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View Diary: Energy - some good news (for once) (237 comments)

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  •  Actually there are serious problems (3.75)
    With the placement of wind turbines. In the western U.S., they are frequently placed in the same areas as major bird migration routes. This can result in major kills during certain seasons. In the eastern U.S., in Wst Virgiania, they have been found to be killing certain speicies of bats, which migrate at night.

    Most of these problems can be solved by placing turbines in non-migratory areas, and some windy areas may have to be just left to the birds. There is some work going on studying the effects of blade size and rotation rate on the mortality of birds, which may allow some turbines to be retrofitted with safer equipment.

    This is not a huge problem as yet, but we want to make sure it does not grow into the chronic problem that has resulted from large radio, TV and cell towers which are notorious for large bird mortality events, especially at night, in fog or during storms.

    Governor Brian Schweitzer: "He's sort of our Howard Dean on the ranch."

    by Ed in Montana on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:41:10 AM PDT

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    •  By this standard (none)
      ..we'd better close all the roads in windy areas, too.  How many birds are killed by cars and trucks?

      One single highway kills more birds than ALL the windmills in the world combined.

      I'm NOT saying that wind turbines should not be made safer.  I am saying that if we are concerned about birds and other wildlife we should attack the problems that cause the most damage first.

      Your comment (below) about decals on windows is a good one.  Each of us should do that on windows in our homes.  I did that some years back when I discovered a new second story window we installed was getting hit by flying birds.  Usually they were just stunned, but a couple of them didn't make it.  A couple of well placed decals and a hanging plant have helped a lot.  Now, how to stop killing thousands and thousands of birds by large office buildings with clear windows?

      •  Don't know about car and truck bird mortality (4.00)
        But in the case of large towers, some have recorded tens of thousands of bird mortalities in a single event for a single tower (including guy wires), usually in a storm during spring or fall migrations. This obviously can have a big efffect on some bird species.

        This sort of thing could have been prevented by more careful tower placement.

        Governor Brian Schweitzer: "He's sort of our Howard Dean on the ranch."

        by Ed in Montana on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 08:13:56 AM PDT

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        •  FCC and FAA (4.00)
          . . . tower approval requirements include certifications that large communications towers not be placed in migratory flyways.  Since that requirement was imposed, over 15 years ago, (newly constructed) tower bird kills have dramatically declined. In my former life in the radio biz, I have built and maintained numerous tall, guyed towers between 500' and 1000'.  None of these was in a migratory flyway, of course, and I could find no evidence of any bird kills at all.  A grad student naturalist did a three year long study on one of our towers and found no evidence of any kills, either.  But there are plenty of birds around them!  Numerous species seem to enjoy the tower as a perch and meeting place.  On some days many hundreds of birds are seen cavorting on or near them.
      •  I wonder (none)
        How many birds are killed by tall trees. You would think that would happen sometimes too, especially trees out by themselves on the tops of mountains and ridgelines.

        Just speculating...

    •  Bats are the problem (none)
      A recent survey in West Virginia found thousands of dead bats littering the ground under the turbines.
      BackboneMountain Windfarm Bat Death Survey
      •  and (none)
        And bats are superb navigators.

        "We cannot let terriers and rogue nations hold this nation hostile. - W, 09/09/00

        by Bob Love on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:15:52 AM PDT

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        •  that (none)
          was evidently the problem.  Their navigation skills were thrown off either by the sound waves generated by the wind turbines, or conceivably they were unable to cope with objects that gave off a different "radar" signature than anything else they encounter.

          Having concern for birds and bats, scenic vistas, and other resources is not inconsistent with support for wind energy.

          •  thats true (none)
            less bats and birds = more mosquitos = more West Nile virus cases.

            "Freedom no longer frees you!"

            by Renegade Prole on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:31:13 AM PDT

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            •  Ahem (none)
              I fail to see what birds and bats have to do with preventing petro-chemical fever...

              http://www.sickofdoctors.addr.com/articles/westnile.htm

              "Neither falsehood nor appearance and beauty are 'foreign' to truth. They are proper to it, if not its accessories and its underside." - Luce Irigaray

              by lucid on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:55:11 AM PDT

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              •  I'm sure you're kidding (none)
                Right?

                No, I'm not a FReeper. Thanks.

                by JamesInPDX on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:25:50 AM PDT

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                •  Actually I wasn't (none)
                  Granted there are some crazy little articles over at sick of doctors.com, but the theory that West Nile is not viral has gotten study by a number of folks - that's just the first article that popped up on a google [and I was in a hurry]...

                  I do get very annoyed when a very "iffy" virus gets used to justify the poinsoning of my community with massive doses of malthion [which if Mark Purdey is to be believed is actually on of the precursors to CJD type diseases - http://www.purdeyenvironment.com/ ]

                  "Neither falsehood nor appearance and beauty are 'foreign' to truth. They are proper to it, if not its accessories and its underside." - Luce Irigaray

                  by lucid on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:28:35 PM PDT

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              •  I never had heard that before. (none)
                Interesting and I will give it a read.
                •  Here's the best (none)
                  and most detailed study of this.

                  issue.http://www.geocities.com/noxot/

                  It's no fun breathing in Malthion here in NYC during the summer time...

                  "Neither falsehood nor appearance and beauty are 'foreign' to truth. They are proper to it, if not its accessories and its underside." - Luce Irigaray

                  by lucid on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:52:58 PM PDT

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                  •  That smell ... (none)
                    BTW, do you know if that distinctive smell is malathion itself or an additive?

                    "We cannot let terriers and rogue nations hold this nation hostile. - W, 09/09/00

                    by Bob Love on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 02:29:30 PM PDT

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                    •  Malathion has a garlicky smell (none)
                      So if you smell garlic after a spraying you are smelling malathion (or passing by an Italian resteraunt).  Some of the formulation excipients have a solvent like smell.  

                      West Nile is quite real as a virus, I had it last summer and came pretty close to leaving this mortal coil.  (No malathion is sprayed where I live or work, either).

                      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

                      by barbwires on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:07:05 PM PDT

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                      •  I'm glad you made it (none)
                        I'm certainly not implying that 'west nile' is a myth, I just think the viral theory is still very tenuous at best, as no virus has yet been isolated.

                        The folks like Jim West aren't suggesting that malthion spraying causes 'west nile' either [though in a post upthread I was implicating malthion as a causal agent in other diseases like CJD (mad cow)]. Their thesis looks at it from an epidemiological standpoint and finds that all 'west nile' clusters are in regions that are heavily polluted by petro-chemicals, specifically the gasoline additive MTBE. When diseases are found to be geographically endemic to certain regions, it definitely suggests that the cause may be environmental and not viral.

                        "Neither falsehood nor appearance and beauty are 'foreign' to truth. They are proper to it, if not its accessories and its underside." - Luce Irigaray

                        by lucid on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:42:06 PM PDT

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    •  I have an idea (none)
      Couldn't they outfit the turbines with some sort of noise or visual marker to help the birds steer clear of the turbines.  There has to be a scientist out there working on this now.  I think its just a matter of time before the turbines become more sophisticated and more enviromentally sensitive.

      "Freedom no longer frees you!"

      by Renegade Prole on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:29:49 AM PDT

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