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Missouri’s largest wind farm is idle at night for fear of killing endangered animals

“To be clear, the High Prairie Wind Farm has been curtailed from before dusk to after dawn since April 19, 2021,” Geoff Marke, chief economist for the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel said in sworn testimony filed last week with the Missouri Public Service Commission. Ameren halted night operations for several weeks this spring after four bats, which are nocturnal, and 52 birds, including a bald eagle, were discovered dead on the property, according to a report submitted to federal wildlife officials.

Every night for months, turbines at Missouri’s largest wind farm sit idle to avoid killing endangered and threatened bats.

And now, as the wind farm’s owner, Ameren Missouri, seeks permission to increase customers’ rates, consumer advocates are sounding the alarm. They argue customers shouldn’t have to pay the full costs of the wind farm on their bills if it’s not fully functional. And at least one fears the company won’t meet state standards for renewable energy.

The St. Louis electric utility purchased the High Prairie Renewable Energy Center near Kirksville from a developer and started operations last year. The 175-turbine facility should produce up to 400 megawatts.

But according to testimony filed with regulators who are expected to decide on Ameren’s requested rate increase, High Prairie is not producing at full capacity.

“To be clear, the High Prairie Wind Farm has been curtailed from before dusk to after dawn since April 19, 2021,” Geoff Marke, chief economist for the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel said in sworn testimony filed last week with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Ameren halted night operations for several weeks this spring after four bats, which are... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Every night for months, turbines at Missouri’s largest wind farm sit idle to avoid killing endangered and threatened bats.

And now, as the wind farm’s owner, Ameren Missouri, seeks permission to increase customers’ rates, consumer advocates are sounding the alarm. They argue customers shouldn’t have to pay the full costs of the wind farm on their bills if it’s not fully functional. And at least one fears the company won’t meet state standards for renewable energy.

The St. Louis electric utility purchased the High Prairie Renewable Energy Center near Kirksville from a developer and started operations last year. The 175-turbine facility should produce up to 400 megawatts.

But according to testimony filed with regulators who are expected to decide on Ameren’s requested rate increase, High Prairie is not producing at full capacity.

“To be clear, the High Prairie Wind Farm has been curtailed from before dusk to after dawn since April 19, 2021,” Geoff Marke, chief economist for the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel said in sworn testimony filed last week with the Missouri Public Service Commission.

Ameren halted night operations for several weeks this spring after four bats, which are nocturnal, and 52 birds, including a bald eagle, were discovered dead on the property, according to a report submitted to federal wildlife officials.

It received a permit in May from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to operate in a way that seeks to minimize the number of endangered or threatened bats it kills each year. But bats kept turning up on the property.

So despite Ameren’s good faith efforts to protect the bats, in June, it voluntarily stopped running the turbines at night, said Karen Herrington, a field supervisor for the Missouri Ecological Services Field Office of the USFWS.

It’s the only wind farm in Missouri that Herrington said she is aware of that has had to stop operating at night to avoid bat kills.

Ameren is currently seeking a rate increase from customers worth nearly $300 million, including costs from High Prairie that it hopes to recover from ratepayers.


Source: https://www.yahoo.com/news/...

SEP 9 2021
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52757-missouri-s-largest-wind-farm-is-idle-at-night-for-fear-of-killing-endangered-animals
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