Impact on Wildlife
Note: counts do not include items in sub-categories
To help guide our own internal policy on wind energy, VNRC has developed a list of criteria that we feel is appropriate to consider for wind energy development. These criteria are not exclusive to state owned land, but rather focus on developing a vision for siting wind energy infrastructure in Vermont. We have included specific considerations for State lands as well.
The goal is to integrate the need to develop new in-state sources of renewable energy with protection of existing environmental values and public policy goals.
In my opinion [Mars Hill] is some of the prettiest acreage in Aroostook and I was very happy to come home to it, in fact…it was my dream.
... The turbines however, have changed most of that as the land that was once known for its remote nature, wildlife and solitude is now home to an industrial power plant. For anyone to say that a wind turbine facility has a low impact on the local environment… is irresponsible. Yet the industry and the media surrounding it seem insistent on making light of the problems that exist. The problems are real and they are hurting families emotionally, physically and economically. ...
ABSTRACT Wind energy development represents significant challenges and opportunities in contemporary wildlife management. Such challenges include the large size and extensive placement of turbines that may represent potential hazards to birds and bats. However, the associated infrastructure required to support an array of turbines—such as roads and transmission lines—represents an even larger potential threat to wildlife than the turbines themselves because such infrastructure can result in extensive habitat fragmentation and can provide avenues for invasion by exotic species. There are numerous conceptual research opportunities that pertain to issues such as identifying the best and worst placement of sites for turbines that will minimize impacts on birds and bats. Unfortunately, to date very little research of this type has appeared in the peer-reviewed scientific literature; much of it exists in the form of unpublished reports and other forms of gray literature. In this paper, we summarize what is known about the potential impacts of wind farms on wildlife and identify a 3-part hierarchical approach to use the scientific method to assess these impacts. The Lower Gulf Coast (LGC) of Texas, USA, is a region currently identified as having a potentially negative impact on migratory birds and bats, with respect to wind farm development. This area is also a region of vast importance to wildlife from the standpoint of native diversity, nature tourism, and opportunities for recreational hunting. We thus use some of the emergent issues related to wind farm development in the LGC—such as siting turbines on cropland sites as opposed to on native rangelands—to illustrate the kinds of challenges and opportunities that wildlife managers must face as we balance our demand for sustainable energy with the need to conserve and sustain bird migration routes and corridors, native vertebrates, and the habitats that support them. (JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 71(8):2487–2498; 2007)
BBC Research & Consulting's 2005 report for the National Wind Coordinating Committee that studies 9 wind plant sitings in an effort to identify circumstances that distinguish welcomed projects from projects that were not accepted by communities.
The generation of electricity by wind is a growing industry in Pennsylvania. While wind energy is certainly an attractive alternative to the pollution produced by fossil fuel power plants, all potential environmental impacts must be measured if electricity produced this way is to truly qualify as “green energy.” Surprisingly, only minimal environmental studies need to be done to site a wind farm in Pennsylvania. Improper siting of some wind farms in the U.S. has impacted migratory bird, resident bird, and bat populations. We present bird-impaction data from an industrial facility 30 km south of a proposed wind farm in Luzurne County, Pennsylvania, that suggest caution in the blind embrace of this energy technology. Siting decisions are made at the local government levels and are primarily based on economic incentives. We argue (a) that this energy alternative must incorporate robust site-specific impaction studies at each wind farm to demonstrate effects throughout the Commonwealth, and (b) that local government officials be given the guidance necessary to encourage and provide environmental oversight to wind farms in their areas.
This brochure provides a quick, but informative, summary of the key issues pertaining to wind energy development in Virginia and the Appalachian region. The document can serve as a start point for others preparing similar information materials for their community. Click on the link(s) at the bottom of this page to view the final layout including photos.
GAO Report. "The impact of wind power facilities on wildlife varies by region and by species....however, many wind power facilities in the United States have not been studied and, therefore, scientists cannot draw definitive conclusions about the threat that wind power poses to wildlife in general."
This report appeared in this month's edition of Advance for Audiologists, a trade magazine for professional audiologists.
Unprecedented numbers of migratory bats are found dead beneath industrial-scale wind turbines during late summer and autumn in both North America and Europe. This paper by Paul Cryan discusses how conservation laws are inadequate for protecting bats.