Bat's a Great Idea! Bat Happy Hour Could Prevent Wind Turbine Deaths

Sweden's love of wind power is bad news for its bat and bird population.

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Highland yellow-shouldered bat, frontal view of bat, bat face
Cheer up, fella—it's happy hour! (Photo: Andrew M. Snyder / Getty)

Bats like bugs. Bugs like to swarm around wind turbines in warm weather. Said bats are often killed by said wind turbines in pursuit of said bugs.

Because of this ecosystem chain reaction, authorities in Sweden have granted permits to seven wind parks to set up a “happy hour” for bats—an hour before sunset and an hour before sunrise, when the wind turbines are shut off so that bats can find their bugs without danger of being felled by turbine blades.

However, Sweden’s ambitious breeze power plans—by 2020, the country plans to increase its wind power capacity “several times” over—means the happy hour solution probably won’t last. The country estimates that each individual wind turbine kills about three bats and three birds annually. If the country follows through with its wind-turbine growth, 50,000 bats and 50,000 birds could be killed a year.

Thanks to Treehugger.