Library filed under Impact on Bats from Canada
A wind turbine company will have a chance to prove its eight-turbine project won’t negatively impact the local population of the little brown bat.
The Environmental Review Tribunal has stalled a wind turbine project, ruling it would cause harm to both human health and the environment.
Wind turbines are killing bats, including ones on the endangered species list, at nearly double the rate set as acceptable by the Ontario government, the latest monitoring report indicates. Bats are being killed in Ontario at the rate of 18.5 per turbine, resulting in an estimated 42,656 bat fatalities in Ontario between May 1 and October 31, 2015.
Environmental activists have scored another victory against construction of wind turbines they say will do serious and irreversible harm to already endangered species. ...The panel upheld the appeal because of the risk of serious and irreversible harm to the Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s Turtle.
The Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal released this decision partially granting an appeal of the Province's decision to approve the White Pines wind energy facility. The panel upheld the appeal because of the risk of serious and irreversible harm to the Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s Turtle. The White Pines wind facility, as proposed, consists of 29 wind turbines with a nameplate capacity of 59.45 megawatts (MW). The Project will be located within the ward of South Marysburgh and a small portion of Athol, Prince Edward County. The background details of the case before the Tribunal are provided below. The full decision can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
A large wind farm with 50 turbines proposed southwest of Vermilion is raising concerns about noise, disturbing farmers and killing migratory birds and bats.
One looming threat is the growing presence of wind farms — a threat that wasn’t realized until the first turbine went up in northeastern B.C. and killed two Eastern red bats, a species biologists weren’t even aware existed in the province. “It was a real red flag for us that we don’t know enough about our bats and we better figure it out fast.”
Dr Barclay had mentioned he did not agree with Ontario Bat Guidelines for Industrial Wind Turbine projects. When asked why, he answered that the allowable threshold of killing seven bats per year per turbine was inadequate. With the numbers of turbines growing exponentially in North America, the cumulative effects of such a high fatality rate, on top of the effects of white nose syndrome, will cause harm to the species at the population level.
Laura Ellison is an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Fort Collins, Colorado, who has spent the last 20 years studying bats and other small mammals. Earlier this month she presented on the bat and wind farm issue at the North America Congress for Conservation Biology. "The newer, larger turbines seem to be worse for bats," Ellison said.
Based on an extrapolation accounting for carcasses missed or scavenged, Hemmera estimated a total of 156 bats and 82 birds were killed by the turbines in 2010, a mean of 4.57 bats and 2.41 birds per turbine.
Nature Canada says the project's 86 turbines are among the most destructive of wildlife in North America. The organization argues TransAlta should shut down parts of the wind farm - one of the biggest in the country - during high-risk periods in the late summer and early fall.
Clearly, this is a double standard. Syncrude faces fines of up to $800,000, while Wolf Island's bird and bat mortalities are accepted as part of the cost of going green. The oilsands get unfairly labelled as "bloody oil," but nobody complains about "bloody wind."
Will Wolfe Island's eco-terminations prove more palatable with the public because they are caused by a ‘green industry'? If Canada follows the United States' lead, wind turbines will get a free ride.
"Shockingly high" numbers of bird and bat deaths caused by one of Canada's biggest wind farms should serve as a warning to planners of other projects that may be built in crucial wildlife zones, one of the country's key conservation groups says. ..."We should not be putting these farms in places where the risk is going to be high," he said. "It is a disaster that we can see coming." At the very least, turbines should be shut down at certain times of year to reduce bird kills, he added.
Sixteen species flutter around B.C.'s urban and rural areas in the nighttime hours, but the Environment Ministry is particularly interested in identifying four species of brown bats. ...Bat populations face numerous threats, ranging from forestry and wind-power development-- bats are often found dead around wind turbines.
While the bat will never make nature's cute and cuddly list, it is a vital part of the ecosystem and its population is being threatened on a number of fronts. Large numbers of bats have reportedly been killed and injured by wind turbines, and a disease called "white nose syndrome" threatens to kill bats by the hundreds of thousands.
With the growth of the wind energy industry in Southern Alberta, the development of protocol to protect the province's migratory bat population is now underway. Lisa Wilkinson, a species at risk biologist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife and head of the Alberta Bat Action Team (ABAT), said Alberta was a North American pioneer in establishing pre-construction guidelines for wind farm operators.
Thousands of industrial-scale wind turbines are being built across the world each year to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy. Bats of certain species are dying at wind turbines in unprecedented numbers. Species of bats consistently affected by turbines tend to be those that rely on trees as roosts and most migrate long distances. Although considerable progress has been made in recent years toward better understanding the problem, the causes of bat fatalities at turbines remain unclear. In this synthesis, we review hypothesized causes of bat fatalities at turbines. Hypotheses of cause fall into 2 general categories—proximate and ultimate. Proximate causes explain the direct means by which bats die at turbines and include collision with towers and rotating blades, and barotrauma. Ultimate causes explain why bats come close to turbines and include 3 general types: random collisions, coincidental collisions, and collisions that result from attraction of bats to turbines. The random collision hypothesis posits that interactions between bats and turbines are random events and that fatalities are representative of the bats present at a site. Coincidental hypotheses posit that certain aspects of bat distribution or behavior put them at risk of collision and include aggregation during migration and seasonal increases in flight activity associated with feeding or mating. A surprising number of attraction hypotheses suggest that bats might be attracted to turbines out of curiosity, misperception, or as potential feeding, roosting, flocking, and mating opportunities. Identifying, prioritizing, and testing hypothesized causes of bat collisions with wind turbines are vital steps toward developing practical solutions to the problem.
New research shows that the study of bat mortality at wind turbines should be the primary ecological concern for developers. ...TransAlta has about 189 MW of wind farms operating in southern Alberta and another 162 MW under construction. By analyzing specimens found on one of TransAlta's farms, Robert Barclay, a biological sciences professor at the university, discovered that the vast majority of bats died not as a result of colliding into the turbines, but as a result of a sudden drop in air pressure in the airspace around the turbines - which destroys their lungs.
Bats and wind turbines make a bad mix. In fact, bats have become an unexpected casualty in the burgeoning wind-power industry, with several thousand bats killed by turbines each year in North America. Now studies are being conducted at the future site of a Peace region wind farm in order to save bats from dropping dead near the whirling blades. ...Most of the wind-farm research has been focused on birds, and little is known about the effect on bats, although new studies are beginning to yield clues on how to minimize the impact of the wind farms on the tiny flying animals.