Impact on Wildlife
Note: counts do not include items in sub-categories
Iberdrola Renewables is considering options for Horse Creek Wind Farm about two weeks after it told the Clayton Planning Board it was suspending its application.
While the company insists it was an internal decision, its representative did admit that the nearby Indiana bat population was a consideration. Indiana bats are an endangered species and there is a hibernation spot near the proposed wind project.
The bats also have been affected by white nose syndrome, the mysterious ailment that has killed thousands of bats. The loss of the endangered species to disease has made federal wildlife experts even more sensitive to losses induced by man.
The first year of a ground-breaking effort to study the interaction between bats and wind turbines at the Casselman Wind Power Project shows that turning off the turbines during low wind periods reduced bat mortality by more than 70 percent.
Iberdrola Renewables, the owner of the Casselman wind farm, partnered with independent conservation group, Bat Conservation International (BCI), for wildlife data collection at the southwestern Pennsylvania wind power project.
Idaho and the federal government have signed an agreement that offers incentive and protection for ranchers and landowners who voluntarily take conservation steps to improve the plight of the sage grouse. ...Todd Tucci, attorney for Advocates for the West, said the bigger challenge is dealing with sage grouse habitat on public land, where wind energy development, oil and natural gas drilling and cattle grazing pose thornier policy questions.
David Parrish, reassigned from Magic Valley regional supervisor to Boise as fisheries program coordinator, wrote in a letter to The Times-News on July 6 that the 185-turbine China Mountain wind farm "will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife."
"It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat (for) sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species," Parrish wrote.
RSPB Scotland has today lodged a formal objection to the Viking wind farm proposal on Shetland.
After scrutinising in detail the developer's application, assessments have revealed there would be significant and unacceptable adverse impacts on many bird species should the development proceed as currently proposed.
Some industry officials speak out against three-year pre-construction monitoring period.
But the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound cites more than a few environmental impacts in the DEIS that it believes the Minerals Management Service and the rest of the agencies reviewing the massive project need to pay closer attention to. Impacts on birds, scenic views, navigation, fish species, fishing and boating all received a moderate rating from the MMS. The Alliance also calls into question what it terms the excessive cost of Cape Wind's wind energy and air travel hazards over Nantucket Sound in proximity to the wind farm.
Alliance President and CEO Glenn Wattley said the Alliance is working now to examine each impact that was given a moderate characterization by the MMS and figure out ways to address them.
"We've been retaining experts," he said. "We have 40 experts on these topics, they are going over the topics [and] we're spending quite a bit of money putting together a professional response for the public comment period," he said.
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.
Environmental advocates and wind energy companies in New England said Thursday they are working on an agreement to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale during offshore development in New England - the same day that 15 of the rare mammals were spotted near Wellfleet.
But scientists still don't know much about the long-term effects of wind turbines on wildlife. So researchers are studying a variety of bird species to determine if they are killed by spinning turbines, or avoid habitat hear them.
One of the places they're searching for answers is the prairie pothole region of North Dakota, often called the nation's duck factory.
Pending further evaluation, AES has voluntarily ceased nighttime operation of the turbines at the Laurel Mountain facility. The facility has been testing different cut-in speeds to reduce bat mortality. The Indiana bat was found near a turbine that was operating at a cut-in speed of 3.5 meters per second.
[Dr. Michael] Gannon is an acknowledged expert on bats, bat ecology and bat population ecology. He has studied bats all over the world for over 20 years ...Gannon stated that he does not oppose responsible alternative energy development such as wind, but he does oppose development that does not require the developer to use sound current scientific based evaluations to evaluate the environmental impact of the site before construction occurs.
He said that "thus far no site in PA has done so, and no requirements (voluntary or not) exist that are sound and current in their science." ..."The chances that a wind facility in this area will have a negative impact on our bat populations appear to be extremely high," said Gannon. "The proliferation of numerous wind sites in this part of the country, most of which have or are being documented to have such an effect on bats, could be the most serious threat to our bat population, our biological insect control, that science has seen."
Oil, gas and wind energy producers are working to persuade federal wildlife officials not to enact protections for the lesser prairie chicken, a move that could force them to halt or significantly alter their operations to protect the species' dwindling grassland habitat.
As wind energy is developed on both public and private lands, there is a concern regarding the impact on wildlife and habitat. Today, the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee, created in 2007 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, sent final recommendations to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, designed to further the development of wind energy while reducing the environmental impacts of the projects.
Alarming bird and bat mortality rates at the Wolfe Island wind farm have an international group calling for a three-year moratorium on wind energy projects on the Upper St. Lawrence River and east end of Lake Ontario.
Save The River vice-president Stephanie Weiss said the 86-windmill farm has caused the death of 688 birds and bats, equalling eight per windmill.
Daniel R. Patterson, a desert ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Joshua Tree, said it's a "common belief" that bird deaths caused by turbines could lead to rat infestations. But he said he hasn't studied the issue.
The Liberty Gap wind energy project planned for the border of Pendleton and Highland counties did not get approval from West Virginia's Public Service Commission last year, but that doesn't mean the company is giving up.
According to Pendleton County residents opposed to the project, the developer is moving ahead, attempting to get its application rewritten for a better chance of approval. The West Virginia Public Service Commission had noted several deficiencies in the company's application, including insufficient information on historic resources, site maps, and environmental protect.
The grassroots effort to stop the Liberty Gap project was spearheaded by Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County, and according to one of its members, Larry Thomas, it cost $87,000 to challenge the company's application. But Liberty Gap has regrouped and learned from its mistakes, and the next round might cost opponents as much as $250,000.
A massive wind farm could make the Hebridean island of Lewis the renewable energy capital of Europe. But not all environmentalists are happy about it.
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.
The Uk Government could face a multimillion-pound fine if Scottish ministers allow plans for a massive windfarm on the Western Isles to go ahead, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds warned yesterday.
It believes the Lewis Wind Power application for 181 turbines was made without a proper environmental impact assessment.
That, it says, would contravene the European Habitats Directive.