Study Says Presque Isle Wind Turbine Safe for Wildlife

The state says a recently completed, 2 year long study, finds a wind turbine on Lake Erie's Presque Isle is not harmful to the bird and bat population there. The Allegheny Front's Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports.

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OPEN: The state says a recently completed, 2 year long study, finds a wind turbine on Lake Erie's Presque Isle is not harmful to the bird and bat population there. The Allegheny Frontís Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources erected 6 turbines in Pennsylvania's state parks two years ago, and the 120-foot wind turbine at Presque Isle is considered small by wind standards. It generates around 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and provides a portion of the power needed to run the education center there. Turbines that are about 2 to 3 times taller have been known to cause avian mortality, so DCNR wanted to learn if smaller turbines could also be a problem. Presque Isle was selected for the study because of the diversity of birds there.

From 2006 to 2008, bird songs and bat sonar were recorded and monitored 24 hours a day by researchers. In addition, every morning for only one year the land below the turbine was searched for carcasses and only found one. The other five parks with small turbines will continue to be monitored by park personnel.

Thousands of birds and bats have died near wind turbines over the years. Researchers are still puzzled as to why the animals don't avoid the turbines, but science is showing turbine height, feeding grounds and migration routes are a major contributors to the problem.

For the Allegheny Front, I'm Lisa Ann Pinkerton.