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Bat and Bird Mortality Studies at Buffalo Mountain Windfarm  

Author:  | Tennessee, Wildlife

In 2000, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) installed three wind turbines at the Buffalo Mountain windfarm in Anderson County, Tennessee. A three-year study, from September 2000 to September 2003, was conducted to document bird and bat activity and mortality at the windfarm. In 2004, 15 larger turbines were added to the windfarm. With the addition of these turbines the magnitude of expected bird and bat mortality was unknown.

Because the environmental study performed by TVA during the 2000-2003 study indicated the likelihood of bird and bat mortality, TVA began a second study at the site during 2005. The 2005 study had the following objectives: 1) document bird and bat mortality at the original turbines and the new, larger turbines; and 2) compare the results to the previous study. The Executive Summary of the 2005 report briefly outlines its conclusions and TVA’s next step.

Fiedler, J. K., T. H. Henry, R. D. Tankersley, and C. P. Nicholson. 2007. Results of bat and bird mortality monitoring at the expanded Buffalo Mountain Windfarm, 2005. Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville.

“[T]he expansion of [the Buffalo Mountain Windfarm] has resulted in elevated levels of bat mortality that may be biologically significant for bats. Our findings mirror similar studies at other windfarms throughout the Appalachians, and suggest that a better understanding of bat mortality at wind turbines, and investigation of viable mitigation strategies, are needed in order to reduce levels of bat mortality.”

2000-2003 study:

Nicholson, C. P., R. D. Tankersley, J. K. Fiedler, and N. S. Nicholas. 2005. Assessment and prediction of bird and bat mortality at wind energy facilities in the southeastern United States, Final Report. Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville.

Fiedler, J. K. 2004. Assessment of bat mortality and activity at Buffalo Mountain Windfarm, eastern Tennessee. M.S. Thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“[A]s the generation of electricity from wind increases in the eastern United States, it becomes critical to understand patterns in turbine-related mortality, and for future windfarm projects to determine population level effects of bat mortality.”

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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