Impact on Wildlife
Note: counts do not include items in sub-categories
The Cape Cod Commission (CCC) has asserted that the Cape Wind energy project qualifies as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) under Section 12(i) and 13(b) of the Cape Cod Commission Act. The CCC staff report can be accessed from this page.
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.
This compilation of scientific reports provides compelling evidence of significant bird mortality at windfarms. Its cumulative effect with other causes of bird deaths may bring many species to extinction - especially as captivity-bred specimens will be lacking turbine-free habitats where they can be released safely.
Attorney Jim Blackburn of the Coastal Habitat Alliance presents a comprehensive summary of the development and impacts of the Kenedy County wind farms in Texas.
This important letter details the inadequacy of the draft biological opinion prepared by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in reference to the proposed Shaffer Mountain Wind facility. An excerpt of the letter is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This document [DEIS] has not provided any demonstrable public need for the insignificant amount of power this facility is capable of producing. No valid, compelling local (or even statewide) economic reasons were offered to potentially offset the overwhelming negative impacts that will result if built.
This DEIS is abundant in quantity, but extremely lacking in quality of scientific analysis and entirely deficient in analysis in certain areas. Various mitigations offered are unacceptable or unworkable.
The following are areas of analysis that were either deficient or not performed at all:............
Comments submitted to the California Energy Commission regarding proposed guidelines for conducting post-construction bird-bat mortality surveys at wind energy facilities. These comments were submitted by Dan Boone, a wildlife biologist with over 30 years professional experience.
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.
The Wildlife Society's March Bulletin included this impacting paper by Dr. Shawn Smallwood who compares post-construction bird and bat fatality assessments conducted across the United States. He estimates 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012. As wind energy continues to expand, there is urgent need to improve fatality monitoring methods and address the levels of mortality.