Impact on Wildlife
Note: counts do not include items in sub-categories
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."
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 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.
Scientists at Stirling University are suggesting new national guidelines be drawn up to protect bats and birds from domestic wind turbine developments.
Research by the School of Natural Sciences found wide variations in the planning processes for micro-turbines.
The main objection facing Sugarland Wind is the bird deaths expected from putting towering, fast-spinning blades between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, two prime destinations for migrating birds, wading birds and birds of prey.
Sugarland backers have said they expect about three to four bird deaths per tower per year.
The Federal Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, has dismissed claims he ignored advice from senior members of his department when he vetoed a windfarm project in Victoria's Gippsland region.
Big plans east of Bend may come down to a small bird, the sage grouse. Central Oregon's first commercial wind farm could be up and running as soon as next year, unless it runs into environmental or other obstacles its backers cannot overcome.
The $220 million project would be built on private land 30 miles east of Bend. However, the project is facing some scrutiny over it's impact on the wildlife habitat.
Holberton said a huge swath of the Maine coastline remains uncharted territory as far as understanding bird migrations ...when visibility is poor, the birds fly at much lower altitudes, under 500 feet.
"Most of the birds are island hopping and that is why wind development in shallow water and right along the coast in my opinion poses big issues," said Holberton.
Not all renewable energy sources are completely environmentally friendly. For instance, Canada's Wolfe Island Eco-Power Centre2, the country's second largest wind farm, has demonstrated itself to be a killer of birds and bats.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's approval of the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm this week prompted a wave of legal threats from opponents who argue the decision violates the Endangered Species Act and other laws.
One possible suit even contends the project could hurt endangered right whales. That suit, however, is only one of several possible challenges to the plan by Cape Wind Associates to build 130 wind turbines in the Sound.
Cape Wind critics threw up an eleventh-hour roadblock this week, accusing two U.S. government agencies that approved portions of the proposed offshore wind energy project of violating federal laws.
"We put them on notice," said Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, which tracks the benefits of wind energy projects.
Her group and eight others filed a 60-day notice of violations with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Before Cape Wind can build turbines on the sound, it first must prove to skeptics - and the state - that, among other things, the 417-foot-tall towers won't harm birds.
Dale Seip, a wildlife ecologist with the Ministry of Forests and Range in Prince George, told about 250 people at the conference of the Association of Professional Biologists of B.C., ending today, that the situation jeopardizes the province's caribou recovery efforts.
"Wind-power development on the windswept ridges creates a significant risk to these caribou," he said.
The County of Essex released a comprehensive report Wednesday that will guide the development of wind farms and other alternative energy projects in its seven municipalities and Pelee Island.
The 191-page report by the Jones Consulting Group of Oakville calls for protection of residential areas, airports, tourist attractions, bird migration routes and nesting areas. It also calls on wind farms to avoid flood- prone areas and specialty crop lands . ...The specific impacts of a particular project on wildlife need to be assessed and ongoing monitoring done, Dougan's report said. "All development should proceed with caution."
A lawsuit contending the whirling blades on the hundreds of windmills in the Altamont Pass area are killing birds has been rejected by the First District Court of Appeal.
"Permitting the action to proceed as presented would require the court to make complex and delicate balancing judgments without the benefit of the expertise of the agencies responsible for protecting the trust resources and would threaten redundancy at best and inconsistency at worst," the appellate court decision says.
But more than a dozen organizations here oppose the $235 million wind farm project in Chiloé being built by Ecopower of Santiago. They argue that the construction and operation of the onshore turbines sited on 2,471 acres (1,000 hectares) along the coast potentially could harm not just the blue whale, but dozens of migratory birds, penguins, and several other marine species.
Katie Fite, biodiversity director for Western Watersheds Project, said no conservation plan will be sufficient because after all the fires, China Mountain - southwest of Rogerson - is one of the few places left for sage grouse in the Jarbidge area.
Could wind farms hasten the local extinction of an endangered vulture in southern Spain?
Construction crews should be busy on Fire Island near the western tip of Anchorage this summer, and the state's first major wind farm could be up and running there late next year. ..."We're moving forward with the project," CIRI spokesman Jim Jager said last week.
Significant hurdles still remain, including determining which electric companies will buy the power and approval of all permits, Jager said.
Late last week, eleven citizens groups filed a Sixty Day Notice of Intent to Sue NedPower Mt. Storm and its corporate owners Dominion Resources, and Shell Wind Energy for violations of the Endangered Species Act involving the "takes" of the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, the Indiana bat, and the Virginia big-eared bat.
The letter, sent to the Fish and Wildlife Service, NedPower and the West Virginia Public Service Commission, also raises concerns about impacts to bald and golden eagles and migrating birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Acts.
The groups are demanding that the industrial wind corporation apply for an incidental take permit and modify or stop construction of this project before irreparable harm is done to West Virginia's natural heritage.