All Audubon members want is to ensure, through an added condition to the permit, that Torch Renewable Energy, LLC, work closely with Arizona Game and Fish (AZGF) on continuing studies of the protected bald and golden eagles, avian and bat populations, and other possible wildlife and environmental impacts, Supplee said.
Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Arizona
In a March 25 letter to the County Planing and Zoning Commission, the Arizona Department of Game and Fish (AZGF) "states specific concerns and recommendations for birds, bats, and other wildlife in connection with the Red Horse 2 wind energy project, including a recommendation of two years of data collection as part of the site evaluation and pre-construction monitoring," he said.
In a letter to the commission, Ginger Ritter, AZGF project evaluation program specialist, asked the commissioners to postpone the decision until more data was available on the locations, nesting sites and activities of the golden eagles and long-nosed bats in the vicinity.
Carcasses of eagles and other raptors are a common sight at wind farms across the country. According to a California Energy Commission study, over 1,000 birds of prey are killed every year by turbines at one wind farm, the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area near San Francisco. To address this problem, the Arizona Game and Fish Department recently issued guidelines for developers planning wind farms and solar facilities.
"There's going to be an impact [on wildlife] no matter what," Bahr said. "But the new guidelines are a good place to start discussions on what can be done in the long term." Representatives of APS and SRP, Arizona's two largest utilities providers, were unaware of the new guidelines.
BP Wind Energy held three public meetings last week with the Bureau of Land Management to inform the public about its plans for a 500-megawatt wind farm near White Hills. ...[BP Wind Energy Business Development Director Daniel Runyan] agreed that there would be some noise while the turbines were operating, and the turbines could kill some birds and bats, but they would likely have no effect on large game animals, such as deer. BP and BLM are still working on wildlife studies.
The SunZia transmission line that would link sun and wind power from central New Mexico with cities in Arizona is just the sort of energy project an environmentalist could love -- or hate. And it is just the sort of line the Interior Department has been tasked with promoting -- or guarding against. If built, the 460-mile line would carry about 3,000 megawatts of power, enough to avoid the need for a handful of coal-fired plants and to help utilities meet mandated targets for use of renewable fuel.