Article

Wildlife issues B.G. campus in Huron gets $1M to study wind power

HURON, Ohio - Lake Erie could become the "Saudi Arabia of wind" power, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said yesterday. But no more wind turbines should be built along the lake shoreline until all potential impacts on wildlife have been studied in depth, Miss Kaptur added. The same goes for entertaining any proposals to install them in the open waters of the Great Lakes, she added

"We don't want to make Cuisinarts on the Great Lakes. We don't want to destroy the [bald] eagles we've worked so hard to bring back," she said.

Her dual message of promoting alternative power while protecting wildlife was the theme of an event yesterday at Bowling Green State University's Firelands campus attended by about 75 people.

Miss Kaptur announced a $1 million research grant she obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy to have the wind-wildlife issue studied on BGSU's satellite campus. The campus, near western Lake Erie's shoreline, is in the heart of one of North America's biggest flyways.

The congressman told The Blade it was important to focus the research in an area where enthusiasm for wind power and concerns about wildlife collide.

James Smith, BGSU Firelands dean, said a one-megawatt wind turbine, or possibly two, will be installed under the Coastal Ohio Wind Project. Under a best-case scenario, the first turbine will be operational in 12 to 18 months, he said.

The four experimental wind turbines at the Wood County landfill west of Bowling Green are larger. Each are 1.7 megawatts.

Assessments need to be done before a site is selected. But barring... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

"We don't want to make Cuisinarts on the Great Lakes. We don't want to destroy the [bald] eagles we've worked so hard to bring back," she said.

Her dual message of promoting alternative power while protecting wildlife was the theme of an event yesterday at Bowling Green State University's Firelands campus attended by about 75 people.

Miss Kaptur announced a $1 million research grant she obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy to have the wind-wildlife issue studied on BGSU's satellite campus. The campus, near western Lake Erie's shoreline, is in the heart of one of North America's biggest flyways.

The congressman told The Blade it was important to focus the research in an area where enthusiasm for wind power and concerns about wildlife collide.

James Smith, BGSU Firelands dean, said a one-megawatt wind turbine, or possibly two, will be installed under the Coastal Ohio Wind Project. Under a best-case scenario, the first turbine will be operational in 12 to 18 months, he said.

The four experimental wind turbines at the Wood County landfill west of Bowling Green are larger. Each are 1.7 megawatts.

Assessments need to be done before a site is selected. But barring any complications, BGSU Firelands would like the turbine or turbines at the edge of its 216-acre campus, near Bogart Road, Mr. Smith said.

Generated electricity from the Firelands turbines will be put on the power grid for credit from FirstEnergy Corp. Under Ohio's net-metering law, small power generators must be compensated by utilities for a percentage of what they put on the grid.

Brad Blackwell, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center, said results from the wind-wildlife study will be another step in the ongoing process of trying to determine if birds and bats are compatible with wind turbines. No length of time for the study has been determined yet.

A Government Accountability Office report issued last fall said that wildlife generally is compatible, except for some areas where turbines now exist in northern California and the Appalachian Mountains. But wildlife advocates argue that credible research is lacking.

Western Lake Erie is the shallowest part of the Great Lakes and in close proximity to electrical transmission lines. Those two factors are attractive to wind industry developers, because they help keep costs down.

While land-based turbines are more practical to build, stronger winds exist offshore.

Wildlife advocates don't want land near shore developed as a compromise. They want turbines prohibited within three miles of Lake Erie's shoreline.

The Great Lakes Science Center in downtown Cleveland recently put up Ohio's first wind turbine along Lake Erie, at a cost of $500,000. That turbine, to be used mostly as a demonstration, started producing electricity on June 9.

Blake Andres, the center's vice president of education and exhibitions, has said it will be doing its own wildlife-impact study with that turbine, a project that could take up to three years.

Contact Tom Henry at:
thenry@theblade.com
or 419-724-6079.


Source: http://toledoblade.com/apps...

JUL 11 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3439-wildlife-issues-b-g-campus-in-huron-gets-1m-to-study-wind-power
back to top