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Wind turbines kill almost 1 million bats per year, because they confuse them with trees

Wind turbines

(NaturalNews) It's unfortunate that two of more hopeful non-nuclear clean efforts at producing energy take a toll on flying wildlife. These two energy-producing systems are usually placed in large, wide-open spaces. Solar energy plants are able to intensify the sun's energy and deliver more kilowatt power then solar panels alone; wind turbines take advantage of the wind to produce energy effectively.

Solar energy plants are burning birds to death that fly through the space between hundreds of thousands of surrounding large mirrors that all focus on a tank of water 400 feet high to create the steam needed to drive electricity-producing turbines.

The first California desert plant happens to be in an area through which many birds migrate, and attempts to create effective diversions are being researched for this and future solar energy plants. Hopefully, there will be success toward reducing the bird kills from the solar energy plants, because they do look like the future of clean energy production for areas of high energy demands.

Bats getting killed by wind turbines

Who cares about bats? They are rarely seen by most and are considered vampires. Well, some bats actually do feed exclusively off the blood of small wild warm-blooded animals and livestock victims. There are three species of vampire bats, but all three are located in the tropical areas of Mexico, Central America and South America.

So the kinder, gentler non-blood-sucking bats are the ones getting killed in more temperate arid regions, which happen to have the most wind turbine fields. Still, they're nasty little critters, so what's the big deal? Here's how Paul Cryan, a research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, tells why it's a big deal after all.

"People often ask why we should care about bats. Bats are saving us big bucks by gobbling up insects that eat or damage our crops," he said. "If we can understand why bats approach wind turbines, we may be able to turn them away."

Bats that eat bugs by the metric ton are worth about $3 billion a year in pest control for U.S. agriculture, according to a separate report that Cryan helped write in 2011. Cryan went on to explain how the financial boon to agriculture lowers food costs for Americans and is reason enough to give bats more respect and help.

Bats are vision-impaired and many get confused as they attempt to roost in trees at night when those trees turn out to be high wind turbines. But amazingly, while many bats do successfully avoid those huge wind turbine blades, many more are killed by them than birds.

Birds tend to smash into tall buildings with lots of glass on the exterior. The glass confuses their vision. Bats are vision-impaired and use their sonar capabilities to determine the location of large solid obstacles, so glass windows on buildings do not distract them. But they have a hard time with wind turbines' revolving blades.

Another bat extinction threat worse than man's meddling

There is one threatening area for bats that may have little or nothing to do with man's meddling in nature, and it's worse than wind turbines. There is a fungus that greets bats of all types who hibernate in caves. While their metabolic processes slow to almost a halt, a fungus that causes deadly white nose syndrome overtakes them.

Piles of dead bat bodies affected with white nose syndrome have been discovered at increasing rates at the mouths of many caves. And now some federal funding is enabling scientists to look into what can be done to reduce the rate of white nose syndrome.

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