discussion / Climate Change  / 4 August 2022

Applications of Conservation Technology to the Power Grid

I've had a few conversations in person with various folks around the wildlabs community, but in general I'm looking at a slight sector-jump from working on biodiversity directly to working on decarbonization/electrification and the power grid. 

And when it comes to these issues, wildlife impacts really are something that matters. Not just because people care about conservation in and of itself, but because in many cases demonstrating that mitigation measures are possible or being applied is useful for getting community buy-in in cases where people may be using wildlife concerns as a pretext to oppose energy or transmission development (this is quite common based on conversations i've had with folks in the energy sector).

So far, the projects and tools I'm aware of are:

1. Wildlife Acoustics recently launched their SMART system for bat monitoring at wind farms https://landingpages.wildlifeacoustics.com/smart-system

2. The Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative has used acoustic monitoring and various light-based diverters to track and minimize bird impacts on their transmission lines

3. A number of systems have been developed to use RADAR to monitor bird activity near wind farms and automatically slow or shut down turbines if birds get too close: https://www.robinradar.com/bird-control-radar-system-wind-farm, and https://detect-inc.com/wind-energy-bird-bat-radars/ are a couple of examples

4. Camera trapping has been deployed to monitor wildlife on the ground at some wind facilities: https://www.usgs.gov/publications/birds-not-flight-using-camera-traps-observe-ground-use-birds-wind-energy-facility

I'm reaching out to the WL community to see what other case studies you might be aware of.