General and Impact on Wildlife
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.
A HOTEL owner is being driven batty by planning delays for a wind turbine that could bring green power to his business.
Stuart McGlynn, who owns the Norwood Hotel, Whalley Road, Accrington, hopes to place a small turbine on the side of his detached house, behind the hotel.
But the possibility that a bat population may be roosting nearby has put a temporary halt to the plans until a wildlife survey is carried out.
Now, the state Public Service Board is refusing to approve the money that would have gone to the utility for removing the dam in Milton, a few miles upstream from where the Lamoille River flows into the lake.
The board said it had to weigh the benefits to fish against the environmental benefits of generating enough power for 3,000 typical Vermont homes without discharging greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, citing a 2005 law that calls on the state to get an increasing share of its power from renewable sources.
Recent cases involving wind power projects "have illustrated the difficulty in siting renewable energy projects in Vermont," the board said. "Although Peterson Dam does not constitute a new renewable generation source" like those envisioned in Act 61, "it is a stably priced, existing renewable energy source that state policy declares should be 'retained and supported'."
Local crab fishermen are concerned about the impact that the Naikun Wind Farm proposed for the Hecate Strait will have on their fishery, and want to hear more specifics from the company.
“We only fish a fraction of Area A because the crab seem to like it where it is shallow. The Haida Energy Field is almost dead on the area that we crab…We have told Naikun that if they want to run towers in Hecate Strait then go for it, but don’t put it where the crabs are,” said Jeff Gould with the Area A Crab Association.
Despite a recent endorsement from the National Audubon Society and improvements in bird-friendly technology, there is still some opposition to wind power.
In a recent article, John Flicker, president of the NAS, told the American Wind Energy Association that Audubon “strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source.” Research showing prospective effects of climate change on bird populations demonstrated a need for prevention, one approach being renewable energy. The NAS has acknowledged the possible advantages of wind, while still encouraging extensive preconstruction research; however organizations such as National Wind Watch and the Humane Society remain skeptical.
Victorian Nationals leader Peter Ryan says the approval of the Bald Hills wind farm in South Gippsland has divided the community.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has changed his previous decision to block the project.
Senator Campbell originally withdrew approval for the wind farm, saying it could threaten the orange-bellied parrot.
Mr Ryan says Bald Hills is an inappropriate location and it is up to the State Government to create a better planning scheme for wind farms.
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has given the go-ahead for the $220 million Bald Hills wind farm, reversing a controversial decision based on a perceived threat to the rare orange-bellied parrot.
Senator Campbell today said the wind farm had been given federal approval subject to key changes to the turbine layout and strict conditions to protect the parrot and other threatened species.
But local Liberal MP Russell Broadebent and environment groups immediately attacked the reversal.
A resolution to officially oppose 40 planned windmills just outside of town is expected to be approved at tonight’s City Council meeting.
“There’s nothing binding. It’s just a resolution to the Board of Supervisors of Riverside County” declaring the council’s position, Councilwoman Yvonne Parks said.
Windmill developer PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., is proposing the project and must ask for several variances from the county Planning Commission to do so. The project must ultimately be approved by the county Board of Supervisors.
The City Council’s opposition comes in conjunction with a grass-roots movement by residents to stop the 327-foot wind turbines.
In an effort to limit bat and bird kills by windmills, the Pennsylvania Game Commission yesterday suggested a voluntary agreement with wind-farm developers.
The proposal is an “intermediate step” in protecting birds and bats from the whirling blades, said William A. Capouillez, director of the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management.
“It’s not quite where we want to be from a regulatory standpoint, but it’s better than what we have now,” he said. “No other state has anything similar.”
The Game Commission is charged with protecting all the state’s wildlife.
The company behind controversial plans to site the world’s largest onshore wind farm in the Western Isles last night strongly denied that pressing ahead with the project would breach European rules on protecting wildlife.
Lewis Wind Power (LWP), which is jointly owned by Amec and British Energy, was reacting to claims that the European Commission could rule that the proposal broke its conservation laws as other sites across Scotland had not been considered for the massive project.
Wildlife campaigners yesterday argued that European directives, which are binding on member states, require developers of wind farms to look at options across the country, not just in the Western Isles.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Scotland said that the plan to build 181 turbines in Lewis was covered by these rules and, therefore, that the Scottish Executive, which will have the final say, should not give it the go-ahead.
Plans to build the world’s biggest onshore wind farm on the Western Isles could be thwarted by European officials, who believe they breach laws protecting sensitive wildlife habitats.
The European commission believes that proposals to build more than 180 turbines on Lewis are flawed, because developers have failed to assess other less sensitive sites across Scotland.
The Lewis turbines, each more than 460ft high, would stretch for more than 25 miles through peatland protected under European Union conservation laws. The area is home to eight species of Europe’s most endangered birds, including golden eagles, red-throated divers and merlin.
After being twice urged to do so by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Liberty Gap LLC has volunteered to seek a permit for the incidental “take” of endangered species.
In doing so, the company has asked the West Virginia Public Service Commission not to consider its proposed wind energy project’s impacts on other wildlife.
But PSC staff has urged the commission to deny that request.
Sandy Bivens and other birders took turns over the fall inspecting the ground around a hilltop television tower near White Bridge Road.
Each morning, one of them would pick up the birds that died flying into the WSMV-Channel 4 tower or its guy wires.
The long-running battle between country folk and government over windfarms took a new twist today as a war broke out between the Scottish Executive and a conservation body which has called for more “green” electricity generation.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and its Scottish branch have in the past angered many rural communities for being outspoken supporters of wind farms - which mainly serve towns and cities but are always located in the countryside.
But the Scottish RSPB today issued an outspoken protest about re-designed plans to build the UK’s largest windfarm on the Isle of Lewis, in the Western Isles, which it says is “one of Scotland’s most sensitive and important sites for wildlife.”
How many birds and bats are killed by the rotating blades of wind turbines?
How many such deaths are acceptable to increase our electricity supply?
Those are two unresolved questions for Pennsylvania’s wind-power industry.
OAKLAND Calif. – A blue-ribbon Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and an Avian Monitoring Team appointed by Alameda County to study bird fatalities at Altamont Pass has begun a groundbreaking monitoring program aimed at finding solutions for reducing the high number of birds of prey killed at some wind turbines.
This monitoring effort is intended to detect trends in bird mortality at Altamont Pass and evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation measures implemented to reduce avian mortality. The goal is to reduce deaths of target raptor species by 45 percent.
Nimby-ism (Notin My Back) is almost understandable when talking about a gas pipeline or an ugly McMansion. But when it comes to environmentally friendly, quiet and- some say- beautiful windmills, an astonishing number of people are saying "no". Melanie Wold asks, "Why? Is it all the dead seagulls?"
Editor's Note: This article appeared in the October 2006 issue of Shattered Magazine. The pdf version is available via the link below.
A Tasmanian wind farm located near known habitats of the orange-bellied parrot was approved before new information revealed risks to the birds from the turbine blades, Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell says.
In April this year, Senator Campbell overturned Victorian government approval for a 52-turbine wind farm at Bald Hills in Gippsland, using his discretionary powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
Despite a departmental report indicating there would be negligible impact on the species, an independent Biosis report found more serious concerns about parrot deaths.
The minister acted, blocking the $220 million project.
Both supporters and opponents of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm are hailing the findings of recent research on the environmental impact of Danish offshore wind turbines.
Supporters of Cape Wind Associates' plan to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound say the research released last week at an international conference supports their contention that wind farms pose little threat to wildlife. But Cape Wind foes say the Danish research highlights the need to carefully study the environmental impact of offshore wind turbines on a case-by-case basis.
THE number of wedge-tailed eagle deaths at a Tasmanian windfarm may be higher than officially acknowledged.
Up to six of the endangered eagles may have been killed in the past year after being struck by turbines at the Woolnorth windfarm in the far North-West.
Windfarm operator Roaring 40s, jointly owned by Hydro Tasmania and China Light and Power, puts this year's official death toll at four.
However, a further two eagles found dead at the windfarm this year are not included in the tally.