Library filed under Impact on Bats
“We conclude the (wildlife) service failed to comply with its NEPA obligations when it failed to consider an economically feasible alternative that would take fewer bats than Buckeye’s proposal, and we reverse the district court on that point,” [Circuit Judge Robert L.] Wilkins stated.
A U.S. Appeals Court ruling provided mixed results for a proposed wind farm in Champaign County. ...The court ruled that the federal agency used the correct standard to show Everpower minimized the impact but failed to consider other alternatives that would have led to fewer bats killed.
"The Service knew, at a minimum, that Buckeye claimed a full nighttime option was not economically viable, and it was aware of other, more viable measures that would still take fewer bats than Buckeye's proposal - Union Neighbors repeatedly suggested using a cut-in speed higher than 6.0 m/s," Judge Robert Wilkins said, writing for the three-judge panel. "Yet the Service failed to consider any higher cut-in speed in either the draft or final [environmental impact statement]."
Germany's model transition to clean energy can mean conflict with conservationists. In Bremerhaven, an environment group has blocked plans for an offshore wind power port with a court order. A conundrum to be avoided?
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.
A research review published in January of this year found that wind turbines are, by far, the largest cause of mass bat mortality around the world. White-nose syndrome, the deadly fungal disease that has decimated bat populations throughout the northeastern U.S., came in second.
Apex Clean Energy will turn the turbines off from dusk to dawn every year between May 15 and Nov. 15, when bats are foraging for food. But they could remain on when the wind is blowing faster that 15 mph or when the temperature dips below 38 degrees, conditions that keep the bats grounded.
Since bats are long-lived and slow to breed, population stability requires high survival rates in adults. But the onset of white-nose syndrome and a growing wind energy industry threaten these rates. The authors doubt their observations are sustainable.
The study found that half of red bats killed in the area were not local residents and probably summered at locations far from the wind turbines, whereas nearly all of the hoary bats summered locally. The red bats represented a single, massive breeding population in the hundreds of thousands to millions of individuals. In contrast, the hoary bats represented a relatively small group.
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.
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.