Bats & Wind Energy
Amid heightened concerns about climate change and the economic and environmental costs of fossil fuels, wind has become an increasingly popular source of energy. Wind-generated electricity is renewable and generally considered environmentally clean. But wind-energy facilities often take an alarming toll on wildlife. Widespread fatalities of birds and bats have been documented.
Wind-energy sites, especially those on forested ridge tops in the eastern United States, are causing high bat fatalities, giving new urgency to the scientific search for solutions.
In 2003, Bat Conservation International joined with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (under direction of the U.S. Department of Energy) to create the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC). BWEC is an alliance of state and federal agencies, private industry, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations committed to finding solutions to minimize bat-mortality at wind-power turbines.
In addition to the founding organizations, BWEC also is funded by an array of partners. BCI staff provides oversight, research and administrative and fiscal management.