The Saratoga Sun -

An avian eye

New tower will help protect eagles


Photo courtesy Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power's bird observation tower at the Glenrock and Rolling Hills wind project near Rolling Hills, Wyoming. A similar structure will be constructed at the company's Seven Mile Hill wind project between Medicine Box and Hanna, Wyoming. These towers allow observers to minimize the risk of eagle collisions with wind turbines.

Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) is building an avian observation tower at its Seven Mile Hill wind farm between Medicine Bow and Hanna.

The purpose of the tower is to understand and minimize eagle collision risks with turbines according to Margaret Oler, with RMP. Oler said the company has protocols in place that will be bolstered by the observation tower. "When eagles appear to be at risk of collision with the wind turbines, the company takes wind turbines offline," Oler said, adding, "Using the new tower equipped with installed controls, our curtailment response now can be quicker. The observer can control the turbines in real time." RMP has been doing controlled curtailment since 2012.

Construction on the tower began in late October and is expected to be finished with the next week. The tower will be 30 ft tall with a 10 square foot platform on top that will afford remote observers a 360 view of the wind farm. Informed curtailment became part of RMPs Migratory Bird Compliance Plan in 2014 according to Oler.

RMP already has similar towers at their Glenrock and Rolling hills wind farms in Wyoming.


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