Library filed under Impact on Bats
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.
This important paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines the unprecedented numbers of tree-roosting bat fatalities at operating wind turbine facilities and the behavior of the bats near the turbines. The abstract of the paper along with the significance of the findings are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Twelve lifeless bodies were found near the machines at a wind farm in Benton County, Ind., during the study period between July 29 and Oct. 1 in 2012. The study was published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More dead bats is bad news, particularly at this time of year. Around the end of the month, hibernating bats will start flocking back to caverns, where a lethal disease called white-nose syndrome lurks.
“Bats may not have the cognitive ability to differentiate wind turbines or other tree-like structures from real trees either at a distance or at close range,” the researchers said. “The simplest explanation for bats closely approaching turbines may be that they are seeking places to roost in what they perceive as trees while migrating.”
“Coloradans treasure their environment. This bill will protect our sacred Bald Eagles and other bird species that currently are being killed in alarming numbers,” Senator Balmer said. “This legislation will require prudent steps renewable energy producers must take as they site and operate their facilities.”
The number of bats killed by wind turbines at the Spring Valley Wind Farm in 2014 has been reduced by more than 75 percent compared to the same time frame last year.
“If municipalities are going to go by avian studies that are funded by turbine developers, they’re not going to find mention of something such as this migration that has been documented since 1991. Right now, we are relying on numbers from the exact corporations that don’t want to find any dead birds, because any dead birds they find is subjected to prosecution and fines.”
The 152-megawatt Spring Valley Wind Energy project about 260 miles northeast of Las Vegas killed an estimated 566 bats in 2013, so its operator agreed to change when the windmills kick on in hopes of reducing the number of deaths.
In this recent study, researchers present a comprehensive study on the breeding provenance of endangered and protected noctule bats killed at German wind turbines, showing that individuals from local and distant populations are among the recorded fatalities. The results provide a first step on the way towards an evaluation on how bat fatalities at wind turbines might impact local and regional populations in migratory bat species. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.