Should wind turbines be purple?

October 28, 2010

purple wind turbine

While wind turbines are, for the most part, highly beneficial to the environment, they do pose a danger to creatures who spend time in the air, namely bugs, birds and bats.  A new study published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research concludes that this danger could be solved with a little paint.

White seems like an appropriately benign color for something that will hopefully soon be dotting horizons across the country and the world, but the study states that white and light gray turbine blades (the most common colors) attract bugs, which often leads the birds and bats that eat them to their doom. While white, light gray and yellow were most attractive, the least attractive color was purple.

The researchers were surprised by just how profoundly the insects reacted to the different colors, both during day and night.  While this doesn't mean that all turbines should now be painted a bright shade of purple, it does indicate that something as simple as a change in color could have a large impact on the amount of birds and bats that fly into wind turbines.

With that said, the researchers also suspect that the heat from the turbines could be attracting the bugs and that bats may not be able to detect them with echolocation, both of which could contribute to the problem.

via BBC

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