Could the answer to bird strikes caused by generating wind energy be solved with paint? Purple wind turbines is a new proposal based on a study published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, as reported recently on the BBC.
Huh? How could the color of the blades reduce the danger of wind turbines?
The theory goes like this: white and gray turbine blades tend to attract bugs, which – in turn – bring predator birds and bats closer to the rotating turbines, resulting in strikes. In fact, bird and bat strikes are more common during summer months when insects are present in greater numbers.
“It had been speculated that insects may be attracted to turbine structures for some reason and this then could attract insectivorous species, such as birds and bats, to forage in the vicinity,” said PhD student Chloe Long of Loughborough University, UK.
Of all the wind turbine colors tested, the most “offensive” to bugs is the color purple. This is not to say that we’ll be seeing purple wind turbines anytime soon, however. The potential for bird and bat strikes is just one of many factors considered in permitting wind farms. Aesthetic impact is another important consideration.
Additional research is ongoing to solve the insect attraction puzzle, and to find a way to make wind turbines less attractive to bugs, while keeping them as attractive as possible for humans.