Impact on Wildlife and Impact on People
Nearly all of some 175 landowners raised their hands during a meeting here Friday when a West Texas lawmaker asked how many wanted legislators to oppose billionaire T. Boone Pickens' efforts to obtain rights of way for water pipeline and electricity transmission lines.
The lines would also pass through parts of Archer, Hardeman, Jack, Wichita and Wilbarger counties. A similar meeting has been scheduled Thursday in Holliday.
One landowner shouted "Do it," during the show of hands urging lawmakers fight Pickens' attempts to obtain rights of way to build the world's largest wind farm and to ship water from the Panhandle to thirsty areas downstate.
No one - not even Pickens' representatives - raised their hands when state Sen. Bob Duncan asked who wanted lawmakers to support the projects.
From the early 1980s through the early ‘90s, California was the national leader in wind energy development and power produced by wind farms. ...Are the turbines benefiting one aspect of the environment at the expense of another? Longtime Snow Creek resident Les Starks calls the wind farms "industrial slums" - claiming the windmills have displaced wildlife and degraded the quality of life for nearby residents. "There was a canyon near Whitewater Canyon that used to have thousands of bats," says Starks, "and now you don't see any." He's also noticed a decline in turkey buzzards migrating through the pass. ...With wind energy having been harnessed in the Desert for nearly three decades, the next few years will determine its future here. Presently, it accounts for just two percent of California's portfolio. That number surely will rise along with new and bigger windmills - love them or hate them.
By the time federal regulators stopped accepting public comments about the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm on Monday, two of the letters had already raised some eyebrows among the project's critics. That's because the two letters were signed by the same person, state Division of Marine Fisheries director Paul Diodati, but they struck noticeably different tones. ...Diodati's first letter [dated Feb. 20] spells out the loss of access that fishermen could face as well as concerns about rescue crews reaching a troubled boat in the area.
But the second letter, dated March 7, tones down the rhetoric considerably, reducing the section that lists the potential impacts to fisheries to just a few sentences. The section also mentions a couple of possible benefits, such as certain species becoming attracted to the newly built tower foundations.
Plans by Lewis Windpower for a wind farm at Barvas Moor in Lewis have been refused consent on the grounds of incompatibility with European law.
Ministers have concluded that the proposed 181 turbine Lewis Wind Farm would have a serious impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated under the EC Birds Directive and protected under the EC Habitats Directive. ..."European legislation requires a specific procedure to be followed when proposals which could potentially affect Special Protection Areas come forward. I considered all the relevant issues and concluded it would not be possible to approve this application.
Wind energy is part of the state government's initiative to promote renewable resources. ...However, not everyone sees wind energy as the solution. ...The construction of wind farms, however, can be expensive, and they must be refurbished or decommissioned after 15 to 25 years, according to wind experts. Companies that build them rely heavily on substantial federal tax credits. In addition, area power companies are offering customers the option to voluntarily pay higher energy bills to promote wind energy.
Because of all the complications, not all plans come to fruition, including a proposal to build 25 turbines in Cross Creek Township that developers recently scrapped.
Two wind farms, part of a $2 billion project, have been proposed near Hebbronville, just east of Laredo. Corpus Christi-based American Shoreline and its partner, San Diego, Calif.-based Eviva Spinnaker, plan to develop the 800-megawatt wind project.
It calls for 400 turbines about 350 feet tall spread out over 35,000 acres in Jim Hogg, Webb and Zapata counties. The electricity that would be generated from the two wind farms would power about 220,000 homes.
The project recently was announced and has not received vocal opposition. But if vocal opposition toward two Kenedy County wind projects is any indication, there soon will be. Kenedy County is about 100 miles south of Corpus Christi.
Wellington North should develop local guidelines for development of wind energy projects, its Economic Development Committee (EDC) decided last Wednesday. ...Mr. Taylor said the county regulations failed to address specific setback issues with regard to how far a wind turbine should be located from sensitive areas. "There was little or no reference to bird migration," he said. "They talk about being concerned about being beside our greenlands, but they don't say how far." Concern at the EDC revolves around the impact wind turbines might have migratory bird routes at Luther Marsh. The regulations also fail to address a process for public input on wind developments.
A ban on wind energy projects within 200 metres of the Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River shoreline is among the many recommendations in the final draft of official plan changes proposed for the County of Essex.
Bans would also protect national parks, conservation areas and a host of smaller natural areas, particularly those with endangered or threatened species. The recommendations by the Jones Consulting Group divide the county into four different management areas and requires that proponents show their wind farm proposals won't harm communities or the environment.
New policies would protect "heritage resources and significant cultural heritage landscapes."
The visual impact of turbines, that could be 120 metres high, has to be weighed for the impact on scenic viewpoints and landscapes.
Freedom Works is planning the project to span the ridge line running along the border between Va. and West Va. The line runs from approximately five miles north of Woodstock to about five miles South of Mount Jackson, along the Western horizon. This would cover eighteen miles of ridgeline, in two states (Virginia and West Virginia), and three counties (Hardy in West Virginia, and Shenandoah and Rockingham in
The timeline for the project runs from as short as a two-year, permit-gathering phase (followed by one to two years of construction) to a completion date as far off as the year 2040. When asked about a reported 2010 completion date for the project, Jim Smalls, district ranger for the Lee Ranger District within which the project is being planned, simply said, "I find that optimistic."
The Ministry of the Environment has turned down requests from Wolfe Island residents seeking a more detailed study of the effects of a proposed wind-power project in their community. In a letter dated March 27, citizens learned that the ministry had declined their request to require Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation to prepare an individual environmental assessment before the firm's 86-turbine wind project is allowed to proceed. ...Her decision to quash the individual environmental assessment - applied to large projects with potential environmental impacts - leaves residents feeling that the province is pushing the project without adequately addressing their health and environmental concerns.
Many saw the environmental assessment as their best chance to have their concerns addressed before construction began.
In addition to killing birds, wind turbines at other sites have been found to kill bats, said Rick Lambert, a member of the Virginia Highlands Grotto of the National Speleological Society and local bat enthusiast.
At the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in West Virginia, 47.5 bats were killed per turbine annually, he said.
In addition to common bats, there are 41 Indiana Bat caves within 50 miles and 23 Virginia Big-eared Bat caves within 30 miles of the proposed wind farm, Lambert said. Both species of bats are endangered and the turbines will be well within their migratory distance, he said.
The government wants 45% of the country's electricity to come from renewables such as wind, hydro, and solar by 2010. And that's just a start.
"This challenge will create a new industrial revolution," Portugal's economy minister, Manuel Pinho, told the BBC. ...The campaigners are torn between their concern about climate change and their love for the wildlife.
"We should have renewable power but not at any price," Joao says.
The need for proper setbacks in Chatham-Kent between wind turbines and homes and natural settings was voiced loudly Tuesday by Chatham businessman Harry Verhey.
Verhey told Chatham Sunrise Rotary Club members - of which he is a member - that he isn't challenging the use of wind turbines, but is convinced there is an urgent need to determine setbacks that are right for the municipality.
"The recent proliferation of industrial wind projects will have a negative impact on the community," he said. "The massive size of industrial wind turbines conflicts with the scale and character of the Chatham-Kent landscape." ...Verhey said ads run in local papers by the proponents of wind farms aren't enough - "for the most part the public is unaware of turbine developments and locations."
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."
Conwy councillors yesterday voted to oppose a 250-turbine windfarm off the North Wales coast.
They also urged the Government to do the same when it rules on the scheme this year.
Developers npower Renewables Ltd had reduced the size of its proposed Gwynt y Môr offshore windfarm but Conwy council's Cabinet nonetheless rejected it.
The Cabinet also objected to the fact that the final decision would be taken outside Wales. ...Cabinet member Coun Keith Toy said: "I believe decisions about Wales should be made in Wales."
The council voted to object to the proposed windfarm and recommend the Government refuses it due to visual impact, scale, siting, noise and possible adverse effect on tourism.
Bowing to public pressure, Florida Power & Light Co. has dropped its plan to put 400-foot-tall wind turbines on public, waterfront parks, company officials said Wednesday.
Instead, it wants to build three on land owned by the state and the South Florida Water Management District and six on FPL property at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. ...Indian River Drive resident Sandy Steinruck said she's still concerned the wind turbine construction will damage valuable wildlife habitat.
"We've seen in Colorado the damage and the mess they create," she said.
There's an energy boom going on in the "oil patch" region of Oklahoma and Texas the likes of which has not been seen in decades. This time around, though, the prize isn't under our feet, it's in the swirling currents above our heads. A rapidly growing number of domestic and international energy companies have targeted western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle with plans for massive wind farm projects.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the sage-covered prairies of northwestern Oklahoma. Hundreds of wind turbines stretch like a giant picket fence across the landscape, towering above the game-rich high plains. At first glance it would seem to be a win-win for both the environment and society ...When it comes to energy production, however, you never get something for nothing. Case in point: as a result of this boom, one of the nation's top public land bobwhite quail hunting destinations may soon be covered with a network of roads, high-tension power lines, and wind turbines.
So many people have flooded the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with emails, calls and letters about a proposal to build wind turbines in state forests that the agency has been forced to find a larger venue for its public hearing.
"We've had a lot of interest expressed, so we changed the date," said Olivia Campbell, spokeswoman for the state wildlife agency. "We are making it easier for the public to participate. We realize a lot of people have passion on both sides." ...Some people have expressed strong opposition to the idea of letting developers rip up state forests and build tall industrial machines. Others strongly support the idea of using state property to generate clean, pollution-free electricity.
HNWD attorneys Brian Brake and John Flora declined to make any comment on the SCC's decision or answer questions about how the company will proceed from here.
At this point, Bailey said he doubted the SCC would reconsider its permit order. "Legal arguments at the SCC are always edgy, and here, it's so clear how seriously they have taken the environment. The chances (of an appeal) prevailing are remote ... This has set a wonderful precedent for Virginia, and I can't see wind turbines exploding in this state now."
And, before construction can begin, HNWD is required to submit a final site plan. The company cannot do anything, including storing equipment on site, until that site plan is approved. Before HNWD can get a county building permit, it must also file a performance bond. For the first partial year and five subsequent years, that bond must be for $2,500 per turbine tower; for the remaining years, the amount is $6,000 each.
As the debate goes on, the turbines are going up in record numbers -- a trend that's expected to continue as the clean energy industry moves to take advantage of concerns about global warming and rising fossil fuel costs. ...Rick Webb, a senior scientist in the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences, isn't so sure wind power, particularly on the mountains of the mid-Atlantic, will help much. Webb participated in a National Academy of Sciences committee that studied wind power and released a report this year that found wind power is growing, but in many places, guidelines for development are lacking.
''I think the potential electrical supply and the potential reduction to other sources of power won't be great enough to compensate for environmental damages on the ridges,'' Webb said, adding he believes offshore development of wind farms would be more useful because there is a more-abundant supply of wind there.