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Ecological Impact of Airborne Wind Energy Technology: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Agenda

  • Leo Bruinzeel
  • Erik Klop
  • Allix Brenninkmeijer
  • Jaap Bosch
Chapter
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)

Abstract

In this first review on the subject we describe the ecological impact of airborne wind energy technologies in general, with a particular focus on the rigid wing system developed by Ampyx Power. The chapter outlines a framework consisting of disturbance, ecological sensitivity, impact and legal aspects. We conclude that between 2–13 birds will collide annually with the autonomous aircraft alone. A challenging aspect is to estimate the mortality caused by the tether. Based on data from studies on power lines we find that a tether, that is one kilometer long and active all year round, will cause approximately 11 bird victims per year. For a tethered aircraft active only during the day and only with sufficiently strong wind an estimate of 5–15 bird fatalities per year will be realistic. This estimate is comparable to the number of fatalities found at average wind turbines. These figures can be ten times higher or lower depending on the bird activity at the specific deployment site. We provided a model for the mortality based on the specific characteristics of a bird species. A challenging future task will be the validation of this model considering that evidence suggest that birds can survive an encounter with the tether.

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Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the boards of Ampyx Power and Altenburg & Wymenga, in particular Joris Latour, to allocate time for us to write this chapter. We would like to thank Roland Schmehl and Prabu Sai Manoj M of Delft University of Technology for assistance during the writing stage. Roland Schmehl kindly provided the rare photograph that was taken by Max Dereta. The financial support of the European Commission through the project AMPYXAP3 (H2020-SMEINST-666793) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Altenburg & Wymenga ecological consultants B.V.FeanwâldenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Ampyx Power B.VThe HagueThe Netherlands

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