Many individuals view renewable energy as the solution to atmospheric degradation. Solar, wind and geothermal power successfully lower the energy sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, renewable electricity technology is relatively new and contains some efficiency and ecological challenges, especially when it comes to flying creatures like bats.
Fortunately, an increase in government backing shows promising potential for technological advancements. Over time, we can develop a 100% carbon-neutral energy grid while also protecting wildlife.
The Driving Policies
On President Biden’s first day in office, he signed the U.S. onto the Paris Agreement. The signature represents our national commitment to greenhouse gas emission reduction. The agreement’s goal is to lower the global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius below the pre-industrial level.
We can achieve temperature reductions by replacing fossil fuel-derived energy with renewable power. Unfortunately, replacing all energy sources would be costly and labor-intensive. Luckily, Biden’s Build Back Better policy supports national clean energy adoption.
He allocated $2 trillion to the renewable energy sector, supporting wind power production and sustainable employment. We can use excess funding to find sustainable solutions to ecological and wildlife challenges.
A significant concern with wind power is its interference with biodiversity. Turbines pose adverse effects to bat health, especially in Texas. Bats are a protected species in Texas, meaning one may not kill, hunt or possess the creatures.
Bats are essential to our ecosystem because they manage the bug population. Texas is home to eight major bat species, including the Mexican Free-Tailed and Big Brown. Without the nocturnal mammals, the state’s biodiversity would decrease.
Texas is also the largest wind power-producing state, generating 24,899 megawatts of clean energy. However, turbines are depleting the bat population in mass numbers. Without sustainable intervention, wind power could end the species for good.
The wind energy industry is expanding, generating more than 7% of the U.S. power supply. We continue developing the renewable energy sector while limiting its adverse ecological effects with scientific advancements. Environmental engineers and scientists already began searching for sustainable solutions to bat conservation.
A team of researchers at Duke University developed a bat deterrent system, preventing them from running into turbines. The device uses ultrasonic acoustics, notifying bats of a turbine’s presence. In addition, researchers studied the draw of bats to wind energy structures.
They believe bats either view turbines as trees for roosting or water sources. The team used this information and studied bats’ language, hoping to communicate a warning sign. Bats utilize echolocation for socializing, finding food and navigating.
Researchers discovered a sound that prevents bats from entering a designated region. They placed speakers around turbines and played the noise frequency on a loop. It is high pitched, and humans are unable to detect it, limiting additional noise pollution.
Another detraction method is altering the traditional color or external material of wind turbines. Bats confuse the devices with water because of their reflective features. Changing the color may decrease bat fatalities.
Altering wind energy’s production methods could also protect the bat population. Ampyx Power developed a less ecologically harmful turbine replacement device that generates renewable energy using drones. The drone reaches a 660 feet altitude, achieving the peak power generation height. It then connects to a tether line, sending renewable energy down to a surface-level generator. The system generates more power than a conventional turbine with less environmental impact.
Bat and Atmospheric Protection
We can continue expanding the renewable energy sector while solving wind power-caused bat fatalities. Developing less degrading technology can increase clean energy production and support biodiversity. Protecting the bat species is essential to the planet’s health and longevity.
Bats disperse seeds, expanding hundreds of plant species. They also pollinate flowers, additionally helping vegetation growth. Similarly, renewable energy protects the global ecosystem.
Wind power generates zero-emission electricity, unlike fossil fuel-driven energy. The green devices protect the atmosphere from greenhouse gas pollution. As pollution decreases, the global temperature becomes cooler, preventing adverse heating effects.
How to Help
Individuals can help conserve the bat population by reaching out to government officials. Asking for greater protection of the species and an establishment of less harmful technology can drive sustainable solutions. You can also help by spreading awareness, explaining the importance of bat protection to others. Knowledge is power, and this can help save the species.
Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.