I See a Wind Turbine and I Want it Paint it Black

Believe it or not there are people out there who don’t want renewable energy and actively campaign to keep our power grid based on world-destroying fossil fuels. These backward thinking individuals have had success in stopping some wind turbine installations by arguing that wind turbines kill birds. Sadly, wind turbines do kill birds (but come on, coal, oil, and gas power plants kill way more than just birds).

There’s now a simple way to protect birds from wind turbines: paint one bald black. An experiment run in Norway found that a simple visual clue is enough for the few birds that hit rotating blades to evade the blades.

Applying contrast painting to the rotor blades resulted in significantly reduced the annual fatality rate (>70%) for a range of birds at the Smøla wind‐power plant. We recommend to either replicate this study, preferably with more treated turbines, or to implement the measure at new sites and monitor collision fatalities to verify whether similar results are obtained elsewhere, to determine to which extent the effect is generalizable. It is of the utmost importance to gain more insights into the expected efficacy of promising mitigation measures through targeted experiments and learning by doing, to successfully mitigate impacts on birdlife and to support a sustainable development of wind energy worldwide.

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