"Pa. Wind Turbines Deadly To Bats, Costly To Farmers"

"The butterfly effect suggests the flapping of a tiny insect's wings in Africa can lead to a tornado in Kansas.

Call this the bat effect: A bat killed by a wind turbine in Somerset can lead to higher tomato prices at the Wichita farmers market.

Bats are something of a one-species stimulus program for farmers, every year gobbling up millions of bugs that could ruin a harvest. But the same biology that allows the winged creatures to sweep the night sky for fine dining also has made them susceptible to one of Pennsylvania's fastest-growing energy tools.

The 420 wind turbines now in use across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year -- mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission. That's an average of 25 bats per turbine per year, and the Nature Conservancy predicts as many as 2,900 turbines will be set up across the state by 2030.

This is a bad time to be a bat."

Erich Schwartzel reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 17, 2011.

Monday, July 18, 2011