OSU researcher developing system to protect eagles from being ha - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU researcher developing system to protect eagles from being harmed by wind turbines

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An Oregon State University researcher is developing an intricate system designed to protect bald and golden eagles from being harmed by wind turbines.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Roberto Albertani, a professor of mechanical engineering at OSU, a $625,000 grant to develop a system that would reduce collisions between eagles and the blades of wind turbines.

Both bald and golden eagles are federally protected species, and commonly nest in areas that are ideal for wind farms.

Albertani's deterrent system, which is currently in its design phase, would utilize sensors and cameras and a computer algorithm that will be able to determine on approach whether a bird flying toward a turbine is an eagle or another species.

"If it is an eagle, the computer will start a deterrent, that is mainly very highly dynamic figures that will move on the ground, mimicking humans, because it seems that eagles are disturbed by human activity," said Albertani.

Albertani's research will be done primarily in New Mexico, but the technology he develops, if approved by the Department of Energy, could eventually be used at wind farms in Central Washington and Oregon.

Concerns about eagles led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recommend against the development of the Summit Ridge Wind Farm in Wasco County.

The Oregon Department of Energy eventually approved the project despite the concerns.

Albertani's system will begin as a pilot project, which will be studied for three years.

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