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South Coast Wind developer cautiously optimistic after bird report

NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project. "I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.

NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project.

"I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.

Nearly a year ago, Mr. Cashman told Fairhaven residents that birds were the "one thing" he feared could jeopardize the South Coast Wind project, which would plant three clusters of turbines off the coasts of Fairhaven, Dartmouth and Naushon Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands.

Patriot Renewables has since hired bird expert Richard H. Podolsky to perform avian studies in the bay. The studies will help identify bird-friendly locations for the proposed 60 to 130 turbines, which could range in height from 365 to 505 feet depending on the chosen model, according to company documents.

Since the fall of 2006, Dr. Podolsky and a team of researchers have conducted boat-based surveys of bird nesting, flying, feeding and other behaviors... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

NEW BEDFORD - The Boston developer who wants to build a 300-megawatt wind farm in Buzzards Bay called the results of preliminary bird studies "encouraging" but said it is too early to determine whether threats to endangered terns that nest and feed in the bay could kill the $750 million project.

"I am fifty-percent comfortable," said Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables, LLC., a renewable energy subsidiary of his construction company, Jay Cashman Inc.

Nearly a year ago, Mr. Cashman told Fairhaven residents that birds were the "one thing" he feared could jeopardize the South Coast Wind project, which would plant three clusters of turbines off the coasts of Fairhaven, Dartmouth and Naushon Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands.

Patriot Renewables has since hired bird expert Richard H. Podolsky to perform avian studies in the bay. The studies will help identify bird-friendly locations for the proposed 60 to 130 turbines, which could range in height from 365 to 505 feet depending on the chosen model, according to company documents.

Since the fall of 2006, Dr. Podolsky and a team of researchers have conducted boat-based surveys of bird nesting, flying, feeding and other behaviors in five areas of the bay.

Preliminary data show there are "some very promising areas" to build turbines that would "minimize the conflict between birds and renewable energy," Dr. Podolsky said. He warned that those areas could change depending on the results of fall waterfowl surveys that will begin in October.

Based on the results of spring and early summer surveys, Dr. Podolsky said developers should avoid placing turbines in areas that are "immediately adjacent" to three bay islands that serve as nesting grounds for endangered roseate terns and common terns, which the state lists as a species of special concern. Those islands include Bird Island, Ram Island and Penikese Island.

Dr. Podolsky presented 2007 survey data to about 40 members of the public last night at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. He said researchers are in the middle of the



Source: http://www.southcoasttoday....

JUL 11 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/9943-south-coast-wind-developer-cautiously-optimistic-after-bird-report
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