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Wind farms could be killing 80,000 bats a year, new study finds

November 8, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Phillip Bratby/Stewgreen




From the Telegraph:


Wind farms are probably killing tens of thousands of bats a year, even where risk assessments have been carried out to prevent the deaths, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of Exeter used sniffer dogs to locate the bodies of stricken bats near turbines to find out the scale of the problem.

A survey of 29 wind farms showed that 194 bats a month were killed, although the figure is likely to be higher because many of the dead creatures would have fallen prey to scavengers.

If the figure was extrapolated to all of Britain’s onshore wind farms it could mean that around 80,000 bats are being killed each year by turbines. The research also showed that the risk of bat death increased by 18 per cent for each extra metre of blade length. Some individual turbines were found to kill around five bats a month.

Dr Fiona Matthews, of Exeter University, who led the research, which was partly funded by the government, said operators should be encouraged to switch turbines off during peak migration and breeding seasons, such as summer nights.

The scientists think that bats may turn off their sonar when high up because they don’t expect anything to be blocking their path. They may also be attracted to insects which gather round the blades so an area that seemed clear in a pre-construction risk assessment could end up having any bats.

“An open field might not be very interesting, whereas once new structures are built the bats may investigate it or feed around it,” said Dr Matthews.

“It may be possible bats actually alter their behaviour once the turbines are built.

“Bats have been around for at least 30 million years and during that time have been able to fly happily without the risk of colliding with a spinning object.

“There are effective ways of preventing bat deaths. Unfortunately we have found that assessments conducted when wind farms are being planned are very poor at identifying whether a site is likely to be risky.”

The main casualties of wind turbines were two common species of bats: the Common Pipstrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle, tiny bats with reddish-brown coats and blackish-brown ears. 

Bodies of the Noctule, one of the larger European bat species which sometimes come out before sunset to feed on moths, beetles and other large flying insects, were also found around turbines.

A dead Nathusius’s Pipistrelle, which has recently been found to be migratory, was also found, raising concerns about whether onshore and off-shore wind farms could pose a threat to their navigation route.

First author on the Current Biology paper, Dr Paul Lintott, said that although wind farms do kill bats it is important to remember the wider benefits of renewable energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the positive impact that this will have on global biodiversity.

Dr Lintott said: “By focusing resources on stopping turbines during high risk periods we should be able to minimise the collision risk to local bat populations whilst also benefiting globally from the transition to a greener economy.”

The research, which was published in the journal Current Biology, was part funded by the Department for the Environment, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    November 8, 2016 1:57 pm

    What are the chances of more wind farms being built onshore in the UK?
    All bats are off.

  2. November 8, 2016 1:59 pm

    So we kill our wildlife for the sake of green energy. Nothing new there, then.

  3. November 8, 2016 2:00 pm

    They are killing bats in West Virginia by bursting their lungs with pressure changes caused by the blades. The environmentalists are silent. West Virginia bats have been hit hard by the white nose fungus. And we have a number of threatened species. Again, the environmentalists are crickets chirping.

  4. November 8, 2016 2:06 pm

    The wind industry does not care about the wildlife. RenewableUK says this about what it will do to protect bats “It is also important to understand that turbines would not be turned off”. Money is more important to the wind industry than is preventing the killing of a protected species.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      November 10, 2016 1:27 pm

      “in order to save the environment, we had to destroy it”

  5. November 8, 2016 2:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Quick fix – turn them off at night, if Mother Nature doesn’t flick that switch beforehand.

    No doubt, PETA, RSPCA, WWF are onto this anyway, or is that crickets I hear chirping?

  6. martinbrumby permalink
    November 8, 2016 2:14 pm

    And so far as the Greenies are concerned, even more important that money (except their own, of course), is destroying capitalism (as Ms Figueres has confessed.)
    Does even one of them give a shit about bats? Same team is more than happy to see millions of Asian kids go blind rather than eat golden rice.

  7. 1saveenergy permalink
    November 8, 2016 2:20 pm

    “the wider benefits of renewable energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the positive impact that this will have on global biodiversity.”

    So show me the figures that demonstrate a result this positive impact has made…..
    …ah, I note the word ‘will’ has crept in…so in fact, no positive impact has actually happened.

    The only positive impacts has been on the bats & birds…but not in a good way for them.

    On the other hand, global biodiversity has been improved by an increase in plant growth due to elevated levels of CO2.

  8. November 8, 2016 2:21 pm

    The list of things that the wind industry and its supporters are prepared to destroy is seemingly endless:
    1 Birds
    2 Bats
    3 Trees
    4 Peat land
    5 Archaeological sites
    6 Tranquillity
    7 Landscape
    8 Setting of listed buildings
    9 Peoples’ health
    10 Tourism
    11 Whales
    12 etc etc

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      November 8, 2016 2:27 pm

      But its all for the greater good (of investors)
      & think of the children (on 2nd thoughts don’t, you’ll be arrested).

  9. Rowland Pantling permalink
    November 8, 2016 2:24 pm

    Try getting rid of bats from your property and the Authorities come down on you like a ton of bricks! How come wind farms appear to be immune from prosecution? Will Sir David Attenborough come racing to the rescue of the bats and birds?

  10. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 8, 2016 2:38 pm

    Many years ago, tv naturalist David Bellamy was highlighting the number of bats killed by turbines. Instead of heeding his warnings, the greens rounded on him and branded him a crank. The blob won’t like being told that he was right all along.

  11. November 8, 2016 3:02 pm

    Dr Lintott said: “By focusing resources on stopping turbines during high risk periods” What resources? Oh right, more money to the turbine owners to shut them off during bat rush hour and school run time I suppose.

  12. Ross King permalink
    November 8, 2016 3:42 pm

    And are these externalities figured into the economics?
    I propose volunteer Wardens doing a forthingthly count downstream of windfarms, and the Operators being fined (on a sliding-scale of rareness) $’x’ per carcass, $1000 per eagle or osprey for starters.

    • Ross King permalink
      November 8, 2016 4:36 pm

      P.S. Aren’t bats supposed to be great natural pest-killers? Another externality unaccounted for?

  13. tom0mason permalink
    November 8, 2016 3:42 pm

    Holy terrible turbines Batman!
    What has the Joker done now?

    Its Windfarms Robin and it’s our doom!

  14. Ross King permalink
    November 8, 2016 3:55 pm

    In the 1980s, I was engaged for a short time assessing the proposed revision to the Alberta Surface Rights Act, which covered usage of ag. lands for pipelines, transmission-lines, etc (and — I suspect — subsequently updated to wind-farms).
    In the process of which, I got to talk to quite a few major ranchers, all of whom hated transmission lines in particular, and wanted much greater compensation (which is where I came in). And there were some very real tangible complaints: not only loss of ‘foot-print’, but also the maintenance track & left-open gates, straying stock, and loss of efficiency in hay-making and combine-harvesting.
    Just as a corollary, there were a few very isolated transmission-towers that got blown-over … aided and abetted by a proximate drum full of kerosene, partly replaced by hi-Ni fertilizer.
    All hushed from the media, of course, but there were some knowing grins among my correspondents!
    The point was made, compensations were ‘upped’, and ‘peace returned to the Foothills!

  15. Bitter&twisted permalink
    November 8, 2016 3:56 pm

    Windturbines kill bats- now who would have thought that?

    Never mind- we’ll turn them off/down at night and the suckers (you and I) will still pay for energy that “might have” been generated.


  16. November 8, 2016 4:06 pm

    The only question is whether to call them bird-mincers of bat-mincers.

  17. dennisambler permalink
    November 8, 2016 4:11 pm

    When it comes to development of any kind, lip service is paid to wildlife measures and the planners listen to those consultants who tell them what they want to hear.

    Destroying the environment to save it. But they are the environmentalists, not us……

    Slightly OT but relevant:

    “The Government has been accused of “another broken Tory promise on rail” after deferring part of the £2.8 billion project to electrify the Great Western line between London and South Wales.

    The scheme, which was due to be completed by 2018, has already been hit by delays and soaring costs. Network Rail estimated in 2013 that it would cost £874 million.

    In May, then-rail minister Claire Perry confirmed that all the new rolling stock ordered for the Great Western line will be bi-mode, meaning it can run on diesel as well as electric power.

    The 21 Class 801s were originally due to be entirely electric, but the change was made amid delays to the electrification project.

    They will be supported by 36 bi-mode Class 800s, due to begin operation from 2017-18.”

    More diesel back-up again!

    The rail tunnel under the Severn has recently been closed for line electrification.

  18. BLACK PEARL permalink
    November 8, 2016 6:15 pm

    Study also done some time ago in the states

    Quite a number
    Sent info to BBC environ reporter who found it “interesting”

    • Roy permalink
      November 8, 2016 6:46 pm

      Unfortunately not ‘interesting’ enough to put it on the science section of the BBC website. Imagine if this had been a negative study about fracking – it would be all over the news. Instead, the top story on the science page is ‘Five hottest years on record since 2011’ reporting that ‘the world’s temperature was 0.57C above the long term average, which they define as being between 1961 and 1990’ – how convenient to ignore the 1930s.

  19. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 8, 2016 7:00 pm

    Bats are very useful in agriculture for pest control but suffer an image problem (Dracula etc.). If only the story was one of wind farms killing cute cuddly polar bears.

    • Ross King permalink
      November 8, 2016 7:08 pm

      How about ‘Batting-for-Bats’ as a well-written Press-Release by someone influential for media circulation? I’m an engineer by training, so don’t ask me! Helllooooo….? Any ideas out there?

    • Ross King permalink
      November 8, 2016 7:16 pm

      Having addressed the +ve impact of bats on ag., now how about the +ve impacts of birds in the same context? ….. Back to the browser!

      • Ross King permalink
        November 8, 2016 7:23 pm

        Oh joy unplumbed!
        This is *great* material to foist the Greenos with their own petard!
        Maybe Audubon wd like to write-up a Press-Release on Externalities of Bird-Kill by Wind-Farms.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 9, 2016 1:24 am

        Ross.. please don’t use texting shortcuts. eg wd? = would?

        Some of us oldies don’t know what they mean 🙂

        Nice link , btw. 🙂

  20. November 8, 2016 7:27 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Prayer wheels demand a blood sacrifice

  21. Gerry, England permalink
    November 8, 2016 8:04 pm

    I suspect the numbers are way higher given how efficient the natural body recycling system is. I put a dead mouse out in the evening and it was gone by morning. Perhaps there are so many the scavengers couldn’t eat any more.

    The really bad bit of this is the reason that bats are protected in the first place. They are slow to reproduce so it will take decades to recover once the madness ends.

    • Ross King permalink
      November 8, 2016 8:36 pm

      WHAAAT! Bats are protected???? Gerry, so why are Wind-Farmers allowed to kill them with impunity?
      So, yet more hypocritic lack of consistency of the Greenos! Where’s their Intellectual Honesty? Where’s their even-handed thinking and ‘balancing-the-books’? Nowhere, ‘cos they threw their lot in with (and are paid-off by??) the Wind-Farm Industry and millions of dead bats get Conveniently forgotten.
      And what does Lord Stern have to say about this Inconvenient Truth? I challenge you, sir, to publish a rationale for rejecting unacceptable externalities in pursuit of your blatantly Green agenda. As an Emperor, you wear no clothes.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 8, 2016 10:19 pm

        “Where’s their Intellectual Honesty”


        neither word is applicable to Greenies.

      • Ross King permalink
        November 9, 2016 12:44 am

        Andy: I think we’re *agreeing* with each other. Your post comes across — *first* glance — as challenging me, not a ‘thumbs-up’
        Communications 101, might I suggest you focus in yr first sentence the essence of yr resp.
        Anyway, thanks (I think!) for the endorsement(?)

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 9, 2016 1:14 am

        Most certainly I was, Ross.

        It just puzzled me when I saw you use the words “Intellectual”, and “Honesty”, pertaining to anything to do with Greenies

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 9, 2016 1:18 am

        That didn’t work very well did it !!

        Try again

  22. November 8, 2016 9:08 pm

    Wikipedia has an interesting wind power metric: mortality per Gigawatt hour.

    One US estimate quotes 600,000 bat deaths in one year due to wind turbines, but Wikipedia reckons collisions with cars and buildings kill far more.

    • Ross King permalink
      November 8, 2016 9:45 pm

      Hmmmmmm …. I thought bats are *ace* at avoiding objects, most partic’ly (in this instance) stationary ones. So, to me, buildings — intuitively I disagree; cars “quite poss’ly” but then again they hunt moving objects (maybe not those doing 120 klicks!).
      Tks for yr response ….Will follow-up.
      (Maybe the Wind-Industry has doctored the Wiki-entries, as many other Alarmists have.)

      • BLACK PEARL permalink
        November 8, 2016 10:12 pm

        Have read that the deep sound resonance can disrupt the small delicate internal organs, plus, Quote “A lot of bats are killed because the turbines move at low wind speeds, which is when most bats fly around,”

    • AndyG55 permalink
      November 8, 2016 10:17 pm

      Has anyone ever seen a picture of a bat killed by flying into a building?

      EVIDENCE. !

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        November 8, 2016 10:23 pm

        Andy, you do ask difficult questions

      • Ross King permalink
        November 9, 2016 12:49 am

        Andy … that’s a good Q. Are there data on bat deaths caused by colliding with buildings?
        2 storeys hi? 5 ditto; 10, 20, 60,70?
        Trouble is, there are no grants for studying same ‘cos the scientific grant allocations ARE CROWDED-OUT BY ALARMIST GRANT-APPLICATIONS!
        Hmmmmm …. there’s ANOTHER TOPIC!

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 9, 2016 1:07 am

        Unless something happened to the bats echo-sounding equipment, I find it very difficult to see how a bat collision with building could actually happen.

        They find insects in the dark, I’m thinking they could dodge a building !! 😉

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 9, 2016 1:20 am

        I mean.. I did walk into a lamp-post once.. but I was distracted. 😉 !!

      • Ross King permalink
        November 9, 2016 4:34 am

        Andy…. I walked into a lamp-post a few times in my mis-spent youth (and cycled) after too many beers!! One learnt quickly!!
        Since when did bats consume alcohol or other sensory-deprivation substances? (Seriously, please … it’s a very good q.)

      • AndyG55 permalink
        November 9, 2016 6:28 am

        Actually Ross, a LOT of what bats consume is semi-fermented fruit.

        Think about it 😉

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 9, 2016 4:28 pm

        I think Thickipedia climate control central has been at work. I have rarely seen a bat when out driving let alone hit one. As for bats being killed by stationary buildings….utter rubbish. If you have seen bats at dusk whirling around right by your head, you can see how easily they manoeuvre.

  23. Ross King permalink
    November 9, 2016 4:43 am

    Dear Andy:
    In resp. to yr.: ” Ross … please don’t use texting shortcuts. eg wd? = would?
    Some of us oldies don’t know what they mean 🙂”.
    Might I (tongue-in-cheek query yr subsequent hitch-hiking icon, folloed by: “Most certainly I was”,
    In good humour, but constantly looking to limit use of my arthritic fingers,…

    • AndyG55 permalink
      November 9, 2016 6:30 am

      ” but constantly looking to limit use of my arthritic fingers,…”


      My knees sympathise !

  24. November 10, 2016 5:58 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  25. Ross King permalink
    November 10, 2016 5:11 pm

    Wind-Farm propaganda
    National Post Letters: 2016-11-09, Gideon Foreman, an employee as it turns out of Suzukuy Fdn., wrote: “Part of the solution” (last letter on page) to which I replied:

    Dear Editor:
    ‘Part of the solution’ [NP 2016-10-09]
    Writer Gideon Forman disingenuously hides behind the fact that he is “Climate Change and Transportation Policy Analyst at David Suzuki Foundation”
    He premises his case on Anthropogenic Global Warming as being ‘Science-Settled’ & proven as the sole cause of Climate Change (it isn’t). He then finesses his argument into sacrificing tens of thousands of avian beings (without reference to the most endangered species such as Ospreys & Eagles) on the Altar of anthropocentric expediency, while slyly conscripting no less authority than the Audubon society into his contention that wind farms are “part of the solution” for all species!
    Why is “The Science” *Not* Settled and his original premise baseless? Every day brings new research and new insights. So, readers, do we believe Forman’s tendentious ‘Chicken-Little” Alarmists’ claims, based on flimsy argumentation? “The Science” is far from settled.
    What if — as is increasingly obvious to all except the wagon-circling Alarmists, current Global Warming is but a chronologically microcosmic part of one Paleo-historic cycle of successive ice-sheet advances and retreats, involving huge swings in atmospheric CO2 and temperature, and energy fluxes which absolutely dwarf anthropogenic warming?
    Let’s not forget the multitude of sensationalist, apocalyptic projections made by the likes of Suzuki Foundation since the 1980s, none of which have materialized, otherwise we’d already be fried/drowned/starved to death. We have blithely sailed-past a multitude of World-ending ‘tipping-points’ Forman is feeding us more of the same garbage.

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