We are beginning a project to design, test, and deploy an integrated sensor array that will continuously monitor interactions of avian and bat species on blades, nacelle and towers of wind turbines. In contrast to land-based wind facilities, animal casualties in off-shore wind energy installations can only be efficiently assessed over the long term using an on-board detection system with data transmitted remotely to shore-based data processing centers. We are developing a synchronized array of sensors including accelerometers, visual and infrared spectrum cameras, and bioacoustic monitors. On-board, custom-designed data post-processing and statistical-based software will detect impacts from other disturbances and trigger the event recording. Remote access to the recorded images and sensor data will make it possible to quantify interactions, including collisions, and identify organisms involved to the lowest taxonomic grouping possible. When completed, the sensor array can be used on a single turbine for site characterization or on multiple turbines distributed throughout a wind facility to assess cumulative impacts. It is anticipated that all or parts of the array can be used for a variety of land-based and offshore structures, including wave energy devices.
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon