Documents filed under Impact on Wildlife
In February, 2007, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission awarded Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO) a Certificate Of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct a wind electric generation facility and associated electric facilities (Case # 6630-CE-294), to be located in Fond du Lac County. The Blue Sky Green Field facility, consisting of 88 Vestas V-80 (1.65 megawatt) towers and totaling 145 megawatts, began commercial operation in May 2008. As a condition of approval, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission required post-construction mortality studies be conducted. Combined mortality for birds and bats per year was found to be very high at 52.37 animals per turbine per year or over 4,600 deaths for the site. The results of the fatality study can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. The executive summary of the report is provide below.
Thousands of industrial-scale wind turbines are being built across the world each year to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy. Bats of certain species are dying at wind turbines in unprecedented numbers. Species of bats consistently affected by turbines tend to be those that rely on trees as roosts and most migrate long distances. Although considerable progress has been made in recent years toward better understanding the problem, the causes of bat fatalities at turbines remain unclear. In this synthesis, we review hypothesized causes of bat fatalities at turbines. Hypotheses of cause fall into 2 general categories—proximate and ultimate. Proximate causes explain the direct means by which bats die at turbines and include collision with towers and rotating blades, and barotrauma. Ultimate causes explain why bats come close to turbines and include 3 general types: random collisions, coincidental collisions, and collisions that result from attraction of bats to turbines. The random collision hypothesis posits that interactions between bats and turbines are random events and that fatalities are representative of the bats present at a site. Coincidental hypotheses posit that certain aspects of bat distribution or behavior put them at risk of collision and include aggregation during migration and seasonal increases in flight activity associated with feeding or mating. A surprising number of attraction hypotheses suggest that bats might be attracted to turbines out of curiosity, misperception, or as potential feeding, roosting, flocking, and mating opportunities. Identifying, prioritizing, and testing hypothesized causes of bat collisions with wind turbines are vital steps toward developing practical solutions to the problem.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wet Virginia field office, issued these comments regarding the Pinnacle wind power project proposed for ridgelines in Mineral County, WV. The comments pertain to the Habitat Characterization and Assessment of Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species for the Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009a); the Avian Risk Assessment for the Pinnacle Wind Power Project (Kerlinger 2009); and the Bat Risk Assessment: Pinnacle Wind Farm (BHE Environmental 2009b). Excerpts of the letter are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
As imperiled bird populations continue to increase, new challenges arise from the effects of growing numbers of communication towers, power lines, commercial wind facilities, and buildings. This paper briefly reviews steps the USFWS is taking to seriously address structural impacts to migratory birds. New findings will be briefly reviewed that address lighting impacts, new challenges facing birds from tower radiation, and collision and habitat fragmentation effects on avifauna.
The Animal Welfare Institute, Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, and others submitted this pretrial brief and supporting reply briefs in their law suit opposing the Beech Ridge wind energy facility to be located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. These briefs show that the developer, Beech Ridge Energy LLC, discovered the presence of the federally endangered Indiana Bat at the project site but withheld this information from federal and state authorities. With this information hidden from public inspection, the project was granted a siting certificate from the West Virginia Public Service Commission to construct up to 124 wind turbines, each 390 feet tall, along a twenty-three mile stretch of land on forested Allegheny Mountain ridgelines. Construction commence in early 2009 but a subsequent injunction request was filed by the plaintiffs and granted pending the outcome of this law suit. The pre-trial brief and reply briefs by renown bat experts Drs. Lynn Robbins, Michael Gannon and Thomas Kunz can be accessed by clicking on the links below. The introduction to the reply brief is also posted below. The trial is scheduled from October 21 before the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
This important report, which appeared in the Wildlife Society's Journal of Wildlife Management, details the effect on raptor and bird mortality following repowering a portion of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California (USA). Repowering involves removing older generation towers and replacing them with higher capacity -- and potentially better sited -- units. The abstract to this report appears below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
This report appeared in this month's edition of Advance for Audiologists, a trade magazine for professional audiologists.
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection scientists have opposed wind energy development in the Delaware Bay, which could cut down an Ocean County firm's plans for 106 wind turbines there. Delsea Energy continues to push for the project and has applied for the right to measure wind and other bay-related data that could lead to the turbines' construction there. However, DEP scientists and the Atlantic Flyway Council have raised concerns about the effect the project would have on wildlife. A DEP assistant commissioner wrote last month "that the Delaware Bay is not an appropriate area for development of wind energy." Scott Brubaker, the DEP's assistant commissioner for land use management, informed Delsea Energy in this Aug. 20 letter "that the Delaware Bay is not an appropriate area for development of wind energy." The full letter with attachments can be accessed by clicking on the link below. Follow-up e-mails between the wind developer and NJ DEP can also be accessed.
Save The River, the leading grassroots advocacy organization working to protect the St. Lawrence River, submitted these comments to the Town of Cape Vincent, NY encouraging adoption of a one-year moratorium on all wind energy development.
The Animal Welfare Institute, Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy and David G. Cowan have filed a law suit against Beech Ridge Energy LLC and Invenergy Wind LLC under the federal Endangered Species Act ("ESA"). This filing seeks preliminary injunction to halt further construction, turbine erection, and operation of the Beech Ridge industrial wind power project. The plaintiffs argue that the project, if constructed, will result in the "likely killing, injury, and other forms of "take" of endangered Indiana bats in violation of the ESA." The wind project is proposed to be located on ridgelines in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.
This page contains links to letters sent between the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wild Service regarding whether wind power development is permitted in Wyoming's 'core sage grouse habitat area'. Brian Kelly of the USFWS states in his letter that “ . . . constructing wind farms in core areas, even for research purposes, prior to demonstrating it can be done with no impact to sage grouse, negates the usefulness of the core area concept as a conservation strategy and brings into question whether adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place to protect the species.”
Windaction.org is grateful to Dr. Smallwood for taking the time to develop these constructive comments in response to the US Fish and Wildlife Service's 3rd draft of its wind turbine siting guidelines.
Wyoming's Governor Dave Freudenthal wrote this letter to the legislative Wind Energy Task Force formed in the 2008-2009 session. The Task Force will be studying various aspects of the legal framework surrounding wind energy development including state statutes related to industrial siting and the authority of the Public Service Commission; federal statutes related to state and county authorities and other issues pertaining to wind energy development and its associated transmission infrastructure. The Governor is very clear that environmental concerns will not take a back seat to wind development and that a balance between land uses is essential.
Eric R. Glitzenstein of the public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal in Washington DC filed this letter with the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar on behalf of a number of conservation and citizen groups concerned with the impact of poorly sited and constructed wind power projects on bat and bird populations and other wildlife resources.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and five other conservation groups released this report in response to the growing pressure to site renewable energy projects on open desert land in Oregon. While the ONDA supports renewable energy development and believes that such development can help reduce fossil fuel consumption and create sustainable economies for rural communities, the organization sees an urgent need to analyze where wind power potential is the highest and wildlife and social conflicts are the lowest. The analysis is important in ensuring projects can be developed without degradation of desert wildlands and damage to sensitive wildlife populations. This report was created through the mapping and analysis of the areas identified by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as having the best wind power potential. This data is compared with sensitive natural resources such as Greater sage-grouse breeding areas. The report includes a narrative outlining the nature of the potential conflicts with wind energy development as well as Best Practices and guidelines to minimize impacts.
This letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers details the deficiencies in Noble Environmental Power's application to build a 99-megawatt wind energy facility in Coos County, New Hampshire. The US Fish and Wildlife Service makes a powerful case for why a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be undertaken in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
This letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers details the deficiencies in Noble Environmental Power's application to build a 99-megawatt wind energy facility in Coos County, New Hampshire. The US Environmental Protection Agency makes a powerful case for why a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be undertaken in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Nature Conservancy of New Hampshire submitted the below comments to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee in response to a proposal pending before the committee. The proposal, known as the Granite Reliable Power (GRP, LLC) Wind Park, seeks to erect thirty-three 3.0MW turbines along the Kelsey, Owlshead, and Dixville peaks located in Coos County, NH. GRP, LLC is owned by Noble Environmental Power.
Birds are a priceless part of America's heritage. They are beautiful, they are economically important-and they reflect the health of our environment. This State of the Birds report reveals troubling declines of bird populations during the past 40 years-a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. At the same time, we see heartening evidence that strategic land management and conservation action can reverse declines of birds. This report calls attention to the collective efforts needed to protect nature's resources for the benefit of people and wildlife.
The Audubon Society of New Hampshire submitted comments to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee in response to a proposal pending before the committee. The proposal, known as the Granite Reliable Power (GRP, LLC) Wind Park, seeks to erect thirty-three 3.0MW turbines along the Kelsey, Owlshead, and Dixville peaks located in Coos County, NH. GRP, LLC is owned by Noble Environmental Power.