Impact on Birds
The Sheffield Wind Energy facility, a 40 megawatt project that went into service in October 2011, released the first season of bird/bat mortality. Total bird fatality estimates for the project site for the entire season was 211 (95% CI: 147, 321), with an estimated 13.17 birds killed per turbine (95% CI: 9.20, 20.05). A total of 87 bats of three species from 1 April-31 October, all of which were migratory tree-roosting bats. Bat carcasses were found at all 16 turbines. The full report can be found by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
This recent paper offers important data on how birds use wind flows to aid in flight and how modeling wind flow across complex terrain can assist in siting wind energy facilities to reduce avian mortality.
In this strongly worded letter sent to Heritage Sustainable Energy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service advises Heritage to table its plans to erect a commercial wind energy facility on the Garden Peninsula because of the high potential for avian mortalities and violations of Federal wildlife laws.
AES' Laurel Mountain wind energy facility in West Virginia experienced significant bird mortality over the weekend of October 1, 2011. Nearly 500 birds were reportedly killed after lights were left on at the electrical substation associated with the wind project. The deaths occurred due to collisions with the substation and apparent exhaustion as birds caught in the light's glare circled in mass confusion. The incident report of what happened can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This important report prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bend Field Office was submitted to the Energy Facility Siting Officer of the Oregon Department of Energy in reference to the proposed Summit Ridge Wind project. The project to be located in Wasco County Oregon, will include up to 87 wind turbines for a total generating capacity of approximately 200 megawatts. While much of the project site is agricultural land used for dry land winter wheat production, the proposed facility would be built on land one to four miles west of the Deschutes River Canyon extending from river mile 7 on the north end of the project boundary to river mile 31 on the south end. The Service expresses its concern regarding short and long-term Project impacts to migratory birds including bald and golden eagles and bats. Golden eagles, large stick nests, and bald eagles were recently documented in the project vicinity.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wet Virginia field office, issued these comments regarding the Pinnacle wind power project proposed for ridgelines in Mineral County, WV. The comments pertain to the Habitat Characterization and Assessment of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species for the Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009a); the Avian Risk Assessment for the Pinnacle Wind Power Project (Kerlinger 2009); and the Bat Risk Assessment: Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009b). Excerpts of the letter are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
As imperiled bird populations continue to increase, new challenges arise from the effects of growing numbers of communication towers, power lines, commercial wind facilities, and buildings. This paper briefly reviews steps the USFWS is taking to seriously address structural impacts to migratory birds. New findings will be briefly reviewed that address lighting impacts, new challenges facing birds from tower radiation, and collision and habitat fragmentation effects on avifauna.
This important report, which appeared in the Wildlife Society's Journal of Wildlife Management, details the effect on raptor and bird mortality following repowering a portion of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California (USA). Repowering involves removing older generation towers and replacing them with higher capacity -- and potentially better sited -- units. The abstract to this report appears below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This page contains links to letters sent between the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wild Service regarding whether wind power development is permitted in Wyoming's 'core sage grouse habitat area'. Brian Kelly of the USFWS states in his letter that “ . . . constructing wind farms in core areas, even for research purposes, prior to demonstrating it can be done with no impact to sage grouse, negates the usefulness of the core area concept as a conservation strategy and brings
into question whether adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place to protect the species.”