Wind turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) provide on average 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of emissions-free electricity annually, enough to power almost 200,000 average households per annum, but these turbines also kill birds that are legally protected, and have been doing so for decades. This five-year research effort focused on better understanding the causes of bird mortality at the world's largest wind farm. Researchers studied 2,548 wind turbines and combined their data with results from 1,526 wind turbines they had studied previously. They sought to: (1) quantify bird use, including characterizing and quantifying perching and flying behaviors of individual birds around wind turbines; (2) evaluate flight behaviors and the environmental and topographic conditions associated with them; (3) identify possible relationships between bird mortality and bird behaviors, wind tower design and operations, landscape attributes, and prey availability; and (4) develop predictive, empirical models that identify turbine or environmental conditions that are associated with high vulnerability. Researchers concluded that bird fatalities at the APWRA result from various attributes of wind turbine configuration and placement, and that species-specific behavior plays a large role in how each contributory factor affects mortality. The report details numerous specific observations. Researchers identified and evaluated possible measures to mitigate bird mortality in the APWRA. They offer recommendations to discontinue or modify some current management actions, to implement new ones immediately, and to experiment with others. Data presented in the report support these recommendations. The results suggest that repowering with carefully placed, modern wind turbines mounted on taller towers may be the preferable means to substantially reduce bird mortality.
Documents from California
Center for Biological Diversity's demand for a jury trial, as plaintiff, vs. FPL Energy et al with respect to bird kills in Altamont Pass in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in California.
This report illustrates how a typical ISO might assess the capacity value of energy sources within an energy portfolio and the negligible capacity value accorded industrial wind. An excerot of the report discussing the limitations of wind is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on the page.
This web site provides performance data on wind turbines in California from 1985-2003.
This status report released by the California Energy Commission discusses the status of the technology, current and proposed development, regulatory processes, issues hindering development, and recommended actions needed to resolve identified issues. The section of the report on Noise and Aesthetics is provided below. Audible and low frequency impulse noise were reported as problems with the turbines. The full report can be accessed from the links on this page.
Appendix B: Sample Local Government Requirements for Wind Energy Conversion Systems Appendix B of The National Wind Coordinating Committees' handbook contains summaries of nine California County ordinances dealing with wind facilities.