One of the hottest debated topics with regards to Wind Turbines is the safety that they present to birds. Many people consider wind turbines to be nothing more than ‘bird blenders’ whilst other people believe they don’t have too much of an impact.
One company that is working towards improvements on this subject however is Sigma Design. They are working hard to test, improve and manufacture a design drawn up by Raymond Green, something which has been patented. The intention of this wind turbine is to be safe towards our feathered friends, and this could be just the very thing we need to help improve the perception of wind energy.
89 Year Old Raymond Green, a World War II Veteran and a Californian Resident wasn’t willing to give up his designs to any company, instead, he wanted to trust them with somebody he knew could do a great job. He wanted the technology to go to a veteran-owned company, which is the reason why he choose Sigma Designs, owned by a Lunch, a former U.S. Navy Serviceman.
The general idea behind this turbine design is to not include any exposed turbine blades. Instead air compression cone technology is used. Ultimately this is meant to be much safer for birds. The name of the technology is ‘Catching Wind Power, Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine’.
Sigma Design is based in Middlesex, and they claim this project could help to create 25 jobs in the technology sector. They are hoping that they get a lot of visibility for the project. They are hoping this will generate some interest as the project needs funding somehow.
Preliminary testing has already been carried out by Lynch and his company. They have been working on alternative energy development all over the world for the past 15 years, and they already have 150 clients on their books. “We have collected some good preliminary data and put together a plan of what needs to be improved and done to commercialize this”, which means work is already getting started on putting this plan into action. The good thing about this technology is that it can translate to turbines in a variety of different sizes, from small personal turbines, all the way through to large-scale wind farm turbines.
There was an unusually high number of bird deaths at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm as a result of old wind turbine technology, which many claims attracts birds. Since this time, wind farms have come under increased pressure as many people claim they are destructive to birds. What many people don’t realise however is that many wind farms don’t kill that many birds. In fact, wind turbine deaths are incredibly rare compared to bird deaths as a result of windows. This is probably down to the fact that wind turbines are fairly obvious structures, and birds simply cannot see windows, hence they end up flying into them.
On top of this, Altamont Pass Wind Farm is over 30 years old, it was first build when the wind industry was in its infancy. The wind farm was actually built in the middle of a key bird migratory path. This particular wind farm accounts for over 50% of the bird fatalities in the United States as a result of wind farms combined. This is down to the fact it uses the wrong technology and was built in the wrong place.
Despite this, new technology that kills fewer birds could actually be nice. It will certainly help wind turbines compete with other forms of power, and perhaps help shut off the truly deadly forms of power that much quicker.