Iberdrola Renewables Conducts Industry-first Bat Study at Pennsylvania Wind Power Project

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October 14, 2008

GARRETT, Pa. - In a ground breaking effort to study the interaction between bats and wind turbines, Iberdrola Renewables has partnered with an independent conservation group, Bat Conservation International (BCI), for wildlife data collection at a southwestern Pennsylvania wind power project.

BCI's work is being conducted through the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC -www.batsandwind.org), which is a coalition of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and BCI. The cooperative's work focuses on identifying and addressing potential wind energy impacts on bats.

From late July to early October, Iberdrola Renewables, working with BCI researchers, conducted a controlled experiment in which selected wind turbines at the Casselman Wind Power Project were stopped during certain wind conditions. This represents the first U.S.- based effort to study the effects of shutting down turbines on reducing bat deaths.

Shutting down turbines at certain wind speeds and during periods when bats appear most vulnerable is a potential new and effective way to reduce the impact on bats during their latesummer migration season. Although it was crucial for this study, curtailing turbine operations is not likely to be the complete solution to reducing the impact on bats in all circumstances, just one part of it, company officials said.

"As responsible stewards of natural resources, we recognize there is an impact on bats that requires scientific study. We're committed to spearheading this effort, which represents a new area of investigation for the wind industry," said Andy Linehan, wind permitting director for Iberdrola Renewables. "The new information generated by the Casselman project will be useful in improving many techniques for reducing wildlife risk at those wind power sites where there are significant impacts to bats."

The results of the study will be reviewed by BWEC's scientific advisory committee and then made public.

"What excites me as a scientist is that this is a very applied problem. We need to develop renewable energy resources, and we would like to develop those responsibly," said Ed Arnett, a principal wildlife investigator for BCI. "There's no free lunch here. There are always going to be impacts, but we want to reduce those impacts, particularly with green energy. Together, the industry, conservation groups and scientists can solve this. Iberdrola Renewables deserves considerable credit for hosting and supporting this critical experiment."

The Casselman study has wider implications for the wind energy industry as a whole.

"AWEA is a founding member of the Bat Wind Energy Cooperative, and we are glad to see this next step in identifying ways to address impacts of wind energy on bats," said Tom Gray, deputy executive director of AWEA. "We see this partnership as being a valuable resource not only for Iberdrola Renewables, but also for the entire wind energy industry."

The Casselman Wind Power Project, located in Somerset County, also marks an important environmental first for the state of Pennsylvania by putting a former coal mine to productive use. Eight of the project's turbines are located atop infill from a surface mine. In total, the 23 turbines at this wind power project will generate 34.5 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy and contribute jobs and tax revenue to the local community. Typically a 34.5 MW wind project can generate power for more than 10,000 homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association's calculation.

Iberdrola Renewables is currently the world's leading provider of wind power with more than 8,000 MW of wind power in operation globally now. Between 2008-2012, the company will invest $26.8 billion globally to achieve installed capacity of close to 18,000 MW and production of more than 42,000 GWh. Iberdrola Renewables will invest $8 billion in the U.S. between 2008 and 2012 and plans to install 1,000 MW of wind power each year in the U.S. www.iberdrolarenewables.us.

Art Sasse, Director, Communications & Brand, Iberdrola Renewables, 503-796-7740
Paul Copleman, Media Relations, Iberdrola Renewables, 207-641-2805
Ed Arnett, Bat Conservation International, 512-327-9721
Christine Real de Azua, AWEA, 202-383-2508


  • To view a video story on the Casselman Wind Power Project, visit www.youtube.com/americanwindenergy.
  • Interview opportunities with top energy industry executives and bat experts at Casselman dedication on Thursday, Oct. 16
  • Weather permitting, opportunities for live remotes at the site near the wind turbines
  • B-roll of the Casselman Wind Power Project, coal mining activities and bat data collection.
  • Print-quality still images of wind technicians at work, coal mining activities and bat data collection