Cattle Hill wind farm set to test new eagle protection technology

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New technology designed to protect eagles from being injured or killed by wind turbines farms is ready to be tested at Tasmania’s 144MW Cattle Hill project.

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New technology designed to protect eagles from being injured or killed by wind farms is ready to be tested at Tasmania’s 144MW Cattle Hill project, where the first turbine began spinning in July.

The successful installation and first-time trial of the IdentiFlight technology was announced on Wednesday by its developers of the same same, and the developer of the Cattle Hill project, Goldwind Australia.

Goldwind said on Tuesday it was installing the IdentiFlight aerial monitoring and detection system at the wind farm – currently under construction – to mitigate its impact on the endangered Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle.

The technology uses tower-mounted optical units to detect flying objects, and then algorithms to identify them as eagles. The system then sends a signal to shut down any specific wind turbine, if an eagle’s speed and flight path puts it on a collision path with that turbine.

Goldwind announced plans to trial the technology less than a year ago, with 16 of the optical units will be installed across the entire project to mitigate the Central Highlands wind farm’s impact on the endangered Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Death and injury caused to birds by wind farms is a common complaint against the technology, although solid figures on this – in particular, in comparison to other energy technologies – have not been easy to come by.

Another wind farm proposed for Tasmania, the Robbins Island wind farm planned for the state’s western coast attracted opposition from an unlikely critic, former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, who cited the potential impact on eagle populations amongst the reasons for why the wind farm should not go ahead.

The sudden uptick in planned wind farms in Australia’s island state – to be built in connection with the battery of the nation project – has prompted Birdlife Tasmania to call for a strategic approach to all wind projects from both state and federal governments.

“We’re very pleased to partner with the IdentiFlight team as the first wind farm in Australia to trial this newly available innovative eagle monitoring and detection technology,” said Goldwind managing director John Titchen.

“The system is one of the project’s key initiatives to mitigate Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle impacts and we look forward to sharing the results of this Australian trial following the wind farm becoming operational.”

“The system is one of the project’s key initiatives to mitigate Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle impacts and we look forward to sharing the results of this Australian trial following the wind farm becoming operational.”

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