Researchers at PNNL have begun a three-year project to dramatically improve radio frequency transmitters that track and research bat behavior around wind turbines.
The data obtained will help design solutions that protect bats from turbines—in particular, hoary, eastern red, and silver-haired bat species, as well as the Myotis species.
The research team, which has a wealth of experience in wildlife tag development, will develop and evaluate three new technologies. The first will minimize the size of the transmitter, which historically has been relatively large compared to the size of bats, especially the tiny Myotis bat. The second will increase tag service life and the third will improve detection range, while both still minimizing tag size.
These new bat tagging and tracking tools could help wind energy operators and developers shorten permitting time and also benefit the bat population and agriculture, as bats pollinate more than 700 plants, many which are used for food and medicine.
The research is funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office.