Presentation Description: The Detection and Active Response Curtailment (DARC) smart curtailment system builds on the well-established relationship between low blade RPM (<2) and lower bat fatality rates (Fieldler 2004). Achieving low RPMs requires pitching the blades out of the wind (curtailing), which precludes energy generation. Wind farm operators cite the loss of energy yield and revenue as the primary reason for not implementing standard curtailment regimes. The DARC system is designed to protect bats from wind turbine blades while minimizing associated energy losses by curtailing wind turbines based on real time bat exposure data. DOE is currently funding several Bat Smart Curtailment studies evaluating the effectiveness of various approached to reduce bat fatalities and minimize power loss. Natural Power is currently testing and validating the efficacy of this system at a commercial wind farm that is within the range of the Indiana and Northern long-eared bat. The site currently operates under a USFWS Technical Assistance Letter (TAL) conditions of 6.9m/s during the peak season of risk (Aug-Oct).The purpose of the study is to assess if the DARC smart curtailment system significantly reduces bat fatalities while minimizing power production losses relative to blanket curtailment. Additionally, the fatality rates between 6.9 m/s BSC and 6.9 m/s blanket will be compared to evaluate whether DARC can provide an alternative to the most common TAL conditions. We will present the findings from the 2020 field study, including fatality rates per treatment group and relative effect on annual energy production across the three operational regimes: normal operation (curtail below 3m/s), 6.9 m/s blanket curtailment, and 6.9m/s DARC curtailment.
Upon completions, participants will be able to assess the value of smart curtailment as a tool for reducing bat fatalities while preserving energy production.