Articles filed under Impact on Bats
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – A wind farm in Montana might be killing more birds and bats than expected, according to preliminary findings of a study by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
A preconstruction acoustic survey for bats predicted that the wind farm’s impact would be low, but the preliminary results of the study show it’s been higher than anticipated. Over the first six months of the post-construction study, FWP is estimating with 95 percent confidence that the turbines killed between 120 to 397 bats with the figure likely 221 or about nine bats per turbine.
Five different species of bats have been found dead below turbines in southern Sweden by the researchers. What they all have in common is that they prefer to hunt at higher altitudes, making them more vulnerable to the rotating blades than peers. ...if nothing is done to limit the deaths, numerous populations are at risk of getting rare, Green said.
“The proposed wind farm would be disastrous for Africa’s Critically Endangered vultures, and many other important bird species, and contradicts Kenya’s commitment to the Convention on Migratory Species.”
As wind farms statewide are killing more Hawaiian hoary bats than expected, a Maui wind farm is asking the state to increase the amount of endangered bats and nene it’s allowed to incidentally kill.
Led by researchers at Austin, Texas-based Bat Conservation International, the paper estimates that if new mitigation measures to prevent bats from colliding with spinning turbine blades are not quickly implemented, "the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90 percent in the next 50 years."
A Maui wind farm wants the government to increase the number of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats it is allowed to kill, after passing the limit 15 years ahead of schedule. SunEdison Inc., owner of the 21-megawatt wind facility called Kaheawa Wind Power II, requested to increase the amount of hoary bats the facility is allowed to kill to 62 from 11 bats over its 20-year project with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. DLNR proposed to approve the increase in a bulletin called the Environment Notice from the Office of Environmental Quality Control released Thursday. “The proposed action would result in benefits at the local and state level by producing clean, renewable energy in line with Hawaii’s clean-energy goals,” DLNR said in the notice. “Effects to the Hawaiian hoary bat and nene would be offset by funding research, restoration, or land acquisition to mitigate for the take of each species. Based on the mitigation efforts, no adverse impacts to either species is anticipated.”
Wind turbine collisions and the deadly bat disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) can together intensify the decline of endangered Indiana bat populations in the midwestern United States, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.
“We don’t think the mitigation measure and adaptive measurements have met the standards of the law,” Phillips said. “Specifically with the Hawaiian hoary bat, we don’t really know how many bats there are. … Even at those numbers, if it’s only a couple hundred and if they are killing over 50 bats, that is a huge impact to the species’ base line.”
A wind turbine company will have a chance to prove its eight-turbine project won’t negatively impact the local population of the little brown bat.
Black Swamp Executive Director Kim Kaufman and ABC's Michael Hutchins, director of the conservancy's Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, said they support clean, renewable sources of energy such as wind power. But they maintain that "the Great Lakes are not a good place for large-scale, commercial wind energy projects," particularly in a region designated as a Globally Important Bird Area.
Wind farms have a long-documented history of killing hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year. As it turns out, the bat toll may be higher than previously estimated.
Jefferson County Planning Board member Clifford P. Schneider claimed that Apex Clean Energy failed to address the potential number of birds and bats that could die from colliding with their turbines’ blades and rotors for its proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm. He requested that the developer should conduct a radar study in 2017 to determine that statistic.
Hutchins said studies conducted on bird collisions with aircraft provide insight to wind energy projects. What they find is that birds can see objects coming at them, but they don’t get the same chance to react with turbine blades turning during high winds at up to 175 miles per hour.
A recent study of 183 DTE Energy wind turbines found that bird and bat deaths per megawatt is just above average compared to other wind parks in the Midwest.
The Environmental Review Tribunal has stalled a wind turbine project, ruling it would cause harm to both human health and the environment.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit recently held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving an Ohio wind energy project without looking at all reasonable alternatives for reducing deaths to the endangered Indiana bat. See Union Neighbors United Inc. v. Jewell, No. 15-5147 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 5, 2016). However, the FWS prevailed on a separate ESA claim, in which the court held that the FWS’s interpretation of the ESA was entitled to deference.
The danger wind turbines pose to birds is well known. Less appreciated is that hundreds of thousands of bats are also dying.
CLC and Union Neighbors challenged the agency's refusal to consider the higher cut-in speed proposal. The Circuit Court ruled in favor of CLC, stating that "[FWS] failed to comply with its NEPA obligations when it failed to consider an economically feasible alternative that would take fewer bats than Buckeye’s proposal."
“We conclude the (wildlife) service failed to comply with its NEPA obligations when it failed to consider an economically feasible alternative that would take fewer bats than Buckeye’s proposal, and we reverse the district court on that point,” [Circuit Judge Robert L.] Wilkins stated.