General and Impact on Wildlife
Following State Corporation Commission's decision in March to remand the case to its hearing examiner for further review on environmental concerns, months of testimony have been submitted and reviewed.
This week, the hearing examiner, Alexander J. Skirpan, submitted another report to commissioners, this time recommending "robust" monitoring of the potentially adverse impacts to wildlife, for the expected 20-year life of the project. ...Skirpan had previously concluded HNWD's project be approved by the SCC. But commissioners wanted to know what kind of details a monitoring and mitigation plan would include, rather than leaving those issues up to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and HNWD.
The State Corporation Commission on Friday sent a proposal for Virginia's first utility-grade wind farm back to a hearing examiner for development of a plan to mitigate harm to rare birds and bats on Highland County ridges.
In recommending approval last month for construction of 19 turbines, SCC hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan found that the Highland New Wind Development proposal posed a risk to birds and bats. Skirpan recommended a monitoring program, developed by the company and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, to reduce the environmental hazard.
Using a radio transmitter the size of a shelled pea, John Chenger is studying an endangered bat population that hibernates in an abandoned rail tunnel near the Allegheny Tunnel on the state Turnpike.
On April 17, he and his associates at Bat Conservation and Management of Carlisle joined with Sanders Environmental Inc. Centre Hall to tag 15 Indiana bats as the came out of hibernation.
"We're trying to figure out where they go," Chenger explained. "Do they go five miles? Do they go 300 miles? It just isn't very well understood at this point."
Wind turbines in Barrow's Tesco car park are being blamed for claiming the lives of seagulls.
Kamikaze birds have been coming off second best when clashing with the giant rotating blades of the eco-friendly turbines.
The Evening Mail's Cornwallis page recently reported the bodies of three dead gulls were found at the foot of one of the towers two weeks ago.
Now a Walney man, who did not wish to be named, has told of his surprise after a trip to buy lunch left him and his partner spitting feathers.
After stepping out of their car the pair were splattered with freshly killed seagull remains after another hapless bird flew to its death.
Nearby Johnstown Township is higher in elevation, but the environment doesn't bode well for turbines, Slaymaker said. Parts of the town reach 1,051 to 1,079 feet in elevation, but much of that area is wooded, he said. Aside from the physical obstructions, wooded areas bring more environmental concerns such as birds and bats, he said.
Town of La Prairie officials have not had formal discussion about writing a wind farm ordinance, but they know it's coming, town Chairman Michael Saunders said.
"Unfortunately, in the town business we've got to know more and more about less and less," he said. "This is one issue I've started to watch on the horizon."
A Shetland businessman says his livelihood is threatened by a windfarm plan. Paul Featherstone rears around 180,000 sea trout smolts annually at his hatchery in Weisdale, which - after having been grown into sizable fish in sea cages - are being sold as organic sea trout to customers throughout the UK.
His business, Shetland Sea Trout Ltd, heavily depends on continually pristine water qualities in the Burn of Weisdale, which feeds the tanks baby fish are being kept in.
Yesterday, he said that plans to build around 30 of the 168 turbines planned upstream of his hatchery would "seriously" affect his business.
Mr Featherstone's fear is that due to major construction and engineering work the peat bog in the upper half of the Kergord Valley will be destabilised and thus massive peat run offs will flush through the Burn of Weisdale.
OGLE TOWNSHIP - Local conservation groups are working to document the health of a number of streams that face potential impact from both future wind turbine and mining projects......
Shortly after, the first of 192 fish was scooped out of the water, stunned by the electrical pulse emitted by Kagel's rig. Among the catch were 21 trout, some so small they were indicative of natural reproduction, said Reckner, the program director for the stream team.
Finding that sections of Piney and Cub Run sustain the natural reproduction of trout species has led to them being classified as exceptional-value by the state.
The Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. wants to lease or buy from the state Department of Wildlife Conservation a portion of the Cooper Wildlife Management Area in northwest Oklahoma for its power-generating wind turbines.
It's curious that state wildlife commissioners would consider such a proposal when state wildlife officials have been clamoring that more public hunting land is needed in Oklahoma. ...At issue for state wildlife commissioners is to what extent would numerous wind turbines disturb wildlife on Cooper? And what kind of policy would they be creating if they choose to lease Cooper for a wind farm?
No doubt, other WMAs in western Oklahoma such as Beaver, Sandy Sanders and Packsaddle will be targeted for wind energy as well.
Sue Selman of Buffalo, president of Save The Prairie and an owner of the historic Selman Ranch north of Woodward, is against any wind turbines on Cooper. ..."Placing wind turbines on the Cooper Wildlife Management Area will fragment and destroy a large quantity of (wildlife) habitat," she said. "It's a gross injustice to our part of the state, to wildlife and to hunting."
The Sierra Club will announce its conditional support today for the Nantucket Sound wind farm, saying it would provide clean energy without posing a significant threat to wildlife habitat or birds.
Alameda County supervisors approved the initial phase of a monitoring system that will study the impact the Altamont windmills have on scores of birds — including golden eagles, red tail hawks, burrowing owls and other protected species.
The board unanimously approved the $610,000, six-month program after hesitating in July to support a $3 million, three-year plan to monitor bird deaths in the Altamont. At that July meeting, supervisors agreed to cap the program — to be paid for by the turbine operators in the Altamont — at $2 million, saying costs for the monitoring had spiraled out of control.
The monitoring program will be a collaborative operation of UC Santa Cruz, WEST Inc. and Jones & Stokes, the top three bidders for the project. The group will monitor avian deaths at the 5,400 windmills east of Livermore.
Causing an animal to become uncomfortable, disoriented, and unable to find food is typically viewed as cruel behavior. But when it comes to bats, researchers are doing just that-and it may save their lives.
Scientists are testing a new device that may decrease insect-eating bats' attractions to wind turbines. The instrument emits ultrasound, or sound with a frequency greater than humans can hear, but is audible to certain animals like dogs and bats. Over the next several weeks, scientists will see if ultrasound deters the flying mammals from going near turbines on wind farms in Oregon and New York. If the tests are successful, the speaker-sized devices could be attached to wind turbines to repel bats, which are frequently killed at night by the swiftly rotating blades.
NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project.
"I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.
A Pennsylvania company is asking the O'Malley administration for leases in two Western Maryland state forests so it can clear up to 400 mountaintop acres to build about 100 wind turbines.
The U.S. Wind Force structures would be about 40 stories tall and visible from some of the region's most popular tourist areas, including Deep Creek Lake and the Savage River Reservoir. ...Dan Boone, a former state wildlife biologist who has been fighting wind farms in Western Maryland, said the Savage River and Potomac state forests contain rare old-growth trees and threatened species.
"You are talking about taking one of the most spectacular scenic overlooks in Maryland and industrializing it," Boone said of a proposed site on Meadow Mountain in the Savage River forest. "It would be a real tragedy to take state lands and convert them into an industrial theme park for U.S. Wind Force."
On Monday New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee is going to begin evaluating a proposed renewable energy project for Coos county.
Granite Reliable Power wants to put up 33 wind turbines on nine miles of ridgeline across Millsfield, Dixville and Dummer.
The project would go a long way to increasing the state's renewable energy portfolio.
But as NHPR Correspondent Chris Jensen reports, it has a great deal of opposition.
The California Energy Commission will host a two-day workshop in Bakersfield later this month to develop statewide guidelines that protect birds and bats from death or injury from running into the whirling blades of the state’s thousands of windmills.
The issue has seen extensive legal action over windmills in the Altamont Pass, which connects the Central Valley to the Bay Area.
“Currently, wind projects are handled at the local level; there are no statewide guidelines in place to help reduce the impacts of wind development on birds and bats,” says Energy Commissioner John Geesman.
The September 20, 2006 VDGIF letter states: “We support the use of alternative energy sources, including wind energy. However, based on review of the information provided thus far by the Highland project applicant, in the absence of accountable mitigation conditions . . . we feel this project presents an unacceptable risk to wildlife.”
The Pennsylvania Biological Survey has gone to bat for the bats in a swirling policy debate over whether commercial wind power development should be permitted in state forests.
The debate pits advocates of wind power as an alternative energy source against those who fear that windmills are harmful to bats and birds.
Is the region’s explosion of windmills a threat to migrating birds, including golden eagles?
A fledgling partnership between the National Aviary and the Johnstown-based Allegheny Plateau Chapter of the Audubon Society is working to answer that question.
The groups are trapping golden eagles as they migrate past the Allegheny Front Hawkwatch near Central City. Global positioning transmitters are attached to the birds’ backs to track their movements.
The study is designed to provide information that may help to save one of the most majestic birds of eastern North America from the perceived threat posed by the rapid development of wind farms along a critical migration route.
Now those concerned about prairie chickens wonder whether a competing and more commercially marketable sound - that of the wind - will impact the chickens' booming. Research being conducted in this area under the direction of KSU biology professors Samantha Wisely and Brett Sandercock seeks to determine how the development of wind energy might impact prairie chickens.
Florida Power & Light Co.'s proposal to put six wind turbines on company-owned property near the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant might affect several threatened species of wildlife, according to a recently released analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
According to the findings, FPL's proposal would have "a substantial adverse impact" on federally managed fisheries in the south Atlantic region and wetlands, the report states.