General and Impact on Wildlife
Schemes to monitor the bat population will be carried out all over Ireland this summer amid concerns the population of the endangered species has dropped dramatically.
Despite being protected by law, the nocturnal flying mammals are being affected by hedgerow removals, the renovation of old buildings, bridge work and pesticides.
Plans to build a windfarm in the far north that would have been the biggest in Britain have been scaled down to protect birds.
In November 2002, North British Windpower (NBW) revealed proposals for a £75million development on the Skelpick Estate, near Bettyhill, in Sutherland, that would have been three times bigger than any windfarm operating in the UK at that time.
The company hoped to erect 50 turbines with a capacity of over 100megawatts - enough power to supply 84,000 households, or the equivalent to 90% of the homes in the Highland region.
But the Edinburgh-based energy company went back to the drawing board after it was discovered that some of the turbines were on the flight path of birds from the nearby Caithness and Sutherland Special Protection Area.
Managing director Andrew Shaw said yesterday they were now proposing 22 turbines, measuring about 410ft to tip of blade and producing just under 50MW of electricity. The development was now expected to cost about £40million.
RYE area farmer and conservationist Phillip Merricks is involved in a High Court challenge to the government decision to allow a wind farm to be built near Camber.
Mr Merricks insists the controversial plans would damage protected bird populations if built at Little Cheyne Court, a few miles east of Rye.
The Mexican government is preparing a big wind energy project, but peasant farmers and bird experts aren’t too happy about it.
The government’s aim is for wind-generated electricity — which now accounts for just 0.005 percent of the energy generated in Mexico — to reach six percent by 2030. The project has the blessing of some big corporations and environmentalists.
Achieving that goal involves setting up more than 3,000 turbines in Mexico’s windiest zone, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the southern state of Oaxaca, as well as several other wind farms around the country with dozens of turbines each.
But erecting the windmills, tall towers with a 27-metre blade span, requires negotiating with landowners, most of whom are farmers. Some have complained that they were taken advantage of when the first wind farm was created in 1994.
Meanwhile, ornithologiests experts warn that many bird species are at risk of being killed by the giant blades, which could cause an environmental chain reaction across the continent, because various birds are migratory.
“Everything is bent towards facilitating the wind farms, but there is not much interest in the birds, which in the long term could bring much broader problems,” RaGBPl Ortiz-Pulido, spokesman for the Mexican office of BirdLife International, told Tierramerica.
A controversial application for a 14 turbine windfarm in a scenic area of Argyll frequented by young golden eagles will be debated by planners this summer.
A proposal by npower renewables to erect a windfarm at Allt Dearg, on moorland south of Lochgilphead overlooking Loch Fyne, was lodged with Argyll and Bute Council a year ago.
A host of objections on various grounds came in, including visual impact and the potential adverse impact of the windfarm on golden eagles and other local rare bird species.
Bats are being put in danger by the increasing number of wind turbines in Lincolnshire, it has been claimed.
Some conservationists have said turbines in the US and Europe have had a serious impact on bat populations.
The Bat Conservation Trust has called for talks with the renewable energy industry for more research ahead of more wind farms being built.
But the local Green Party dismissed the idea saying there was no evidence impact was significant.
Plans to build 16 wind turbines across a historic bridleway could decimate a local stables business.
Up to 120 horses and ponies use Three Shires Way at Nun Wood, near Lavendon, Bozeat and Harrold but, if approved, the 125m high turbines would surround the animals.
Milton Keynes Council is currently listening to objections to Npower’s application, including the concerns of the family-run Lower Farm Stables, on Castle Road.
There are fears that horse riders would no longer be able to use the bridleway as the noise and light disturbance from the 90m blades would create a potential safety hazard.
The British Horse Society recommend that turbines should be no nearer than 375m from bridleways but at Nun Wood some would be as close as 215m.
"There's a direct problem with bats and birds of prey, but it's very difficult to get solid knowledge because the people who put the environmental statements together for the wind power developers underplay the situation and underestimate the ornithological and ecological interest in the area. They say, ‘no evidence' but, actually, the evidence hasn't been gathered.
RICHMOND — Formal respondents in Highland New Wind Development’s case pending before the State Corporation Commission are adding to a long list of concerns expressed already by a variety of state agencies. Among those who have weighed in recently are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which expresses serious doubts about environmental reviews conducted thus far.
A last-minute letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prompted the Riverside County Planning Commission to postpone a vote Wednesday on dozens of 327-foot wind turbines proposed for land north of Palm Springs and west of Desert Hot Springs.
While many property owners spoke out against the project and commissioners unanimously decided to delay the vote until May 16, most commissioners expressed support for the project.
A federal judge in Austin dismissed a lawsuit that sought to prevent further construction of two Kenedy County wind farm projects.
The suit was filed in December by the Coastal Habitat Alliance, a nine-member environmental group that includes King Ranch, claiming the projects would cause irrevocable damage to the environment and birds. The alliance also filed a suit in state court that was dismissed earlier this year.
The wind farm projects, by Australian-based Babcock and Brown Ltd. and Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables, formerly PPM Energy, continued with site preparation and initial construction and erection of wind turbines
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In a move with direct significance for the Mid-Atlantic, the U.S. Interior Department today released its final proposal for regulating offshore wind turbines and other "alternative" energy projects in federally controlled waters.
Although work on detailed regulations will continue into next year, the agency plans to take applications during the next 60 days for permits to conduct offshore research on wind or other unconventional energy around the nation's Outer Continental Shelf. ...Several large national environmental groups have supported the offshore proposals for wind. But the American Bird Conservancy, American Littoral Society and others took opposing stands, urging the Interior Department to limit the projects and study threats to birds and fish in greater detail.
Proposals for wind farms in the Valley are whipping up opposing viewpoints about the structures' effects on wildlife, local vistas and energy production.
Opponents say the turbines, each hundreds of feet tall, would mar the local landscape and endanger bats and birds, some of which are federally protected.
But proponents say the farms can be built with minimum impact on the environment to offer clean, alternative energy and a break from the nation's dependency on foreign oil. ...After studying maps and coordinates provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, consultant D. Daniel Boone, a conservation biologist and policy analyst, said the FreedomWorks' project could negatively affect untouched areas of the George Washington National Forest.
"Other than a power line and one small road which crosses between Hardy and Shenandoah counties, the project area is completely undisturbed forest with no sign of logging roads or clear-cuts," Boone stated.
Pacific Hydro has written to the state and federal governments to find out if endangered species are found on an area of land the company has earmarked for a wind farm.
The $150 million Crowlands wind farm comprises 72 turbines across 18 properties, north-east of Ararat.
The company's Andrew Richards says the governments' response will determine whether an environmental effects statement will be needed.
"Flora and fauna, whether they're on the endangered species list, or threatened species list, that kind of thing," he said.
"This is a matter of course for all forms of development, they need to go through this referral process.
"While we have had our own independent studies undertaken on this site, we still need to go through this process to check with state and federal levels to make sure we haven't missed anything."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish a notice in the March 13 edition of the Federal Register seeking volunteers to serve on a committee that will offer guidance to the agency on the effects of wind energy on wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Nicholas Throckmorton said that he expects the committee to be formed by summer or early fall 2007.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service is looking, specifically, for experts on bird, bat and bat interactions, as well as habitat issues associated with wind turbines," Throckmorton told SNL Energy. "We are looking for around 20 volunteers from state, tribal and federal agencies on both the wildlife and wind turbine design side ... as well as wind turbine businesses, engineers, site selectors, etc."
Throckmorton said one of the main thrusts of the committee will be to identify the big issues facing the siting of wind turbines.
The Fish and Wildlife Service issued draft interim voluntary guidelines in July 2003 that were not popular with the wind industry.
The state's largest commercial fishing organization is publicly challenging assertions by the developer of the Cape Wind project that their offshore wind energy project will actually improve fishing in Nantucket Sound.
The Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP), which is comprised of 18 commercial fishing organizations, decided to take its message to the airwaves in a TV commercial now appearing on several channels, said Executive Director David Bergeron, "because the public needs to know that sustainable commercial fishing would be impacted and displaced" by the Cape Wind development project on Horseshoe Shoal.
Plans for a new £4 million community wind farm on the Shetland island of Yell have been stalled because three pairs of nesting birds abandoned their eggs before they hatched.
The North Yell Development Council (NYDC) had hoped to start erecting five 850KW Vesta turbines between the villages of Cullivoe and Gutcher next year.
Forest and Bird would look at supporting smaller wind farm projects, such as the one near Gore by TrustPower, but not Project Hayes.
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society vice-president Janet Ledingham told the commissioners hearing Meridian Energy's Project Hayes application yesterday the group was not sure whether other places in Central Otago would be suitable for wind farms.
"Central Otago is one of the most difficult areas because of the landscape," she said.