Germany’s “energywende” threatens migratory bats
Forschungsverbund, Berlin — February 11, 2015
Numerous bats are killed by German wind turbines. The number of such turbines, already very high, is planned to be increased further. More than two-thirds of bats being killed by wind turbines on German ground are migrants on their way between summer and winter habitats. Due to its geographical location in Europe, Germany has consequently a central responsibility for the conservation of migratory bats.
Not all things that are called “green” serve the purpose of nature conservation. Currently, many wind turbines are erected in Germany in order to increase the production of renewable energy by 30 percent until 2020. These turbines kill bats and are in conflict with national and international nature conservation legislation and international treaties such as the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals which are applicable to migratory bats, and which has also been signed by Germany. Every year thousands of bats die because of wind turbines in Germany. Mitigation measures which are available to reduce the number of killed animals per turbine are available but not consistently put into practice.
Conservation agreements formulated as UN Conventions are not legally binding for the signing parties and have therefore no influence on licensing procedures. “We assume that only a fractional part of all 24,000 wind turbines constructed until 2014 meet the necessary standards for the conservation of protected species. Many, especially old, turbines run without any or only insufficiently implemented mitigation measures”, reports Christian Voigt, biologist and bat researcher at the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW). Together with other authors he has recently published an IZW study in the scientific journal “European Journal of Wildlife Research”, giving an overview on the issues generated by wind turbines for bat conservation. Continue reading here….