Library filed under Impact on Wildlife
In a March 15 letter, Michael Pentony, the head of the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, warned that the report on Vineyard Wind completed by the U.S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in December included conclusions that were not well supported by data and needed additional analysis of several key angles of impact.
The lease of an offshore wind power project can be cancelled if it is found to be “causing environmental damage to both flora and fauna beneath the sea and posing threat to human life and property while carrying out the activities under water and operation of the wind energy turbines during validity of the lease.” The draft rules also contemplate powers to the Centre to order closure of a wind farm pending an inquiry within a reasonable period if it finds “operation of the wind turbines is causing damage to environment or damage to property or pollution.”
The Summit Ridge Wind Farm was granted a site certificate by the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC or Council) on August 19, 2011. The applicant now seeks a 4th amendment to the certificate that extends the start construction timeline another two years. A host of objections have been raised about the project. This page includes comments by K. Shawn Smallwood PhD outlining environmental concerns with the project’s wildlife surveys and analysis. The Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Wild, and others present their own comments. The procedural background information and an excerpt of the comments filed with the Council are provided below. The full documents can be downloaded from the links on this page.
Council planning and environmental services manager Peter Thom said DOC's submission concerned the potential effects of the wind farm on threatened indigenous species and other biodiversity. One of those species is the threatened long-tailed bat, which DOC's submission says may be at risk of colliding with the turbines, or losing feeding and breeding habitat through the wind farm.
Clean power, green jobs, no emissions – the wind industry is used to being one of the good guys. But to Åsa Larsson-Blind, president of the Sami Council, it’s just the latest – and potentially most deadly – industrial threat to a fragile, ancient culture focused around reindeer herding up towards the Arctic Circle. “The wind industry often says it wants to have a dialogue,” Larsson-Blind told Recharge. “But I believe it thinks it is easier to accommodate than it actually is. I think it has a naïve view that it is just putting up some windmills, not taking away [reindeer] pastures.”
Jim Murphy, legal advocacy director at The National Wildlife Federation, says the switch to renewable energy is critical to combat climate change that threatens all life on the planet, but planners should locate onshore wind farms primarily in developed areas such as agricultural land and avoid wilderness that provides habitat for wildlife.
Wednesday night, the Makakilo, Kapolei and Honokai Hale, passed a resolution 6 to 1 opposing the project, citing issues such as the impact on wildlife, a lack of wind due to climate change, the eyesore it would create on the mountain ridge line and the impact that would have on jobs, tourism, and housing.
The federal government has charged that state officials are rushing to approve wind power projects without adequately considering environmental impacts, particularly the adverse consequences for an endangered species, the opeapea bat. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in a Dec. 27 letter to stop approving any new wind turbines until state and federal officials have had the chance to meet with the facility owners and review the plans.
Until now, the impact of a wind farm on wildlife has been measured by tallying the number of carcasses of a particular species and matching the figure against the local population. But without factoring in the “demographic cost”, this impact might be seriously underestimated, the report says.
This important letter to the Hawaii PUC warns that wind projects operating in the State are impacting endangered species. To address this situation, US FWS askes the PUC to delay approval of any new wind facility contracts until the proponents make the time to meet with the Service. A portion of the letter is provided below. The full letter can be accessed by selecting the documents link(s) on this page.
Norway said on Friday it would build a wind park in an area used for reindeer grazing despite U.N. calls to suspend the project to study the impact on the indigenous herders’ livelihoods.
A first step towards quantifying the cost of a given wind farm in avian and chiropteran wildlife is estimating the number of a given species killed annually in that wind farm. Such estimation involves issues of sampling and detection, both of which have received extensive attention in the biological and statistical literature. But the number killed of any species in a wind farm per annum is not necessarily an adequate measure of the cost of the wind farm as regards this species.
Each of the 24 turbine sites requires about 10 acres of timber-clearing and road construction in sensitive environmental areas where high-quality tributaries and wetlands could be affected, chairman Jason Childs reported. ...Turbines will be nearly 660 feet high.
Opponents argue that the 600-foot-tall, 2,400-ton turbines would diminish the area’s natural beauty and harm sensitive geologic features that provide habitat to 16 endangered species, including bats and crustaceans that live in caves and underground streams. ...Opponents got a boost in October, when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources published a report, known as an Ecological Compliance Assessment Tool (EcoCAT), examining how natural areas and endangered species could be affected by the proposed wind farm. The agency made 19 recommendations. The first was for the developer to consider an alternate location.
Brady said the Block Island Wind Farm, owned by Deepwater, is only five turbines, tiny by comparison to Vineyard. Yet charter fishermen, who traditionally operate south of the wind farm from January through April, reported a dismal fishing season: the once bountiful cod had disappeared. Ørsted Energy, the parent company of Deepwater, like the owners of the Vineyard, have a practice of paying off fishermen whose livelihoods are damaged by the wind farms.
The firm believes the spot would be ideal for generating environmentally-friendly electricity, but objectors have argued it will have a negative impact on the natural environment and goes against Aberdeenshire Council’s local development plan.
At issue is the layout of the project. Fishermen want wide corridors, specifically a mile or wider oriented east to west. Current plans offer two 1-mile corridors, with only one running east to west. As an alternative, Vineyard Wind proposed using larger turbines with nearly 10 megawatts of capacity, thereby reducing the number of towers ...but pose risk to the project because they haven’t received design certification.
The Fishermen’s Advisory Board, which advises the Coastal Resources Management Council on fishing issues related to offshore wind, voted unanimously Monday to deny its support out of fear that the layout of the project’s 84 towering wind turbines in Rhode Island Sound would close off fishing grounds that are considered some of the most productive for the state’s commercial fleet.
Study coauthor Professor Maria Thaker said: 'We have known from many studies that wind farms affect birds and bats. 'They kill them and disrupt their movement. But we took that one step further and discovered that it affects lizards too. 'Every time a top predator is removed or added, unexpected effects trickle through the ecosystem.
A study by the University of Michigan (Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project) showed Lake Ontario to be one of the most stressed great lakes and asked, “why would we want to introduce more stress to the lake” through this wind mill project? “I am worried about the loss of a world-class fishery,” she said. “We should not allow large corporations to take any more chances with our environment.”