Bats & wind energy

How the wind industry protects bats

The wind industry has taken a systematic approach to identifying potential impacts on bats and other wildlife, and is engaged in initiatives to reduce, if not eliminate, those impacts.

The wind industry voluntarily studies and mitigates for wildlife impacts, more than any other energy industry, including for wildlife not protected by federal law. This is demonstrated by the inclusion of bats not otherwise protected under federal law in the recommended siting practices outlined in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "Land-based Wind Energy Guidelines," which are broadly supported by the wind energy industry  These guidelines include information on pre- and post-construction studies and analysis related to bats.

In addition, the wind energy industry is helping to fund research into White-Nose Syndrome, a disease that has devastated cave-dwelling bats in the Northeast and is among their most serious threats.

Origins of the BWEC

In 2003, Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), AWEA, and the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory jointly formed the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC). BWEC is actively researching the issue of bat interactions with wind turbines and investigating several promising techniques, such as acoustic deterrents and potential operational changes to wind turbines, with the ultimate goal to reduce bat impacts at wind farms.