How smart wind farm curtailment can save bats and optimize energy gains
Our EchoPITCH™ tool uses data from bat acoustics, weather, and wind turbines to focus curtailment on periods when it is most warranted.
Pollination. Seed dispersal. Insect control. Bats provide critical ecological functions and billions in economic value. Although bats use echolocation to avoid obstacles and capture prey, they appear unable to avoid—and may even be attracted to—fast-moving turbine blades.
Bat fatalities resulting from turbine collisions, especially those involving regionally protected and rare bats, can trigger regulatory requirements, such as nighttime shutdowns or blanket curtailments (the act of fully restricting wind turbine operations during periods of high risk to bats).
Bats & Turbines 101
Implemented over a broad seasonal period, blanket curtailment helps reduce bat risk by increasing the cut-in wind speed from the standard 3 meters per second to 6.9 m/s—at which time the blades begin to rotate and generate power.
Improving turbine efficiencies
Smart curtailment using EchoPITCH combines bat activity with seasonal and meteorological inputs to create a more defined set of curtailment parameters. This allows operators to customize the cut-in wind speed for their turbines.
As bats become more active with season and wind variance, more accurate mapping allows operators to capture potential energy through smart curtailment—ensuring limited bat exposure.
Pinpointing conditions with minimal bat activity allows turbines to operate more than would be possible with blanket curtailment while posing minimal risk to bats
Isolating peak bat activity allows us to easily characterizes segments of highest bat exposure, allowing operators to build strategic curtailment programs that capture potential generation opportunities.
Increase the overall operational efficiency of your windfarm. EchoPITCH can help you design, evaluate, and adaptively manage your curtailment strategy.
This can lead to an average revenue loss between US$2,000 – $8,000 per turbine per year.
~33% of energy capture is lost
are estimated to die annually
at wind farms in North America
By tailoring curtailment strategies to local conditions and bat activity patterns, turbine operations can increase while achieving targeted reductions in risk to bats.
~33% more energy generation potential
By measuring bat passes and comparing windspeed and temperatures, our research and innovative technology reduces the need for expensive carcass monitoring and long stretches of turbine curtailment.
A Stantec wind farm client, the state wildlife agency, and our curtailment experts recently designed an EchoPITCH alternative for a wind energy facility in New England using acoustic data collected previously at the site.
This curtailment strategy was designed to better protect bats while reducing energy loss from curtailment by 4.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually.
Request a Demo
Increasingly, wind farms are being required to implement curtailment to reduce bat risk. This is where EchoPITCH can help reduce bat mortality rates while maintaining power and revenue generation.
EchoPITCH uses acoustic data recorded at turbine nacelles to identify the envelope of conditions (e.g., temperature and wind speeds) in which bats are active. Measuring seasonal and temporal variation during this activity, EchoPITCH focuses curtailment on periods when it is most warranted.
Additional energy production from EchoPITCH is enough to power about 392 homes for a year
Does EchoPITCH work?