Library from West Virginia

Bat deaths cast pall over promise of wind power

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.
14 Nov 2005

Capacity Factor: Three PA and 1 WV Wind Plants

Capacity_factors_thumb Capacity Factor by Month: (1) Mountaineer Windplant, WV, (2) Meyersdale Windplant, PA, (3) Mill Run Windplant, PA, and (4) Waymart Windplant, PA. This information, by month, highlights the issue of whether wind is available when electricity is needed. The charts reflect strong winds in the winter months and considerably lighter winds in the summer when demand for electricity is expected to peak.
8 Feb 2005

Mountaineer (WV) After (2)

Mountaineer_after_(2)_thumb This is a wider view from the same photograph (Mountaineer (WV) After (1). The study area is shown by the rectanglular outline. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before , Mountaineer (WV) After (1), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2)(this image). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
14 Jan 2005

Mountaineer (WV) After (1)

Mountaineer_after_thumb This is a post-construction photo in natural color covering the same area shown in Mountaineer (WV) Before. The yellow circles are in the same locations as above to allow accurate comparisons. It is somewhat difficult to pick out the actual wind turbines but their prominent shadows are easily discernable. They are black lines pointing roughly NE except the two in the SW corner, which point WNW in this composite photo. The 44 turbines of the Mountaineer project were manufactured by NEG Micon and imported from Denmark. They are 345 feet tall and each turbine can generate up to 1.5 MW when the wind is blowing optimally. However, because the winds blowing over Appalachian ridges are intermittent and only occasionally ‘optimal’, a realistic estimate of the annual average generating potential for a 1.5-MW turbine in this region would be less than 0.5 MW, a 30% capacity factor. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before , Mountaineer (WV) After (1)(this image), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
14 Jan 2005

Citizens Sue Norton for Wildlife Death Information

Charleston, WV—Twenty citizen groups from around the country are supporting a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, by the Friends of Blackwater.  The lawsuit charges that Norton has refused to turn over documents relating to wildlife deaths and injuries from wind turbines. “Department of Interior has not justified withholding these important documents,” said Judy Rodd, Executive Director of Friends of Blackwater.
16 Nov 2004

Friends of Blackwater: Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Friends_of_blackwater_thumb "This is an action....to obtain access to records in possession of the Department of the Interior and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ('FWS') concerning wildlife injuries and deaths caused by wind power facilities and FWS's enforcement of environmental laws with respect to wind power facilities." The district court ruled in favor of Friends of Blackwater. The ruling by Judge Huvelle can also be accessed from this page. 
16 Nov 2004

Investigating a Turbine Tragedy: Bat deaths could threaten green image of wind power

The 2003 study, aimed as much at birds as bats, unexpectedly found that the Mountaineer wind turbines on Backbone Mountain killed an estimated 2,092 bats. Tuttle, not involved in that study, called the 2003 bat kill “by far the largest bat mortality event I know of worldwide and, as far as I know, the biggest mortality event of any animal.” The 2004 bat kill could be even worse.
3 Oct 2004

"The noise was incredible."

This is a letter written by Paula Stahl of St. George, West Virginia, about her experiences living in the neighborhood of the 66 MW Mountaineer Wind Energy Center. Formerly known as the Backbone Mountain Wind Farm, the 4,400-acre site has 44 turbines, 1.5 MW each, stretched along miles of ridgeline in Tucker and Preston counties. Ms. Stahl submitted the letter to the Berkshire Eagle and North Adams Transcript, neither of which has printed it.
5 Apr 2004

Correspondence re. Bat Kill: Mountaineer Wind Energy Center (W.VA)

Arec_batfaq_emails2_1__thumb From: Sam Enfield - Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation Sent: Thu 2/12/2004 To: Jessica Almy, Humane Society, U.S. Subject: FAQs about Bats and Wind Energy Turbines Sorry, just to be a little more precise that I was in my prior e-mail. ....By way of introduction, I managed the development work on the Backbone Mountain Wind Project, now the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center, in West Virginia. Your FAQs about Bats and Wind Energy Turbines is good, although I just wanted to correct one statement about which I have specific knowledge.
12 Feb 2004

Relationships between Bats and Wind Turbines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia: An Assessment of Fatality Search Protocols, Patterns of Fatality, and Behavioral Interactions with Wind Turbines

Bats_and_iwt_in_pa_and_wva_thumb 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.
1 Jan 2004

Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative

Bats_and_wind_energy_cooperative_scientists_thumb 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.
1 Jan 2004

Mountaineer (WV) Before

Mountaineer_before_thumb Site of a portion of the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in 1997, five years before the start of construction. This is a digital color infrared photograph, which explains the odd coloration. The red areas are the conifer tree species (spruce, pine and hemlock) which are highly reflective of infrared light. The photo was taken during the winter so the brown areas depict the bare deciduous forest, mostly northern hardwoods — maple, birch, cherry, and northern red oak. The green bar at lower left is a 100m [328 foot] scale. This study area was chosen to compare before and after conditions, illustrating the impact of this type of development. Jon Boone's Comments regarding Mountaineer (WV) Before (this image), Mountaineer (WV) After (1), and Mountaineer (WV) After (2). The first two images (i.e. Before and After 1) show the extensive forest-interior habitat that existed before the windplant was constructed and the resulting impacts following construction in late 2002. The third image (i.e. After 2) shows the southern half of the windplant (about 22 turbines) and identifies the boundaries of the study area for the pre- vs. post-construction analysis. It also shows that the study area I chose was fairly representative of the existing habitat conditions at this windplant and gives a better view of the magnitude of the development’s impacts on forest and especially forest-interior habitat. [Forest interior is the type of habitat that exists at more than 100 meters from a clearing. Forest interior is required for the survival of certain species and is the type of habitat most easily destroyed by any form of development.] On the portion of the site that I analyzed, the construction of this wind factory cleared over 42 acres of forest for the string of eight turbines (out of 44) that I analyzed. The extensive fragmentation of habitat resulting from the 50-ft-wide service road and the 5+ acres (average) that were bulldozed to erect each turbine caused the loss of over 150 acres of forest-interior conditions within this once-contiguous forest tract. My estimate is that a complete analysis of the entire project area, including 5.5 miles of ridgetop and 44 turbines, would find a total of nearly 200 acres of forest were cleared and over 750 acres of forest-interior habitat was lost following construction of the Mountaineer wind energy facility.
1 Jan 1997

http://www.windaction.org/posts?location=West+Virginia&p=27
back to top