Articles filed under Impact on Bats
Wildlife-smart wind power may be as close as it gets to "green energy." But over vast swaths of America, the "smart" part is still more hot air than reality--especially when it comes to raptors. Essayist Ted Williams provides an important review of wind energy and its impact on birds.
Developing and implementing a habitat conservation plan is a requirement for obtaining an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. Without such a permit, it is illegal to harm or kill federally threatened and endangered species. The plan and permit allow for projects that potentially impact threatened or endangered species to continue while the company takes actions to avoid, minimize and mitigate for the impacts.
Exelon Generation, which owns and operates the 28-turbine Criterion wind project built in 2010 in Garrett County, has pledged to "feather" or reduce the rotation speed of its turbines' blades during nighttime from late summer to early fall, peak bat migration time.
A business park near the Camp Perry site already has put up a wind turbine, but it isn't operating yet. Kim Kauffman, director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, said they will be monitoring it. "If we were to learn it killed migrating birds or eagles, we would pursue legal action," she said. There are about 60 bald eagle nests within 10 miles of the wind turbine, she said.
But these are hard days for these peculiar animals, because they face mass extinction from a disease called White Nose Syndrome and every night thousands of are killed by energy-producing wind turbines that conservationists, economists and politicians hope will reduce this nation's need for foreign oil. A new study from the University of Colorado, Denver, estimates that 600,000 bats were killed by wind turbines last year alone.
The review of a proposed 62-turbine wind farm project in this Somerset County town has been put on hold in part because of concerns about the danger the turbines might pose to bats being threatened by white-nose syndrome, a rapidly spreading fungal disease.
Bat mortality is a typical concern at wind energy farms and it is standard practice to evaluate bat habitats and mortality rates during project reviews. The Department of Environmental Protection, however, may be revising its recommendations on the turning speed of wind turbines, which can be a threat to birds and bats that fly into them.
More than a half-million bats were killed by flying into high-speed wind energy turbines last year, according to new research scheduled for publication next week in the journal BioScience. Previous estimates had said that the clean-energy producing mechanisms were responsible from between 33,000 to 880,000, but a new analysis of dead bats found at wind turbine sites conducted by University of Colorado-Denver researchers places that figure at over 600,000.
Little information is available on bat deaths at wind turbine facilities in the Rocky Mountain West or the Sierra Nevada, according to Mark Hayes, a University of Colorado, Boulder researcher who authored a new study, set to be published in the journal BioScience. “The development and expansion of wind energy facilities is a key threat to bat populations in North America,” Hayes said.
Over 600,000 bats were killed by wind energy turbines across the United States last year, with the highest concentration of kills in the Appalachian Mountains, according to new research. In a paper published Friday in the journal BioScience, University of Colorado biologist Mark Hayes used records of dead bats found beneath wind generators, and statistical analysis, to estimate how many bats were struck and killed by generator propellers each year.
One looming threat is the growing presence of wind farms — a threat that wasn’t realized until the first turbine went up in northeastern B.C. and killed two Eastern red bats, a species biologists weren’t even aware existed in the province. “It was a real red flag for us that we don’t know enough about our bats and we better figure it out fast.”
“The Sierra Club position is that we support wind energy ‘in appropriate sites,’ and that has to include siting considerations and engineering and operating conditions to minimize bird impacts,” said Jim Kotcon, conservation chair of the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club. “We should not be providing a blank check to wind farms, and they need to operate in an environmentally conscious way in order to retain their claim as ‘green energy’.”
GMP will also continue to follow its certificate of public good which requires voluntary curtailment of turbine operation during calm or nearly calm summer evenings when bats are out hunting. The agreement gave GMP a permit allowing a handful of bats to be killed at the wind project each year, with the understanding that more bats would be saved through the mitigation funding than lost at the wind project.
The operator of a southern West Virginia wind farm estimates that several dozen endangered bats could be killed by flying into turbine blades during a 25-year period, according to a federal review of the risks to the flying mammals. The estimated death toll comes as Beech Ridge Energy requests a permit under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The technology lets researchers track all of the tagged birds on one frequency but identify them separately, including 600 birds and bats tagged by other researchers in the Gulf of Maine. ...The Nantucket Sound pilot project is designed to help researchers figure out what marine and coastal birds are doing and where they are doing it offshore, said Caleb Spiegel, a biologist with the wildlife service, which is supporting the work.
On Thursday the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources will hold a hearing in Lowell on Green Mountain Power's request to kill up to four of the bats a year at the Kingdom Community Wind site in Lowell. The request comes as bat populations in the Northeast have been decimated by a fungal disease called white nose syndrome.
In a sign that endangered bats may be the next point of contention in the ongoing debate over ridgeline wind in Vermont, wind opponents asked for a hearing on GMP’s request for a permit to kill up to seven bats a year. The company says it faces economic hardship if it’s forced to curtail operations to fully protect the creatures.
The Vermont Department of Public Service recommended that state utility regulators find the Lowell wind project in violation of its operating certificate for exceeding noise limits four times last winter. However, the department asked the Vermont Public Service Board not to impose sanctions right away on Green Mountain Power, which operates the Lowell wind project, to give GMP time to remedy the problems that caused excessive noise, according to filings with the board.
Ridgeline wind project opponents want hearings on a permit application by Green Mountain Power to allow the deaths of a small number of endangered or protected bats each year by Lowell wind turbines.
In a March 25 letter to the County Planing and Zoning Commission, the Arizona Department of Game and Fish (AZGF) "states specific concerns and recommendations for birds, bats, and other wildlife in connection with the Red Horse 2 wind energy project, including a recommendation of two years of data collection as part of the site evaluation and pre-construction monitoring," he said.