An innovative wind farm bat deterrent system will see its first commercial use on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, following the signing a deal between developer DE Shaw Renewable Investments (DSRI) and US outfit NRG System.
The technology, which earlier this year completed final tests at EDF Renewables’ 175MW Pilot Hill development in the US state of in Illinois, will be fitted to 30 turbines at the Kawailoa Wind development, to reduce the number of hoary bat strikes and boost the wind farm’s uptime.
Bryan Martin, CEO of DSRI, Kawailoa Wind’s owner-operator, said: “DSRI has a history of adopting innovative technologies and ideas to mitigate the impacts of renewable energy development. We are excited to partner with NRG Systems as part of those efforts.”
Until now, conservation of the Hawaiian hoary bat, which has been on the US list of endangered species since 1970, has meant curtailing or switching-off Kawailoa Wind’s turbines in low wind speeds at night, when bats are most active, to minimise fatalities.
Brita Woeck, Kawailoa Wind’s environmental compliance officer, “Wind energy is crucial to providing renewable energy in Hawaii. [We are] invested in finding solutions so that clean energy generation and bat conservation can co-exist here in Hawaii and beyond.”
The field-tests in Illinois showed a 71% reduction in bat fatalities using a system developed by NRG Systems that generates ultrasonic waves out to the rotor blade tips that “jam” the bats echolocation frequency and so prompts them to forage in airspace outside the wind farm site.
Brogan Morton, senior product manager at NRG Systems, said: “Based on the performance [of the bat deterrent system in Illinois and other test sites], we are confident that our technology will play a key role in helping the Kawailoa Wind team and assist Hawaii in reaching its clean energy goals.”