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Posts Tagged ‘barotrauma’

Employing wind to generate power doesn’t work (see previous post). It also isn’t “green”, causing harm to the environment and wildlife. Here from the June 2010 issue of Canadian Geographic, a report on the work of Dr Robert Barclay.

GONE WITH THE WIND

Bats are among Canada’s most mysterious animals. They’re small and fast and usually fly at night. But University of Calgary professor Robert Barclay has gained some insight into both bat migration and the impact of wind turbines on a pair of underappreciated species.

Barclay, who has been studying bats since 1976, began researching migration routes and wind turbine fatalities in 2006. Specifically, he wanted to find out whether bats follow random or deliberate paths and whether the location and height of turbines affect death rates.

By acoustically monitoring the unique echolocation calls of two species common across Canada—hoary and silver-haired bats—Barclay determined that bats select migration routes based on land features, such as the availability of trees in which to roost during the day He also concluded that taller towers kill more bats, although not solely because the small mammals are hit by the rotating blades. About half of the bats in his study died after flying into pockets of low air pressure near the blades, which caused barotrauma—their lungs overexpanded, which led to internal hemorrhaging, says Barclay, who likens the condition to “the bends” that a diver experiences when surfacing too quickly.

Barclay hopes these findings can be used to help guide where and how wind farms are built so that bat fatalities can be minimized. Bats are an essential part of our environment, he stresses, and are the main consumer of insects that fly at night, such as mosquitoes and insects that damage crops. “Eliminating these bats,” he says, “would change the entire ecology of the area.”

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Key points for North Gower:

1. taller towers, i.e., in the 600-foot range the corporate wind developer is proposing (because there is no wind in North Gower/Richmond/Beckwith) cause more bat kills

2. killing the bats will affect the whole environment here and can result in an increase in insects that can damage crops

3. In 6 months at Wolfe Island, more than 1200 bats were killed.

Also, we learned from a landowner that the corporate wind developer planned to spend ONE NIGHT in one of the proposed turbine areas in North Gower studying bat migration patterns. One night.

To contact us, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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