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Wind farms respond to animal mortality study

An effort to protect both wildlife and wind farm profits will benefit from an agreement by 20 wind energy companies to "avoid, minimize and mitigate" the impact of wind turbines on wild birds and mammals, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission said. Unlike Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Canada, Pennsylvania has no regulations for wind farm projects, relying instead on voluntary guidelines without enforcement provisions.

An effort to protect both wildlife and wind farm profits will benefit from an agreement by 20 wind energy companies to "avoid, minimize and mitigate" the impact of wind turbines on wild birds and mammals, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission said.

Unlike Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Canada, Pennsylvania has no regulations for wind farm projects, relying instead on voluntary guidelines without enforcement provisions.

Through the Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperative Agreement, signed by major wind energy companies in 2007, companies gather information about migration routes and critical habitats of birds, bats and other animals especially susceptible to wind turbines. Game Commission biologists analyze the data.

The first results of the agreement were released last week.

"This report reveals which species are most susceptible to impacts from wind turbines and how much mortality is occurring in Pennsylvania," Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe said.

Catching the wind in the high-tech windmills is the fastest-growing energy technology in the state and nation, and an important part of Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to expand alternative energy use in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

An effort to protect both wildlife and wind farm profits will benefit from an agreement by 20 wind energy companies to "avoid, minimize and mitigate" the impact of wind turbines on wild birds and mammals, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission said.

Unlike Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Canada, Pennsylvania has no regulations for wind farm projects, relying instead on voluntary guidelines without enforcement provisions.

Through the Wind Energy Voluntary Cooperative Agreement, signed by major wind energy companies in 2007, companies gather information about migration routes and critical habitats of birds, bats and other animals especially susceptible to wind turbines. Game Commission biologists analyze the data.

The first results of the agreement were released last week.

"This report reveals which species are most susceptible to impacts from wind turbines and how much mortality is occurring in Pennsylvania," Game Commission Executive Director Carl Roe said.

Catching the wind in the high-tech windmills is the fastest-growing energy technology in the state and nation, and an important part of Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to expand alternative energy use in the state. Pennsylvania is the leading producer of wind energy in the Eastern United States, generating 153 megawatts -- enough to power 70,000 homes. Rendell has set a goal of increasing wind power production to more than 3,000 megawatts over the next 15 years.

But growth of the wind energy industry has been slowed by conservationists' concerns about animal mortality. In 2004, hundreds of migratory birds and up to 4,000 bats were killed at a West Virginia wind farm, and more bats died at a wind energy field in Meyersdale, Somerset County.

William Capouillez, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management director, said tangible results of the Voluntary Cooperative Agreement are helping to get the program back on track.

"As part of this process, three proposed project sites were voluntarily abandoned by wind energy companies due to potential wildlife resource impacts that were brought to light through consultation with the Game Commission," he said, "These are real-world examples of how this voluntary agreement has helped protect wildlife and their habitats, as well as reinforced the conservation goal of wind energy companies."

The primary challenges that remain, he said, include encouraging non-cooperators to sign the agreement, improving communication among the Game Commission, developers and consultants, and enforcing survey protocols.


Source: http://www.post-gazette.com...

FEB 1 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18849-wind-farms-respond-to-animal-mortality-study
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