triggering high collision risk, possible causes of death and estimating species-specific collision rates.

The project was finalized with an international conference in 2011 synthesizing the current knowledge base on wind energy and wildlife. The main project objective was twofold: (1) study species-, site- and season-specific bird mortality due to wind turbines, and (2) develop methodologies and technical tools for data collection and mitigating measures. The obtained knowledge base may improve the design of future wind-power plants both during the pre- and post-construction phase.

The project INTACT (Innovative Mitigation Tools for Avian Conflicts with wind Turbines), although not being part of the CEDREN project portfolio, is a follow up of BirdWind, and several researchers participating in BirdWind is working with INTACT. The primary objective for this R&D project is to develop measures and procedures to reduce the risk of bird – wind turbine collisions. INTACT is a tight collaboration between the research community, industry and the energy authorities. Energy Norway, the umbrella organization for power companies in Norway, administrates the project. Statkraft acts as project coordinator, while NINA is R&D executive.

WindNet is a pilot project funded by internal CEDREN resources focusing environmental topics related to both wind power and power lines. An important goal is to identify key topics that should be addressed in future research projects.

Photo: Espen Lie Dahl / NINA.