Impact on Wildlife or Minnesota
Now that most of twelve California wind turbines retrofitted for Minnesota winters are finally operational, several cities have acknowledged to the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota that the $5 million project may be more suited for generating PR-both good and bad-than producing significant quantities of power.
For all of us who cherish the beauty and natural qualities of Allegany and Garrett Counties, our citizens have a responsibility to seriously question the State of Maryland government as public officials negotiate with the company, U.S. Wind Force, to erect 100 industrial wind turbines, each the size of the Washington Monument in our mountains. ...Most importantly, and not really surprising, is the indisputable fact that little has been done in the area of planning and policy development at the local, state, and national levels of government on erecting wind farms on public lands. Has any one at the municipal, county, or state level given any thought to what constitutes protection of public health and safety for siting and operating these giant 400 foot industrial turbines with capacities of 1.65 to 2 megawatts of power? There is a lack of planning capacity in rural Allegany and Garrett Counties, as well as the rest of the Maryland, to deal with this complex issue, and the state does not seem to want to provide any assistance or do much to stand in the way of the wind developers.
Let's face it, from a statewide perspective Western Maryland is the place of least resistance.
New Scientist's report on the large number of bats succumbing to wind turbines reinforces a common misperception - that the blades move slowly (12 May, p4).
It is true that the blades of older, small wind turbines rotated rapidly and so would appear to a bird or bat as a semi-solid disc to be avoided.
Modern 2-megawatt wind turbines make an apparently lazy 10 to 20 revolutions per minute, but the blades are around 40 metres long.
Simple geometry shows that the blade tips travel at between 150 and 300 kilometres per hour.
For a bird or bat in misty weather, these aircraft-sized blades appear from nowhere at intervals of between 2 and 4 seconds, a scenario that even a fighter pilot would find alarming.
These bat species are far more important than First Wind's profits. There's presently a glut of generation in New England and First Wind's intermittent power does nothing more than add to the surplus on the grid. ...First Wind agreed to curtailment during low wind speeds at certain temperatures and now seems to be complaining that such curtailment won't be profitable. Too bad for them.
I am extremely concerned at the detrimental impact the construction of wind turbines on the land adjacent to High Elms Lane, Benington could have on wildlife.
It is well known locally that this site supports a large and varied wildlife and many of the species are of national and international importance.
It has taken a long time and sympathetic farming to encourage so many species to thrive in this area. A total of 26 mammal species (not counting bats) and 75 bird species have been recorded around the proposed wind farm, along with various amphibians and reptiles.
The final of three meetings on the highly-controversial issue of wind turbines in the foothills of the Blue Mountains takes place Thursday before the Umatilla County Planning Commission.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: The commission should recognize there is a "significant resource" in our Blue Mountains and its foothills. Frankly, we don't see how the commission members could decide otherwise.
I am equally saddened to see the sorry, unreliable, expensive substitute - a "wind farm" - being installed just west of Salina. A recent full-page ad in the Journal-World dishonestly portrayed children playing under a wind turbine. Fact is, the noise created by these gigantic turbines will make the land uninhabitable for nearly all forms of life, including people and birds. No responsible parent would allow their loved ones to live or play around these monsters.
Recently, Gov. Pawlenty signed a renewable energy standard in Minnesota. While proponents claim this standard will protect Minnesota’s environment and resources and help reduce global warming is only rhetoric and not fact. This initiative will cost you the taxpayer millions and produce no positive impact in Minnesota.
Recent articles, stated the project will enhance the water quality at this site. Also, Gamesa states that protecting natural resources and wildlife is a "shared priority" with the community.
If this is so, then why was there a rattlesnake study of the area done in November (when snakes are hibernating)? Why did Gamesa do a study on bird migration in July, when bird migration doesn't start until late August, September and October? How does bringing in large equipment to clear-cut the forest and building new roads improve water quality of streams that are already of the highest quality in the state?
Size and cost alone make this project controversial, but it has become even hotter because, so far, it has been handled so poorly by the people who want to build it, the Transmission Agency of Northern California. TANC is a joint powers agency comprised of 15 publicly owned utilities, including the MID and TID. The agency's commission is chaired by MID's general manager, Allen Short.
Not surprisingly, landowners all the way from Lassen and Shasta to Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties are upset -- and angry.
Biodiversity that takes centuries to evolve cannot be reinvented overnight, neither can the bald eagles that nested in a 100 year old cottonwood tree at Fisherville be expected to accept a Tupperware nest platform on a pole somewhere, when their instinct tells them they should be in a natural tree somewhere else. Legislation is purportedly in place to protect species at risk - that's why it is there. Legislation that can be bought, and then twisted to serve the needs of development is not legislation. It smacks of a corrupt system of the worst possible kind perpetuated by money and greed.
The "Birds, fish may like wind farm" article on Monday 11 was poorly researched.
It has been well-documented that thousands of birds (from large raptors to small warblers) are killed by land-based wind turbines in the western U.S. each year. And many species of migrating birds using the Atlantic Flyway cross Delaware Bay between southern New Jersey and Delaware every fall and spring. Neither of these facts was mentioned in the article.
Shetland holds almost half of Britain's breeding red-throated divers. A survey of breeding red-throated divers in Shetland, carried out in 1994, found only 389 breeding pairs, a 40 per cent decline since the previous full survey in 1983. Shetland holds approximately1.5 per cent of the British breeding population of merlins, approximately 20 pairs.
Consultation is on going to reduce the impact of the development especially on the breeding red-throated divers, which are considered to be particularly liable to collision with wind turbines. ...In the words of the RSPB: "The RSPB views climate change as the most serious threat to birds and their habitats, and sees renewable energy as one way to alleviate this threat. However, it would be entirely self defeating to advocate building wind farms right in the middle of our most important wildlife areas." ...Anybody that thinks developments like this are acceptable obviously don't care less about the wildlife and natural environment around them.
"Does it seem odd to anyone but me that the April 2005 through March 2006 bird study shows exactly what Forward Energy was looking for - even though it was compiled and analyzed by people who have far less professional experience than those who have written studies that are contrary to this one," stated Dr. Kaspar. "Furthermore, the data does not support the conclusions."
This is where the Buffalo Harbor Development Commission, the Niagara Greenway Commission and Higgins' waterfront planning come into play. It is essential that the NRIBA designation is understood and addressed by all planning agencies and decisions. It is critical that the threats to the area are understood and addressed. Appropriate development that recognizes both the fragility of the area and the global conservation consequences related to its stewardship and development should become a baseline indicator from which all planning grows.
Editor's Note: With at least five test towers already standing, wind developers in concert with local advocates are attempting to install hundreds of industrial wind turbines in the Niagara region. The threat to this fragile area is real. Both of the photos included in the text are available in the NWW photo library as Birdland on the Niagara 1 & 2.
The Federal Communications Commission recently began the process of considering new rules to reduce the number of birds killed in collisions with communications towers. The best way to reduce collisions is to have fewer towers by collocating equipment on one structure. The FCC rulemaking furthers the national discussion of collocation, which can benefit more than birds.
The location of the wind farm in question has been determined already, and is a function of water depth, shipping routes, connections to the grid and other such constraints. There is little margin for change to accommodate migrating birds, and all we may expect as a result of the bird study is the symbolic displacement of a few turbines in the plan. But the study is interesting in that it reveals the shortcomings of the science that deals with wind-farm impacts on wildlife.
The killer of eagles and all birds at wind farms is blade tip speed. ...What is hard to comprehend is that at 20 rotations per minute, the tip speed of the blades for the three turbines works out to 180 mph, 215 mph and 222 miles per hour. The speed and power of these blades is what amputates the wings and heads off flying eagles. From miles away the blades look rather slow, but up close these huge blades move faster than a guillotine.
Is the Massachusetts Audubon Society, with a mission to protect birds, selling them out for a contract worth over 7,000,000 dollars to monitor their deaths? ...The saga of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Cape Wind project continues with the January 14, 2008 release of the MMS Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Massachusetts Audubon's lack of follow through on its Challenge to Cape Wind and its permitting agencies, to "Get it right."
According to a story written by reporter Beth Delay of the Boston Globe on January 15, 2008, just one day after the DEIS release, Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for the Massachusetts Audubon Society is satisfied that the MMS Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Cape Wind project has addressed the groups concerns, ""They (MMS) have done an adequate and thorough job of reviewing the potential environmental impacts with regard to avian life" he said."
It would seem Mr. Clarke has conveniently forgotten "The Mass Audubon Challenge" clearly stated publicly in the media.