Two of the most repeated oppositions to wind turbines are their impact on wildlife and their supposed “ugliness” (which those of us who love the look of wind turbines don’t really understand). A new report has managed to solve one of these issues while simultaneously making the other issue worse.
Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK have found that painting turbines a different colour — rather than the normal white or grey — would help prevent wildlife injuries and death.
The research, published in the journal European Journal of Wildlife Research, found that the colour of a turbine blade often attracts insects, which therefore attracts the insects’ predators — insectivorous species such as birds and bats. By measuring how many insects are attracted to a range of paint colours, the researchers found that purple would be the best colour to paint wind turbine blades to minimise impact on local wildlife…
… and increase the clamour of all those cursing wind turbines as a blight on their view.
“It had been speculated that insects may be attracted to turbine structures for some reason and this then could attract insectivorous species, such as birds and bats, to forage in the vicinity,” said PhD student Chloe Long of Loughborough University, UK, via BBC News, but “no other study has looked in detail at what specific insect species might be attracted to turbine installations or why.”
Wind turbines have long been linked to impact on local wildlife, despite numerous studies proving that their impact doesn’t compare to that of fossil fuel power plants. A US News study in August of this year showed that wind and solar kill a relatively low number of birds each year, when compared with other energy generation techniques, especially coal.
And of course, all of these numbers fall into complete insignificance when you take into account the fact that cats kill somewhere between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds each year.
Painting turbine blades a different colour isn’t a new idea. In August of 2013, a project called INTACT started up to determine whether painting turbine blades black would have any impact.
Purple wind turbine image via Inhabitat.com
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