Library filed under Impact on Bats from Pennsylvania
Two golden eagles that soared along the Allegheny Front ridge in Central Pennsylvania late last year and are now gliding over the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky might one day help determine where new windmills will be built in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the East. The wide-winged raptors are wearing tiny radio telemetry transmitters that allow National Aviary researchers to track their migration routes and eventually develop the first bird's-eye-view data showing where electric wind turbines should be built and not built to minimize the killing of eagles and other big birds. Most wind turbine development has occurred without any scientific research on the consequences to migrating birds, according to Todd Katzner, director of conservation and field research at the National Aviary on the North Side. That has increased the risk that the turbine blades, some more than 100 feet long, will become bird slicers and dicers.
How many birds and bats are killed by the rotating blades of wind turbines? How many such deaths are acceptable to increase our electricity supply? Those are two unresolved questions for Pennsylvania’s wind-power industry.
Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty’s claim that the huge bat kill resulting from the Mountaineer industrial windfarm in West Virginia was an “aberration” is false. The kill rate for bats due to collision with the blades of industrial wind turbines on forested ridgetops east of the Mississippi River is 50-100 bats per turbine per year.
THOMAS, W.Va. — Towering up to 228 feet above the Appalachian Mountain ridge — far above the treeline — are windmills lined up like marching aliens from War of the Worlds. Up close, they emit a high-pitched hum. From a few hundred yards away, their blades — extending 115 feet from center — cause a steady whooshing sound as they cut through the air at up to 140 mph at the tips.
After reviewing data collected during a groundbreaking research effort, the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC), a government-conservationindustry partnership, reported today substantial bat kills at two wind farms in the mid-Atlantic region between August 1 and September 13 of 2004. The report summarizes the first year’s research on potential causes and solutions. The research included the most detailed studies ever performed on bat fatality at wind sites and provides a foundation for further efforts aimed at better understanding why bats are being killed and how to minimize future fatalities.
The BWEC implemented research to improve fatality search protocols for bats and to evaluate interactions between bats and wind turbines from 31 July through 13 September 2004, the period when bat fatalities have most often been reported at wind facilities. The goal was to establish a basis for developing solutions to prevent or minimize threats to bats at wind energy facilities.
Written on behalf of the Friends of the Appalachian Highlands this letter addresses the threat to the Indiana Bat.
Dear Mr. Boone: I am in receipt of the information you sent regarding the Meyersdale wind project and the risk to bats, specifically Indiana bats in that area and your request for my opinion on this project. I have also done some research on my own concerning wind turbines and its affects on bats, to determine what data are available in the scientific literature in this area. I base this opinion on data and scientific literature, and my 16 years experience studying bat biology and bat ecology.