Articles filed under Impact on Bats
Miles away, wind turbines sat motionless in the windless night. Their spinning blades can be deadly to bats, bursting capillaries in their lungs before the blades hit their tiny bodies. Three Wyoming bats are particularly susceptible when they migrate from summer to winter ranges. Keinath and Abernethy were looking for bats to tell them which, if any, species called the area home.
Of Wyoming's 15 resident bat species, three of them are most susceptible to the deadly effects of wind turbines: the hoary bat, the silver-haired bat and the eastern red bat. They are Wyoming's only tree-roosting bats, said Douglas Keinath, senior zoologist with the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has issued the first permit of its kind for a wind project in the state allowing a small number of fatalities of endangered bats, which could collide with the turbine blades or be affected by the pressure changes created by the rotating turbines.
Save Western Maryland believes that the HCP is not based on the best available science and is in violation of the Endangered Species Act; that a full environmental impact statement is warranted under the National Environmental Protection Act; and that the draft EA does not adequately analyze alternatives in violation of NEPA.
In January, the wildlife service updated its bat mortality estimate, claiming that at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million bats have been lost to white nose syndrome, prompting agency director Daniel Ashe to call it an "unprecedented wildlife crisis."
"Indiana bats are beginning to slip away from us," said Mollie Matteson, a bat specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity, which this spring petitioned the White House for national action on the disease outbreak. "At this point, every remaining Indiana bat is a precious survivor.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has begun to work with Wisconsin and seven other Midwest states on a habitat conservation plan. The service says the aim is to promote the development of clean energy, while helping federally endangered species known to be at risk from wind farms.
Without the permit, now in its draft form, First Wind would be prohibited by law from any fatalities of the endangered bat species as a result of its activity at the Sheffield site. The Boston-based First Wind company is seeking the permit citing economic hardship.
Beech Ridge Energy is looking for a 25-year permit that would essentially get them off the hook for all the endangered bats that get killed flying into its turbine blades. The project currently has almost 70 turbines in action and has plans to put 30 more in the area.
The PSC dismissed the complaint because the sitting order does not contain material terms and conditions related to noise or flicker and because the agency does not possess the statutory authority to address the issues raised by Braithwaite, according to the commission's final order.
To comply with the terms of a lawsuit settlement, Maryland-based Beech Ridge Energy is seeking a 25-year permit for its wind farm in Greenbrier and Nicholas counties. The existing 67 turbines and another 33 that are planned could harm Virginia big-eared and Indiana bats.
Pending further evaluation, AES has voluntarily ceased nighttime operation of the turbines at the Laurel Mountain facility. The facility has been testing different cut-in speeds to reduce bat mortality. The Indiana bat was found near a turbine that was operating at a cut-in speed of 3.5 meters per second.
These bat species are far more important than First Wind's profits. There's presently a glut of generation in New England and First Wind's intermittent power does nothing more than add to the surplus on the grid. ...First Wind agreed to curtailment during low wind speeds at certain temperatures and now seems to be complaining that such curtailment won't be profitable. Too bad for them.
The research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, involved halting microturbine movement at 20 sites across the UK and examining the effect on bird and bat activity. Bird activity was not significantly affected but bat activity was 54% lower in close proximity to operating turbines.
Laura Ellison is an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Fort Collins, Colorado, who has spent the last 20 years studying bats and other small mammals. Earlier this month she presented on the bat and wind farm issue at the North America Congress for Conservation Biology. "The newer, larger turbines seem to be worse for bats," Ellison said.
Scientists have discovered that the fungus exists in Europe but bats there seem to be unaffected by it, possibly because they have been exposed to it for a longer time and have developed an immunity, explains Kilpatrick. White nose appears to sicken bats while they are in caves because their immunity is suppressed during hibernation, he said.
Sheffield Wind, whose 16-turbine, 40-megawatt utility scale project in the Northeast Kingdom went on line last fall, has filed for the permit because a fungus has decimated Vermont bat populations and placed them on the endangered or threatened species list. "White-nose syndrome" has caused mortality of more than 90 percent of the population of little brown and long-eared bats in the state.
Previous studies have already highlighted that more than 200,000 bats are killed each year by German wind turbines. Researchers are convinced that such high mortality rates may not be sustainable ...Voigt calls for stronger legislative agreements. The large-scale development of wind farms throughout Germany may have negative consequences for even remote ecosystems in northeastern Europe.
A fungal infection known as white-nose syndrome has killed at least 6 million bats in North America since it was discovered six years ago; some species, such as the Indiana bat and the gray bat, may go extinct as a result. The economic impact of losing so many insect-eating animals is staggering: A study published in Science last year estimated that bat deaths could lead to annual agricultural losses in North America of more than US $3.7 billion.
But the concern is that turbines threaten species that are already struggling, such as bats, which in North America have been hit hard by white-nose fungus. Another vulnerable group is raptors, which are slow to reproduce and favour the wind corridors that energy companies covet. “There are species of birds that are getting killed by wind turbines that do not get killed by autos, windows or buildings,” says Shawn Smallwood ...Smallwood has found that Altamont blades slay an average of 65 golden eagles a year. “We could lose eagles in this country if we keep on doing this,” he says.