While wind energy production stands to be a powerful tool for the shift away from fossil fuels, there is an urgent need to find ways to construct and operate renewable energy infrastructure that does not greatly disturb wildlife and cause biodiversity loss.
(1) Study the effects of wind turbines on
- spatial distribution and movements of eagle owls and bats, and
- breeding success and turnover of established eagle owl pairs
For eagle owls and bats, we shall
(2) describe and explain relationships between activity and behaviour in time and space, and food availability, weather conditions, and the location of the wind turbines in the landscape,
(3) map expected future activity and risks near wind turbines
The project results will form the basis for evidence-based decisions on the placement, configuration and operation of wind turbines, as well as licensing and regulation.
While wind energy production stands to be a powerful tool for the shift away from fossil fuels, it is still a controversial topic in the public debate in Norway and internationally. There are acute concerns about wildlife mortality as well as loss of biodiversity caused by wind turbines and their associated infrastructure, with an urgent need to find ways to construct and operate renewable energy infrastructure that does not greatly disturb wildlife. This project aims to describe and explain the impacts of wind turbines - and predict the risks - to nocturnal flying wildlife in Norway. We will quantify impacts on several species of bats (Chiroptera), including threatened species, as well as the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo), which is an endangered species in Norway. A comprehensive methodological approach and close collaboration between ecologists, wind farm operators, and management authorities will ensure actionable outputs both in terms of methods and knowledge gain. Specifically, the project’s deliverables will aid in planning and inform the configuration and operation of wind turbines for impact mitigation. Outcomes from the project will bring society – specifically the renewable energy sector and governmental agencies – closer to UN sustainability goals, to help tackle the climate, energy, and biodiveristy crises simultaneously.