Impact on Wildlife and Canada
The special nature of the place that we inhabit, including the importance of the habitat and flyway, when taken with the scale of the wind energy projects proposed, the lack of a process to assess cumulative review, and the initial indications of substantial impacts to birds and bats, all lead us to conclude that wind projects proposed for our area should not proceed further until the Wolfe Island Wind post-construction wildlife impact study is completed and a cumulative wildlife impact assessment involving the US and Canadian governments has occurred.
The below letter, written by the Nor'Wester Mountain Escarpment Protection Committee, requests the Ontario Ministers of Energy and Infrastructure and of the Environment to intervene and stop the approval of an industrial wind energy facility on the Nor'Wester Mountain Range and the Loch Lomond Watershed in the Thunder Bay Area.
Thousands of industrial-scale wind turbines are being built across the world each year to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy. Bats of certain species are dying at wind turbines in unprecedented numbers. Species of bats consistently affected by turbines tend to be those that rely on trees as roosts and most migrate long distances. Although considerable progress has been made in recent years toward better understanding the problem, the causes of bat fatalities at turbines remain unclear. In this synthesis, we review hypothesized causes of bat fatalities at turbines. Hypotheses of cause fall into 2 general categories—proximate and ultimate. Proximate causes explain the direct means by which bats die at turbines and include collision with towers and rotating blades, and barotrauma. Ultimate causes explain why bats come close to turbines and include 3 general types: random collisions, coincidental collisions, and collisions that result from attraction of bats to turbines. The random collision hypothesis posits that interactions between bats and turbines are random events and that fatalities are representative of the bats present at a site. Coincidental hypotheses posit that certain aspects of bat distribution or behavior put them at risk of collision and include aggregation during migration and seasonal increases in flight activity associated with feeding or mating. A surprising number of attraction hypotheses suggest that bats might be attracted to turbines out of curiosity, misperception, or as potential feeding, roosting, flocking, and mating opportunities. Identifying, prioritizing, and testing hypothesized causes of bat collisions with wind turbines are vital steps toward developing practical solutions to the problem.
Mr. Schneider, a retired biologist from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and a 38-year resident of Cape Vincent, provided these compelling comments in response to Canadian Hydro Developers' environmental review report on the Wolfe Island wind project. The first page of his letter is provided below. The full text can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
So, before we proclaim victory against our profligate use of fossil fuels in the last 50 years, politicians and environmental groups might ponder the huge costs in dollars and environmental damage before 20-storey windmills festoon our coastlines, our sea lanes and our beautiful Quebec hills.
The development of commercial wind power that is currently fashionable is potentially misguided, ineffective and neither environmentally nor socially benign; but it is the right of citizens of rural areas to enjoy both clean and safe energy generation and an unspoiled countryside.