According to research the US Fish and Wildlife service, each year about 140,000 to 500,000 bird die after colliding with wind turbine blades. Researchers have looked into solutions in order to help avoid these situations, and they have come up with a simple trick that could help a whole lot.
A nearly decade-long study at Norwegian Smøla wind farm figured out that by painting just one of the wind turbine blades black, they managed to reduce the number of bird dearths from the wind turbines by more than 70%.
Roel May and colleagues have reported their findings in Ecology and Evolution that by painting one wind turbine blade black to increase the visibility of the fact that the blades are spinning to help prevent the birds from hitting the wind turbines.
The research found that after painting the blades, there was a significant reduction in bird deaths when compared to wind turbines that did not have a painted blade.
In 2019, there was a record number of increased in wind turbines, with 60 GW of wind energy capacity added over the year. There will be even more increased turbines in the coming years as well.
There has been a bit of a pushback to adding more wind turbines, as some say that they are eyesores and that they cause harm to birds. Researchers have taken steps necessary to start addressing this, which is where the painting solution comes in.
While this study had promising results, it’s important to remember that a larger scale study needs to take place as well. It’s necessary for the preliminary findings to be proven correct.
The authors of the study said: “It is recommended to repeat this experiment at other sites to ensure that the outcomes are generic at various settings.”