Wildlife Wednesdays: Cameras on Wind Turbines | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Feb 7th 2022

Wildlife Wednesdays: Cameras on Wind Turbines

Countries all over the world are converting from fossil fuels to wind energy and solar power as renewable energy is now the cheapest energy on the planet. The only set back when it comes to wind turbines is the amount of birds that fly nearby or into them, therefore, killing them. 

To minimize this impact, a new smart camera system developed by IdentiFlight detects nearby birds. It uses a camera tower that is placed to cover multiple wind turbines in its vicinity. Using optical sensors, the tower identifies incoming birds and uses artificial intelligence to determine their direction and speed. IdentiFlight also detects if the birds are endangered that are flying nearby. The smart camera then shuts down the spinning blades before the birds fly close-by.  

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, "deploying a curtailment system near a wind turbine site led to a decrease in Eagle fatalities of 82 percent, suggesting the camera systems could have a drastic effect on saving protected bird species." "This study is based in Wyoming and covered 176 wind turbines from 2 different states and compared the eagle deaths to the pre-study numbers. There was a significant decrease in the camera sites. Following the addition of IdentiFlight, the eagle fatalities per year dropped from around 7.5 to around 2.5, demonstrating a 62 percent decrease!

"Avian collisions with turbine blades have been a long-time concern in the wind industry. The IdentiFlight avian detection technology was developed to address this problem and promote the successful coexistence of avian wildlife and wind energy," said Ben Quinn, Senior Vice President at IdentiFlight, in a statement. "We now have conclusive evidence that IdentiFlight can be utilized as a mitigation and minimization solution for current and future wind projects."