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Jun 9

A Biologist Works to Reconcile Bats and Wind Energy

Tim Hayes, with Duke Energy Renewables, seeks to reduce bat and bird fatalities on the company’s wind farms.

Tim Hayes’s early interactions with bats on his grandparents’ Indiana farm didn’t scream “future bat expert.” He recalls sitting outside with his brother at dusk watching them flutter out of the barn and throwing a tube sock filled with pebbles in their direction. “We were kids,” he says. “The bats would chase the sock.”

Now the 52-year-old biologist (and bat expert) runs the environmental program at Duke Energy Renewables, the wind-and-solar division of power giant Duke Energy. His fascination with bats took on a professional urgency several years ago when researchers found that swarms of migrating bats were flying headlong into wind turbines across the Eastern U.S., dying by the thousands. Scientists are trying to figure out exactly why. Some theorize bats are attracted to the turbines’ height, mistaking them for tall trees, or that the moving blades confuse the bats’ biological sonar.

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By HILARY POTKEWITZ – The Wall Street Journal


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