Impact on Wildlife or Germany
The German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel gave the green light to a project that will see the construction of 12 offshore windmills in the North Sea.
The move will go someway to reversing the country’s lag in the development of offshore wind farms, he said.
Each windmill will generate 5 megawatts of electricity and will be ready for commercial use at the beginning of 2008, Gabriel said. The farm will be located 45 km off the island of Borkum.
The first utility-grade wind farm proposed in Virginia is hailed by its supporters as clean energy that can help stem global warming and rising fuel prices. But mountaintop residents near the Highland County site worry about what the blades of 18 towers taller than the Statue of Liberty would do to their environment.
That would include rare or endangered birds, bats, and a few other species, as well as a wild trout stream.
Eleven state agencies have reviewed the Highland New Wind Development proposal and come up with a lengthy list of suggested studies, including an analysis of the cumulative impact of wind farms on the four-state Allegheny Mountain region.
The State Corporation Commission, which has final say, will conduct a public hearing Oct. 30 in Richmond on the proposal by retired poultry processor Henry McBride of Harrisonburg. His attorney, John Flora, hopes the project can benefit from a federal tax credit that expires in 2007.
Bird watchers might be the single group of people most worried about the environmental impact of wind farms.
The Appalachian Mountain ridges in Bedford and Somerset counties, where developers hope to build many wind turbines, are prime migration routes for scores of raptor, songbird and insect species, said nature writer and birder Scott Weidensaul, who lives in western Schuylkill County.
"They are one of the world's great migratory bird pathways," Weidensaul said. "It's not just hawks. Everything flies down those ridges -- butterflies, dragonflies, owls."
Tens of millions of songbirds fly down the mountain ridges of Pennsylvania at night during migrations, he said. They are drawn to tall, lighted objects, whether communication towers or wind turbines. Some hit the towers; some hit the spinning blades.
Plans to build a massive windfarm in Shetland are unlikely to be opposed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), it emerged this week.
Wildlife lobby group Proact is organising a petition calling on the RSPB to step up its opposition to wind farm developments in the UK. So far the petition has been signed by over 3,000 people.
However, RSPB Scotland has responded by saying that it considers applications to develop wind farms on a case-by-case basis.
Migratory birds and bats bludgeoned to death in flight. The movement of ungulates such as elk and threatened caribou disrupted. Wild wind-swept mountain tops -- the 'Beautiful' in B.C. -- despoiled by massive industrial infrastructure.
Sound like green energy? These are among the concerns being raised over wind energy, even as the province's Environmental Assessment Office gives the green light to Dokie Wind Energy Inc. to build B.C.'s first wind farm near Chetwynd.
"We still have concerns," confirmed Linda Sullivan, senior program officer for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which has been working with B.C. officials.
"Where there is wind, there are birds. There is a greater number of migratory birds in that particular area."
Under pressure from environmental activist groups such as Defenders of Wildlife and the Los Angeles Audubon Society, the California Energy Commission on August 10 released bird and bat protection guidelines for local wind power permitting agencies.
Although the guidelines are neither mandatory nor enforceable, the move represents growing concern that industrial wind farms are taking an unacceptable toll on bird and bat populations.
The most recent avian mortality studies show between 1,750 and 4,700 birds are killed every year at California's Altamont Pass wind farm alone. Similar mortality numbers are reported at industrial wind farms in Solano County and other parts of the state.
The Los Angeles Audubon Society says there is a lack of research into how industrial wind farms, many of which are located in migratory flyways, affect songbird flight patterns. The group is seeking a moratorium on turbine operation for several hours each day during the spring and autumn migration seasons.
A Law lord has lost his fight to stop a windfarm being built next to his Perthshire holiday home.
Lord Hope of Craighead, a respected ornithologist, had argued 16 turbines planned for the hillside of Drumderg, near Bridge of Cally, would pose a threat to a rare and protected group of ospreys.
Yesterday, a Scottish Executive reporter dismissed his claims and allowed the £30m development to go ahead.
Lord Hope - who took his name Craighead from his cottage near Drumderg - had used 35 years of observations, all carefully documented, to show the planned windfarm would be on the flightpath between the nesting and feeding sites of ospreys, putting the birds at risk.......
His records were never disputed. But scientists employed by Scottish and Southern, the electricity giant behind the windfarm plans, said they did not endanger the birds.
The independent reporter, Malcolm Malony, agreed. "I'm satisfied," he said in his report, "that the osprey collision risk is low and is not such as to justify refusal of the proposal."
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.
Two Kansas State University biology professors are studying how wind farm turbines impact prairie chickens.
Brett Sandercock and Samantha Wisely received a four-year, 630-thousand dollar grant from the National Wind Coordinating Committee Wildlife Workgroup, a national group of private landowners, energy developers and conservationists.
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.”
Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has won a concession from the developer of the Bald Hills wind farm, with the company agreeing to move six turbines out of the potential flight path of the orange-bellied parrot.
Senator Campbell blocked the wind farm in April, claiming a threat to the parrot, and the company’s move is an acknowledgment the turbines would have been on the potential migratory path of the endangered bird.
The minister has agreed to reconsider the wind farm after legal action by the company. Opponents of the project said yesterday the company’s decision was an admission of guilt and showed the original proposal threatened the bird.
A petition is calling on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to push for wind farm developments to be suspended in the UK.
Internet lobby group Proact, which co-ordinates wildlife campaigns, said it has collected 3,248 signatures.
Proact’s David Conlin said the society does not go “far enough” in opposing wind developments.
The RSPB said it will respond to the petition, but added that it deals with farm proposals on a case by case basis.
A pair of wind turbines on farmland near March have been given the go-ahead despite opposition from conservationists.
Fenland District Council’s planning committee agreed to allow the pair of 67-metre turbines subject to a Section 106 agreement. This is in addition to plans for three turbines on the same site, north-east of Ransonmoor Farm, Benwick Road, Doddington, which were approved last year.
But conservation groups said they wanted guarantees about the impact on wildlife before more turbines were permitted.
Cambridgeshire Bat Group said the site is home to the only known noctule maternity roost in the county.
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 Bald Hills wind farm developer has promised to spend almost $1.4 million, including $750,000 to protect the orange-bellied parrot, in a bid to revive the $220 million project.
Wind Power Pty Ltd has submitted a revamped proposal for the Victorian wind farm, which was blocked by federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell because of a claimed threat to survival of the parrot.
Senator Campbell agreed to reconsider the project after the company took legal action.
If the proposal is approved, almost $4million in public and private funds will be spent on the parrot. Senator Campbell had previously announced that $3.2million in taxpayers' funds would be spent to protect the bird.
In Laasow, about 20 km west of Cottbus, Brandenburg, the FL 2500/2,5MW, developed by the engineers of W2E Wind-to-Energy on the 160 meter SeeBa world-record-tower, will now produce green energy.
The nation's first offshore wind farm is being proposed for the waters off Orient Point, in hopes of powering 4,000 homes with alternative energy.
But while local officials applaud the benefits of this new technology, some worry about its proposed location in the path of endangered migratory birds.
After balking at a $3 million plan to monitor the impact of the Altamont windmills on scores of birds -- including protected species such as golden eagles, red tail hawks and burrowing owls -- the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a down-sized monitoring plan today.
The proposed $600,000 contract, scaled back from a monitoring system proposed in July, calls for 6,000 hours of monitoring in a six-month period and is expected to be only the initial phase in a longer study. The previous plan called for more than 12,000 hours.
According to a study released in 2004 by the California Energy Commission, an estimated 1,700 to 4,700 birds die each year by flying into whirring turbine blades or being electrocuted by transmission lines that thread through the 50,000-acre Altamont Wind Resource Area.
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.
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.