Block Island Wind Farm Tracking Birds and Bats

first_imgDeepwater Wind has installed a wildlife tracking station on the easternmost foundation platform at the Block Island wind farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, to assist researchers in their studies of bird and bat activity off the Atlantic Coast.The project, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), will provide researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Rhode Island (URI) and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst with data on offshore movement of high priority species to inform conservation efforts.The tracking station, situated three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, contains four antennas, plus a receiver that collects data on the migrating patterns of birds and bats that scientists have previously tagged with tiny, very high-frequency (VHF) transmitters, weighing less than 1.5 grams each. These transmitters provide data on any tagged species that fly within a 20-mile radius of the wind farm.“Deepwater Wind puts leading-edge science and technology to work to solve our country’s energy challenges,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.“Our Block Island Wind Farm has not only pushed the boundaries of clean energy in the U.S., it’s also deepened the understanding of the marine environment. Now it’s our privilege to be part of cutting-edge research that will help scientists learn more about some of the country’s most important bird and bat species.”The new tracking station at the Block Island Wind Farm will allow researchers to collect more detailed data on wildlife movements in the Rhode Island Sound area. The stations will be active until mid-October this year, and then re-deployed next spring.“This is an exciting opportunity to pilot digital VHF technology for tracking movements of birds and bats at the first offshore wind energy facility in the United States,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr. Pam Loring said.“Results from this study will help agency and industry partners balance renewable energy development with conservation of focal wildlife species and will guide the use of this technology at additional offshore sites in the future.”The 30MW Block Island wind farm began commercial operations in December 2016. The wind farm comprises five GE Renewable Energy Haliade 150-6MW turbines.“This newest station on the Block Island Wind Farm, coupled with the two stations on Block Island, represents the first attempt anywhere in the world to assess fine-scale movements of birds and bats near an active offshore wind farm,” said Dr. Peter Paton of the University of Rhode Island.“Thus, there is considerable interest from biologists around the United States and across the planet on the results of this research.”last_img

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