Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from New Hampshire
If all goes to an outside developer's plan, hikers on the Cohos Trail, and just about anyone else visiting the vast Phillips Brook and Nash Stream tracts, will soon be looking at a string of horizon-dominating 400-foot wind towers, supported by a massive construction and support infrastructure (i.e., roads and concrete bases), along the ridgelines of one of New Hampshire's last great wild places. ...this proposal is an abomination, the selling of a priceless resource for little or no direct return, a hop-on-the-bandwagon case of bad supposedly "green" decision-making if ever there was one.
Granite Reliable Power, LLC, a subsidiary of Noble Environmental Power, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for work in waters of the United States in conjunction with the development of a 100-megawatt wind energy facility in Coös County. The applicant proposes to place fill material in approximately 14 acres of waters and wetlands in conjunction with the development of the proposed facility, which has numerous project elements. ...Public comments regarding this permit request (File # NAE-2008-410) should be submitted no later than February 27 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Biologists for Fish and Game said the project of Granite Reliable Power LLC to build 33 turbines in the Dixville Peak and Mount Kelsey area would permanently bisect habitat of at least four wildlife species and will have "severe and unmitigated adverse effects on the natural community," which is host to about 60 others. AMC has filed as an intervenor on the project, expressing concern about the siting of half of the 33 turbines for the same reasons.
Granite Reliable Power's plan to erect 33 wind turbines on peaks in Coos County might be good for Gov. John Lynch and his goal of making 25 percent of the state's energy renewable by 2025. It would not be so good, according to Fish and Game officials, for the American marten or the three-toed woodpecker, threatened species that depend on the high-altitude forests that the project would disrupt.
Noble Environmental, operating under the name Granite Reliable Power, LLC is proposing to erect a 99 MW wind energy facility in northern New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Fish and Game has submitted prefiled testimony to the State's Site Evaluation Committee expressing its concerns with the impacts to wildlife.
Edward Cherian Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA 20 Warren Street, Suite 8 Concord, NH 03301
This document includes studies in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
Why did you petition to become an intervenor in this matter before the NH SEC? With New Hampshire’s recent reinstatement of PILOT agreements and legislative efforts to a Renewable Portfolio Standard, the regulatory groundwork is being laid for more wind facilities to enter the state. Yet, New Hampshire, like many states, has no consistent regulatory process in place for reviewing these projects to ensure our environmental, societal, and economic interests are protected. The work the NH SEC has agreed to undertake in reviewing this application is precedent setting. How the committee approaches its review and the weight it places on arguments presented by all sides will impact other developments in the State as pertains to renewable energy projects. There are a multitude of conflicting issues at play when considering any wind project. My commitment to this process is to help provide, to the best of my ability, valuable and timely information that will assist the Committee in making an informed decision on this application.
Below are two Phase I Avian Risk Assessments reports, prepared by Paul Kerlinger, for Vermont's East Haven Wind Farm (July 2003) and New Hampshire's Lempster Mountain Wind Power Project (June 2005). Phase I assessments have proven inadequate in assessing mortality at several sites in the U.S. including Mountaineer in West Virginia and Meyersdale in Pennsylvania. The US Fish and Wildlife Interim Wind/Wildlife Guidelines calls for multi-year evaluation of avian and bat activity using remote sensing.
Starting with our first interagency meeting on April 8, 2005, we have generally discussed three broad categories of activities that pose a potential concern for fish and wildlife resources. These include the potential for bird and bat collisions with turbines, habitat fragmentation effects on wildlife and impacts to waters/wetlands. At the April 8, 2005 interagency meeting, we recommended that CEI collect three (3) years of radar data on spring and fall bird/bat migrations to document the spatial and temporal use of the airspace by these flying vertebrates. Three years of radar data should be sufficient to gather information on the spatial and temporal distribution of birds in the airspace, including the year-to-year variability in migration patterns at this site, and represent our normal request for these data at wind projects. We have consistently requested that this data be collected at our meetings and field visits and continue to make this request for radar information.
My viewpoint was, and still is, that the huge towers (260 feet high), gigantic blades (add another 150 feet), blinking strobe lights, permanent removal of wind-hindering vegetation, and highly visible road and transmission infrastructures are totally inappropriate for wild, undeveloped, scenic and highly visible settings. And I said I thought that opponents should focus on those issues, as well as the small return in electricity for the massive public price paid, aesthetically and otherwise, and should perhaps stay away from the issue of bird mortality caused by the rapidly spinning blades. The jury is still out on that, I said, and conventional wisdom is that vastly more birds are killed by high-rise windows and free-running cats......Well, so much for conventional wisdom. Editor's Note This opinion piece was written in response to a letter received from Lisa Linowes that is available via the link below.
In your column, you state bird mortality is a subject that wind energy opponents should stand down from. However, there is good reason for us to continue to shed light on this problem. To our knowledge, no commercial scale wind facility in the United States has been subject to pre-construction avian risk assessments that included remote sensing (radar or acoustical). Editor's Note: Mr. Harrigan's reponse to this letter is available via the link below.