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Black Blade For More Bird Protection: Effect Of Black Blades On Wind Turbines In The Netherlands

Münster, Germany - The province of Groningen in the Netherlands and energy company RWE are investigating whether painting a single rotor blade black can help reduce the number of bird victims.

The research is being carried out in collaboration with other Dutch authorities, the nature conservation sector and players in the wind energy sector, including Vattenfall, Eneco Energy, Pure Energy, Statkraft Energy and Energy.

It is planned to paint black the blades of seven of RWE's existing turbines in Eemshaven (with a tip height of 140 meters) as part of the "Black Blade" pilot project. The study has already started and is expected to run until the end of 2024.

The background is a study financed by Vattenfall and a group of Norwegian partners on the island of Smøla in Norway. Here, the blackening of a single rotor blade on bird life has already been examined. That study showed that painting a single blade of a wind turbine black resulted in a 70 percent reduction in the number of collision birds.

" That has to do with the way birds perceive the moving rotor of a wind turbine," says Jesper Kyed Larsen, an environmental expert at Vattenfall. "When a bird comes close to the rotating blades, the three individual blades can 'merge' into a smear and birds may no longer perceive it an object to avoid. One black blade interrupts the pattern, making the blending of the blades into a single image less likely."

The study also examines how noticeable the black rotor blades are in the Dutch landscape and whether this bothers residents. The study seeks to leverage more knowledge about the practical and financial aspects of the black blade measure in the Dutch context.

Source: IWR Online, Feb 02 2022