Wind power is a major candidate in the search for clean, renewable energy. However, there are environmental issues, including bird fatalities due to collisions with rotating turbine blades, that are of particular concern. Specifically, bald and golden eagles are believed to be at particular risk, in addition to being protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in the US. My research, done in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is focused on understanding the reasons behind these collisions, predicting fatalities and wind facilities prior to construction and estimating the true number of eagle fatalities to occur at a site once it is operational. We are using a Bayesian analytical framework to help account for uncertainty and provide a clear quantification of risk when these models are used in the regulatory framework.
New, L., Bjerre, E., Millsap, B., Otto, M.C., and Runge, M.C. (2015) Incorporating uncertainty into a collision risk model for predicting avian fatalities at wind facilities: An example using golden eagles, Aquila chrysaetos. PLOS ONE 10(7): e0130978. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130978