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Study probes effects that wind turbines have on bats

In a first-of-its-kind study, the owners of a Somerset County wind farm and an independent conservation group are joining forces to study the effects of turbines on bats. Bat Conservation International is conducting a controlled experiment in which select turbines at Iberdrola Renewables' Casselman Wind Power Project were shut down during certain wind conditions from July through earlier this month. It is the first study in the country to look at the impact of temporarily stopping the turbines on reducing bat deaths.

In a first-of-its-kind study, the owners of a Somerset County wind farm and an independent conservation group are joining forces to study the effects of turbines on bats.

Bat Conservation International is conducting a controlled experiment in which select turbines at Iberdrola Renewables' Casselman Wind Power Project were shut down during certain wind conditions from July through earlier this month.

It is the first study in the country to look at the impact of temporarily stopping the turbines on reducing bat deaths.

"As a company certainly concerned with the potential impact of these projects on wildlife, we're always seeking a better understanding of that," Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman said.

Though the 23-turbine Casselman farm has been operating since February, it officially will be dedicated Thursday morning at a ceremony in which Gov. Ed Rendell is expected to attend. The turbines are located between Garrett and Rockwood near the border of Black and Summit townships.

How the proliferation of turbines on the ridges of Pennsylvania affect the bat population has been a mounting concern, specifically at the proposed Shaffer Mountain wind project in Somerset County.

The results... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

In a first-of-its-kind study, the owners of a Somerset County wind farm and an independent conservation group are joining forces to study the effects of turbines on bats.

Bat Conservation International is conducting a controlled experiment in which select turbines at Iberdrola Renewables' Casselman Wind Power Project were shut down during certain wind conditions from July through earlier this month.

It is the first study in the country to look at the impact of temporarily stopping the turbines on reducing bat deaths.

"As a company certainly concerned with the potential impact of these projects on wildlife, we're always seeking a better understanding of that," Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman said.

Though the 23-turbine Casselman farm has been operating since February, it officially will be dedicated Thursday morning at a ceremony in which Gov. Ed Rendell is expected to attend. The turbines are located between Garrett and Rockwood near the border of Black and Summit townships.

How the proliferation of turbines on the ridges of Pennsylvania affect the bat population has been a mounting concern, specifically at the proposed Shaffer Mountain wind project in Somerset County.

The results of the Casselman study will be reviewed by a scientific advisory committee for the Bat and Wind Energy Cooperative, a coalition between the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Bat Conservation International. Following the review, officials said the study then will be made public

"What excites me as a scientist is that this is a very applied problem," Ed Arnett, a principal wildlife investigator for Bat Conservation International, said in a statement.

"We need to develop renewable energy resources and we would like to develop those responsibly. There's no free lunch here. There are always going to be impacts, but we want to reduce those impacts, particularly with green energy."

Scientists have said they believe bat fatalities occur primarily on low-wind nights when turbines are operating at low power. They theorize that shutting down turbines when winds are low but bat activity is high could significantly lessen fatalities, while only modestly reducing power production.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned that several species of bats, including potentially endangered bats, are killed each year by wind turbines," Alex Hoar, the agency's northeast coordinator for review of wind-power projects, added in a statement.

"The service is pleased to be helping fund this precedent-setting study to test if slightly changing the way a wind turbine operates can substantially reduce or even avoid killing bats."

The Casselman Wind Power Project also is the first time in Pennsylvania that a former coal mine is being used for turbines, company officials said.

The turbines will generate 34.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 10,000 homes.


Source: http://www.tribune-democrat...

OCT 14 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/17481-study-probes-effects-that-wind-turbines-have-on-bats
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