PacifiCorp, a regional power provider serving customers in six western states, is partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey, Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in developing a novel study to evaluate the effects of painting one wind turbine blade black to reduce risks to birds flying near wind projects.
“This study is a great example of how cross-sector collaboration enables us to identify and evaluate potential solutions to protecting wildlife as we advance the development of renewable energy needed to reduce carbon emissions,” said Dr. Taber Allison, director of research at the Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute.
“While it is critical to increase our renewable energy resources, we must do so in a way that avoids and minimizes harm to wildlife,” said Garry George, director of the Clean Energy Initiative with National Audubon Society and REWI Board Director. “This is an important study that can potentially make it easier to realize a cleaner future for all, while protecting the birds we love. REWI is the perfect collaboration of industry and conservation to play a role in making this important study happen.”
The Glenrock and Rolling Hills sites, which includes 158 General Electric turbines each more than 250 feet high, is ideal for the study as PacifiCorp already has several years of data charting bird interactions with turbines. In addition, turbines within PacifiCorp’s facilities are arranged in a manner well-suited for a highly controlled study.
“As environmental stewards, we’re dedicated to increasing the safe coexistence of wind turbines and birds,” said Travis Brown, director of wind compliance and permitting for PacifiCorp. “As we increase renewable energy resources, applying this approach to the Mountain West, where more wind projects will be built, has the potential to both protect wildlife and advance clean energy. We are proud to host this study at our Glenrock and Rolling Hills project near Glenrock, Wyoming.”