The desire to make increasing use of renewable energy, and at the same time reduce our environmental footprint, requires a balancing act between commerce and ecology. For example, building wind farms provides 'green' energy, but may also have a significant impact on avian fauna.
Bird radar systems can be used by planners and consultants as part of their environmental assessments for wind farm planning applications, for example. They can also help wind farm operators better understand the impact of wind farm developments on bird migration patterns, and provide important information on when to shut down wind turbines, if necessary.
In Europe, article 6.3 of the Habitat Directive requires 'appropriate assessment' when significant environmental impact is likely. This impact can range from bird and bat mortality caused by collision, through habitat degradation and fragmentation, to barriers to migration.
ROBIN's bird radars enable pre- and post-construction monitoring to minimize the (cumulative) impact on biodiversity.
For example, wind farm operators use ROBIN bird detection systems both during the planning stage for environmental assessments and during operation to protect birds and turbine blades from strikes.
With many wind farms being built out at sea, the ability of ROBIN systems to dynamically remove clutter and adapt to changing conditions is vital. Our systems are able to 'see through' moving rotor blades and allow for changing sea conditions.
Other ROBIN features that come into their own for wind farms are the ability to measure altitude exactly and measure wingbeat patterns to help distinguish individual bird species. Certain species are prone to flying into moving turbine blades, while others are not – knowing which type you are dealing with, and exactly how high they are flying, helps limit the need for shut-downs or deployment of deterrents.