General and Impact on Wildlife
The state’s largest wildlife conservation organization commends the commissioners of Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission for their 6-1 decision today to deny a permit for a controversial wind-power project sited in a high-mountain Western Maine area zoned for protection and home to rare wildlife.
“Today we have seen LURC’s commissioners take action for which all Maine citizens can be grateful: They have upheld the laws that protect unique, spectacular areas in Maine,” said Jennifer Burns, staff attorney and advocate for Maine Audubon.
Wiscasset is being considered for the largest energy development proposal - and potentially the largest development project of any kind - in the history of the state.
A Toronto entrepreneur who has developed Canadian wind farms has floated the idea of building a massive $2 billion underground hydropower station at the old Maine Yankee nuclear power station site.
The project would be one of the first of its kind anywhere.
The proposal raises questions about impacts on the Back River and groundwater, and it would use as much energy as it creates.
The project today released the "Annual Report for the Maple Ridge Wind Power Project, Post-construction Bird and Bat Fatality Study - 2006" prepared by the consulting firm Curry and Kerlinger (May, 2007). The study concluded that "bird and bat fatalities found at the Maple Ridge turbines were within the range of fatalities found during late summer and fall migration at turbines in the United States."
Infrared monitoring shows that savvy seabirds steer clear of wind turbines.
Uncertainty surrounding wind power's impact on wildlife--particularly the potential for deadly collisions between birds and turbines--has tarnished its image and even delayed some wind farms. Indeed, the first large offshore wind farm proposed for U.S. waters--the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts's Nantucket Sound--has been held up in part by concerns that its 130 turbines could kill thousands of seabirds annually. Now a simple infrared collision-detection system developed by Denmark's National Environmental Research Institute is helping clear the air.
The Thermal Animal Detection System (TADS) is essentially a heat-activated infrared video camera that watches a wind turbine around the clock, recording deadly collisions much as a security camera captures crimes. The first results, released this winter as part of a comprehensive $15 million study of Denmark's large offshore wind farms, show seabirds to be remarkably adept at avoiding offshore installations. "There had been suggestions that enormous numbers of birds would be killed," says Robert Furness, a seabird specialist at the University of Glasgow, who chaired the study's scientific advisory panel. "There's a greater feeling now among European politicians that marine wind farms are not going to be a major ecological problem, and therefore going ahead with construction is not going to raise lots of political difficulties."
Bluewater Wind would like to put wind turbines at least 6 nautical miles, or nearly 7 regular miles, offshore for two reasons, a company official says.
"All our ornithologists and . . . all the avian experts tell us" that nearly all migratory bird flyways are much closer to land, and the issue of whether wind turbines can be seen is "almost a nonissue because it's so far out," said Jim Lanard, director of strategic planning and communications.
But David Mizrahi, an avian ecologist and vice president of research for the New Jersey Audubon Society, said, "I'd be a lot more cautious about (the bird issue) than he is."
Minister Ian Campbell last night seized on the gory death of an endangered wedge-tailed eagle after it collided with a turbine, vowing to push ahead with plans to strengthen his powers to veto wind farms.
The [Japanese] Environment Ministry is urgently trying to find ways to stop migrating birds from crashing into wind turbines amid government plans to dramatically increase this form of power generation.
BUZZARDS BAY — Researchers at Massachusetts Maritime Academy are studying how the school's new 241-foot wind turbine is affecting the flight patterns of birds that fly around the windy campus.
Congressman Alan Mollohan sent an 11-page letter to the state Division of Energy officials last week, criticizing a new state plan for developing industrial wind power sites, primarily in the state's northeastern counties.
State plans "entirely disregard the serious environmental concerns" raised by a number of critical studies prepared by the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said Mollohan, D-W.Va.
Citing state marketing efforts touting the state's scenic vistas and calm pace, he asked, "How do rows of 400-foot-high industrial and wind turbines, spread out over thousands of acres of ridgelines, fit into that picture?" ...James Webb, a University of Virginia research scientist, recently found that the Mountaineer Project in Tucker County operated at only 9 percent of its capacity during the month of August.
Webb calculated it would typically take nearly 3,000 huge wind turbines to match the power output of one conventional electric power plant.
News of a recently released consultants' study that found 123 birds and 326 bats dead - during a five-month period last year beneath approximately 50 turbines on the Tug Hill Plateau - has him worried the impact may be even more severe on birds and bats than the study found.
"It's not a good thing for avian life," Newhart said, adding he'd previously contacted Cornell University's ornithology department to check on impact turbines have. "I'm going to send this information out to Cornell to see if that engages them.
FURTHER objections have been made to plans to build four giant wind turbines near Hemsby.
The Broads Authority planning committee has joined Hemsby villagers and Ormesby St Margaret parish councillors in voicing its opposition to SLP Energy's scheme for the 125m high turbines.
The objections came at its committee meeting last Friday amid concerns about the detrimental impact on the countryside, outweighing the Authority's need to promote green energy. ...the development would also affect the ecology of the area, with large bird and bat populations at the wind farm site in an area known as the Trinity Broads which is bordered by Hall Farm Fen to the north, an area of fen grazing stretching to Hemsby.
Appalachian states lack strong and detailed guidelines to regulate the continued growth of wind power facilities along the Mid-Atlantic highlands, according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences.
A team of academy experts concluded that wind power can help offset the greenhouse emissions caused by coal and other fossil-fuel energy sources, but the projected growth of wind power in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania creates potential threats to bird and bat populations that are not fully understood, the academy study found.
Windmill "farms" also can cause other environmental problems and create legitimate aesthetic concerns for local communities - ranging from damage to scenic vistas to noise and "shadow flicker," a strobe-like effect created by rotating turbines, the report found.
"The United States is in the early stages of learning how to plan for and regulate wind-energy facilities," says the report, compiled by the National Academy's National Research Council.
The report said the cumulative effects of continued growth in wind power are unclear, and that further study is needed.
The MP for Blackpool North and Fleetwood, Joan Humble, has urged the government to consult fishermen about plans to build offshore wind farms.
Proposals for 90 turbines off the coast between Blackpool and Cleveleys are currently being discussed.
Joan Humble told the Commons the needs of fisherman and the impact it will have on them must be considered.
The Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, says if people want wind-farms they need to go somewhere.
The turbines will be connected to the National Grid and help contribute to government targets on renewable energy.
It would mean one of the world's biggest wind farms being clearly visible from the Fylde Coast.
But Mr Darling said: "We do need more renewable energy and it is all very well to agree with that but then to come along and say ‘not in my backyard' - we can't proceed on that basis."
ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido–Wind turbines that grace the terrain of this northern region may soon be painted fire-engine red and lit up at night: not for aesthetic reasons, but to stop low-flying birds from crashing into the whirling blades.
With reports of rare bird species being killed off by wind turbines in Hokkaido and elsewhere, companies that operate them are scrambling to find effective yet economically viable methods to make the units more environmentally friendly.
With the envisaged escalation of windfarm developments in the North Sea, the North Sea Regional Advisory Council (NSRAC)has taken the first steps towards producing a set of minimum standards for how the fishing sector and the offshore windfarm industry should consult with each other.But it emerged today that there is already a feeling that fishermen are being consulted too late in the planning process.
MP Alan Whitehead has thrown his weight behind plans to protect Hampshire's marine life and to allow for the development of offshore renewable energy farms.
Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead backed proposals for new legislation to halt destruction of the UK's marine environment, including the Solent.