Smart Cameras That Stop Wind Turbines When Birds Approach Massively Reduce Eagle Deaths

Renewable energy is now the cheapest energy on the planet. All countries in the world are rapidly converting from destructive and limited fossil fuels to wind turbines, solar power and more creative alternatives, including the United Kingdom that now driven by renewables more than any other source.

Despite being one of the best sources of renewable energy, wind turbines have received significant pushback from opponents claiming that they kill native bird populations. This is a valid critique – studies have shown that turbine blades can kill birds, although fossil-fuel power plants do at a fraction of the rate.

In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of wind turbines, a new smart camera system developed by IdentiFlight detects the presence of birds, detects if they endangered, and shuts off spinning blades before impact.

Smart Cameras That Stop Wind Turbines When Birds Approach Massively Reduce Eagle Deaths

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, the installation of a cartel system near a wind turbine site has reduced agglutination by 82 percent, and proposed camera systems could have a drastic effect on the conservation of protected bird species.

Located in Wyoming, USA, the study conducted independently covering 176 wind turbines from two separate sites. The authors have deployed 47 automated cartel units until the entire area covered by August 2019. During the course of the study, the authors repeatedly removed the area for control for eagle words and for comparison with pre-study numbers.

The results showed an increase in the number of deaths at the control site from the previous level, but a significant decrease at the camera sites. With the addition of IdentiFlight, the fatal fat loss rate per year has dropped from 7.5 to about 2.5, showing a 62 percent reduction. The control site increased casualties during the same period.

Ben Quinn, Senior Vice President at IdentiFlight said in a statement, “Avian collisions with turbine blades have long been a concern in the wind industry. IdentiFlight avian detection technology was created to address this problem and encourage the successful coexistence of avian wildlife and wind energy.” 

“We now have conclusive evidence that IdentiFlight can be used as a mitigation and minimal solution for current and future wind projects.”
The system works using a camera tower that placed in its vicinity to cover multiple wind turbines that can spot and track pre-set protected bird species.Using optical sensors, the towers detect incoming birds and use artificial intelligence to determine its trajectory and speed, adjusting the speed of the turbines accordingly. IdentiFlight claims that their system detects protected species 1 km away.

IdentiFlight hopes that their systems and similar systems can deploy on a larger scale further protect protected avian species. However, according to the cost analysis of the Bat Drone Shield, it can be a difficult pill for many turbine companies to swallow, with an identifiable system carrying an installation fee of $150,000 (£110,000) per year and a maintenance fee of $8,000.