Research priorities for wind energy and migratory wildlife


  • Associate Editor: Leonard Brennan


With upcoming global wind-energy build-out estimated in millions of units, cumulative environmental impacts must be considered and understood to promote responsible expansion of this renewable energy source. In June 2009, 30 wildlife scientists convened in Racine, Wisconsin, USA to identify key research priorities concerning wind energy's potential impacts on migratory wildlife (birds and bats). This working group suggested 4 areas where improved science is most needed to evaluate the impacts of wind-energy development on migrating animals more accurately than can be accomplished today: 1) standardized protocols and definitions; 2) new methods and models for assessing and forecasting risk; 3) documenting lethal and sub-lethal effects at existing wind facilities; and 4) improved facility-site access, data access, and data management for researchers. Focused research based on these priorities will both quantify potential risks associated with wind-energy development and help derive science-based, peer-reviewed, best-management practices for existing and future wind projects. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.