Texas Christian University (TCU), FPL Group Inc. subsidiary FPL Energy LLC and Oxford University have formed a partnership and research initiative to better understand wind power development.
The five-year research initiative includes three primary focus areas, including wind turbine impact on birds and bats, wind turbine ecological impacts and socio-economic impacts of wind projects. The avian and bat impact assessment will focus on developing and testing statistically robust protocols for pre- and post-construction monitoring of avian and bat movement and mortality.
The ecological and climate research team will conduct a carbon analysis to assess the extent to which wind energy reduces atmospheric carbon. This research effort will also focus on ecological impacts of wind farms.
Both direct and indirect socio-economic impacts of wind projects will be analyzed on a local and regional basis. Measurements will include land-use revenue, taxes and employment. This study also will explore the impacts on local culture and customs, including a viewshed analysis to assess the aesthetic impact of wind projects.
The research will be coordinated by TCU's Institute for Environmental Studies and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute. The research effort will be funded by FPL Energy. All of the field research necessary for the project will be conducted at FPL Energy's wind farm locations across the U.S.