Rotor Blade Extension and its Environmental Impacts

Rotor Blade Extension and its Environmental Impacts

To evaluate and minimize the expectable environmental impacts of the RBE – Rotor Blade Extension, EnergieKontor has developed a mortality monitoring plan directed to birds and bats.

The RBE installation in Wind Turbine Generators was developed with the intention of increasing the production of the wind farms which are currently in their exploration phase.

The extension of the blades of the Wind Turbine Generator, developed by EnergieKontor, allows an increase of annual energy production, without the necessity of exchanging or dismounting any structural component. Given that this kind of installation uses existing infrastructures, the environment and the surrounding area suffer much less impacts, when comparing with the complete overhaul of new turbines.

Nonetheless, given that any human action implies an environmental disturbance, the environmental impacts that the RBE might cause are a very important theme which must be understood.

The main side-effects which are envisioned by this project are felt on an ecological level, and are related to the potential disturbance caused by the interventions and also possibly and theoretically, increase of the bird and bat mortality due to their collision with the upgraded Wind Turbines with the blade extensions.

In the remaining environmental components, although some disturbances might occur during the period of the installation of the blade extensions, or throughout the operation phase of the wind farm, minimization measures and adequate procedures are implemented, which, according to specialists in environmental impacts, render the negative effects temporary and of little importance.

The positive impacts, however, are resultant from the exploration phase of the project, and are related with the increase of the production of the electrical energy through the use of a renewable source: the wind.

With the aim of evaluating and minimizing the expectable environmental impacts, EnergieKontor has developed a mortality monitoring plan directed to birds and bats, the animals which are potentially most affected with the operation of this project.

The mortality monitoring of birds and bats endeavor pan out during a minimum period of three consecutive years, beginning at from the moment in which the blade extensions are installed on the wind turbines. The mortality forecast around the wind turbines occur within a weekly period between the months of March and October of each year, in order to simultaneously include the period of activity of the bat species and the main phenological seasons of the birds (pre-nuptial migration, reproduction, juvenile dispersion and post-nuptial migration).

In accordance with the results obtained until this day, the blade extensions on the wind turbines of the Penedo Ruivo wind farm (in Portugal) did not cause any mortality of birds nor bats.

Further information on the advantages of the RBE installation in wind farms currently in exploration phase are available at the following website:

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