FARM BID TO SAVE EAGLES
THE Cattle Hill Wind Farm taking shape in the Central Highlands will introduce innovative technology to help reduce the number of wedgetailed eagle deaths attributed to Tasmanian infrastructure.
Cattle Hill Wind Farm proponent Goldwind Australia yesterday announced it will install an aerial monitoring and detection technology system at the $300 million project site in a bid to mitigate the impact on the endangered wedge-tailed eagle population.
The tower-mounted technology by IdentiFlight is designed to detect and photograph flying objects, and use algorithms to identify them as eagles.
If an eagle’s speed and flight path indicates a risk of collision with a turbine, the turbine will be shut down.
Goldwind managing director John Titchen said the inno- vative technology, which would see 16 units deployed across the site’s 48 turbines, was a first of its kind in Australia.
Birdlife Tasmania’s Dr Eric Woehler said any proposal to protect the life of an endangered species was welcomed but the technology’s only measure of success would be if no eagles were killed.
“Anything that can reduce the risk of collision has to be welcomed because we’re seeing increasing incidents of wind turbines in Tasmania killing birds and we don’t want the generation of clean, green energy come at the cost of wiping out an endangered species,” he said.
“The benchmark of success with this project is the absence of eagles killed over the lifetime of the wind farm. Let’s look at it in year’s time to see if there’s been no eagles killed.”
The Tasmanian wedgetailed eagle population is declining and is made up of fewer than 1000 adult birds.
Mr Woehler’s concerns come after TasNetworks released an annual report in August revealing 29 wedge-tailed eagles were found dead after colliding with electrical network infrastructure — more than double the wedge-tailed eagle deaths recorded last year.