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What Works in Conservation 2018

William J. Sutherland
Lynn V. Dicks
Nancy Ockendon
et al.

2. Bat conservation

2.3 Threat: Energy production – wind turbines

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● Switch off turbines at low wind speeds to reduce bat fatalities

1Three replicated, controlled studies in Canada and the USA have shown that reducing the operation of wind turbines at low wind speeds causes a reduction in bat fatalities. Assessment: beneficial (effectiveness 80%; certainty 70%; harms 0%).


Likely to be beneficial

● Deter bats from turbines using ultrasound

3Five field studies at wind farms or pond sites (including one replicated, randomized, before-and-after trial), and one laboratory study, have all found lower bat activity or fewer bat deaths with ultrasonic deterrents than without. Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 50%; certainty 40%; harms 10%).


Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)

● Deter bats from turbines using radar

5A replicated, site comparison study in the UK found reduced bat activity in natural habitats in proximity to electromagnetic fields produced by radars. We found no evidence for the effects of installing radars on wind turbines on bats. Assessment: unknown effectiveness (effectiveness 20%; certainty 10%; harms 0%).


No evidence found (no assessment)

7We have captured no evidence for the following interventions:

  • Automatically switch off wind turbines when bat activity is high
  • Close off nacelles on wind turbines to prevent roosting bats
  • Leave a minimum distance between turbines and habitat features used by bats
  • Modify turbine design to reduce bat fatalities
  • Modify turbine placement to reduce bat fatalities
  • Remove turbine lighting to avoid attracting bats

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