Library filed under Impact on Bats
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.
Collisions with wind turbines worldwide and the disease white-nose syndrome in North America lead the reported causes of mass death in bats since the onset of the 21st century. These new threats now surpass all prior known causes of bat mortality, natural or attributed to humans. A comprehensive study reveals trends in the occurrence and causes of multiple mortality events in bats as reported globally for the past 200 years, shedding new light on the possible factors underlying population declines.
This new study examines bat mortality events including impacts from operating wind energy facilities. The global expansion of industrial wind energy production has resulted in multiple fatalities reported from wind turbines in North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia, most during the past decade (See Appendix S6 of the report). Estimates that include bias corrections range to thousands of bat deaths annually at some facilities. Cumulative deaths of bats at turbines tabulated for Europe for the period 2003–2013 involved 5626 bats of 27 species in 18 countries, only a fraction of the likely mortality. In some regions, deaths of some species at wind turbines far exceed other known sources of mortality (Cryan 2011). Causes of susceptibility to wind turbines are not fully understood. To acess the full report click the links on this page.
The bald eagle recovery program in Iowa is perhaps our state’s best wildlife management success story to date, but progress is being lost due to the mass killing of bald eagles by industrial wind turbines. This conflict between industry and environment is now playing out near Fairbank, Iowa located in Fayette County, where shell companies Mason Wind (parent firm is China’s largest naval defense contractor) and Optimum Renewables (parent company is a German wind services firm) are attempting to build their wind farm in an area known for bald eagle habitats.
As for the wind turbines, any federally run turbines are required to shut down when the bats are migrating in the spring or fall, McCumber said. The base has three wind turbines that provide power to its groundwater treatment plants and two for the PAVE PAWS radar station. Typically, it’s on nights when the winds are light or nonexistent that the turbines stop spinning because the bats are likely on the move, he said.
But Angus Hutchinson, the authority’s principal development control officer, said there were many species of bats and some could be severely affected by the turbine. He recommended to members that the application be rejected as a result of this, despite it having been recommended for approval in their papers.
On Aug. 11, a California district court overturned an FWS rule authorizing 30-year BGEPA take permits for failure to comply with NEPA. The FWS already commenced a NEPA review and aims to finalize revised regulations by 2017. This decision does not prohibit further issuance of five-year BGEPA take permits. Only one five-year permit, and no 30-year permits, has been issued to date, although several applications are pending.
Researchers and conservationists first raised the alarm about wind turbines killing bats more than a decade ago. Studies have since suggested that migratory bats, which roost in trees and fly long distances in the spring and fall, are attracted to the turbines and their towers for some reason. When they fly too close, they collide with the spinning turbine blades and are killed. Estimates of just how many bats are dying range from the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.
Much of the scenic beauty for which Maine is so widely known will be despoiled. The stated 2,700-Megawatt goal of Maine’s Wind Energy Act would require as many as 1,500 wind turbines, each hundreds of feet tall, with accompanying access roads and new transmission lines, on up to 300 miles of Maine’s hills and mountains. Those transmission lines, to carry the electricity that could be provided by a single, high-quality conventional generator, will add billions of dollars to New England electric bills.
Wind-farm operations in some instances will be more complicated and costly as a result of the federal government’s announcement last week that it will list the Northern long-eared bat as a threatened species. However, more changes might be coming that could give the industry greater flexibility.
Listing a species as threatened means that any trafficking, injuring or killing of that animal becomes prohibited, but unlike endangered species, some exemptions can be carved out. ...Wind farms did not receive an exemption.
The 15-page opinion credits the finding by FWS "that the minimization and mitigation measures 'fully offset' the impact of the taking of Indiana bats, and thus, it was not necessary to determine if the plan was the 'maximum that can be practically implemented.'"
The Service’s three-mile setback from Great Lakes shorelines is a recommendation based on areas along the shoreline identified as having the highest habitat value for migrating and nesting birds. Hicks said the agency cannot force developers to apply for permits, but killing an eagle and not having an incidental take permit can result in prosecution. The Service’s 2012 wind energy guidelines are voluntary for developers.
This important study concludes that more than 250,000 bats are killed annually due to interactions with German wind turbines, and total losses may account for more than two million killed bats over the past 10 years, if mitigation measures were not practiced. The abstract to the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
More than two-thirds of bats being killed by wind turbines on German ground are migrants on their way between summer and winter habitats. Due to its geographical location in Europe, Germany has consequently a central responsibility for the conservation of migratory bats, experts say.
“Today politics won out over science and law,” said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. After heavy pushback from the timber, oil and gas, mining, and wind-energy industries, whose activities could harm the species, the Service delayed its final decision on the bat’s designation for six months.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered an option Thursday to protect northern long-eared bats while limiting regulatory burden on the public.
A large wind farm with 50 turbines proposed southwest of Vermilion is raising concerns about noise, disturbing farmers and killing migratory birds and bats.
s if white-nose syndrome wasn’t enough, the nation’s bats have another problem: wind turbines that are becoming increasingly more common on the American landscape. For two months, Paul Cryan, a research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, set up thermal video surveillance cameras to find out why up to 900,000 bats are killed by windmills each year.
The new paper does not attempt is to estimate the number of bat fatalities attributable to wind farms, but a report on its findings Monday in the Washington Post cited other recent research putting the number as high as 600,000 or even 900,000 annually across the United States ...It could also mean that wind farms are killing even more bats than birds, whose losses have received far more attention.