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Biologists win wind power prize

Martin Green and Jens Rydell, researchers at the Department of Biology, Lund University, are awarded The Wind Power Prize in Skåne 2017. They win the prize for their research regarding how bats and birds are affected by wind turbines.
Jens Rydell and Martin Green.
Jens Rydell and Martin Green. Photo: Sune Broman and Inger Ekström

Behind the prize is The Academy of Wind Power in Skåne. The Academy is part of a federation of 33 local municipalities in the southern region of Skåne, Sweden. The motivation from the jury reads:

”Wind power is surrounded by feelings, prejudice and generalisations. Therefore it is of utmost importance with serious research so that the planning of wind power is based on knowledge and a balanced discussion. For many years and with great dedication and commitment Martin Green and Jens Rydell have studied the effect of wind turbines on birds and bats. In an objective, valuable and successful way they have spread their knowledge via videos, lectures, articles and referral reports.”

The two biologists are awarded the prize in competition with eight other nominees.

”The recognition is great, it feels like we biologists contribute and actually change the world a little bit,” says Jens Rydell.

Bats.

Martin Green and Jens Rydell studies the Swedish control programs for wind power plants in use. Their conclusion is that improvements can be made. If the surveys would be better and reach a higher degree of standardization the base for good decisions would be much improved.

Estimations show that each wind turbine kills approximately 10–15 bats per year. The bats are killed by the spinning unit when the hunt insects.

According to Martin Green and Jens Rydell the number of bats killed would be much reduced if the turbines were halted on summer nights when winds are low. The loss of electricity production would be minimal.

Jan Olsson

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