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View Diary: Obama Administration announces first offshore wind farm project (198 comments)

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  •  I hesitate to post this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Agathena, KenBee, 1BQ

    because I can't stay around to respond to comments but there ARE still concerns about the effects of wind turbines on bird and especially bat populations. Read the article in Nature, a widely respected scientific journal, at

    One of the main points:

    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, an ecologist who has worked extensively in Altamont Pass, California, notorious for its expansive wind farms and raptor deaths. Smallwood has found that Altamont blades slay an average of 65 golden eagles a year2. “We could lose eagles in this country if we keep on doing this,” he says.

    Other species at risk include the critically endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californicus) — which number only 226 in the wild — and the few hundred remaining whooping cranes (Grus americanus), concentrated in the central United States. Biologists can't say whether the increase in wind farms will cause the collapse of these or other bird species, which already face many threats. But waiting for an answer is not an option, says Smallwood. “By the time we do understand the population-level impacts, we might be in a place we don't want to be.”

    SO: Please don't call me a nimby (or a 'CAVE' --citizen against virtually everything--that someone did a few years ago here, on this same subject) because I and other birders/naturalists have concerns about decimation of bat populations that are already in steep decline due to white nose disease.  I think it's fair to say that most of us are in favor of wind turbines in the 'right places', but not in migratory corridors, like for instance Hawk Mountain in PA or Horicon Marsh in WI where wind farms already exist.  And you can see the article for examples of reduced mortality in  threatened species when the turbines were sited correctly, or run at different speeds. At least in Cadiz the researchers could find the corpses, while that will be impossible in the oceans or in the great lakes. That's my fear about offshore wind and it's not an aesthetic one.  

    •  You have raised a good point. We need to take (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the impacts on all species into account. That said, I have in my surfings around the internets a variety of innovative designs that minimize these impacts to flying species. Wind energy  doesn't have to be just the conventional fan-blade on a stick design.

      Sorry I don't have time, either, to search for and post some of these alternatives, but they are out there. Hopefully some of the new projects will take advantage of this knowledge and implement this truly eco-friendly ideas.

      Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

      by jan4insight on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 11:08:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm with you bluebirder (1+ / 0-)
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      I question the design. I've seen other designs that were not lethal but it seems every wind farm in the world looks the same. I wonder where is the human ingenuity that would allow us to invent something not lethal to birds and bats.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 11:46:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (4+ / 0-)

      According to Sibley Guides, windows, feral cats, high tension wires and pesticides kill exponentially more birds than wind turbines. The bird issue is merely a handy device that the oil industry uses to divide environmentalists in regards to wind farms. Wind turbines rank way down on the list as causes of death. If people want to save birds, their efforts would be of much better use in controlling the feral cat population.

      i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

      by bobinson on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:20:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why would the oil industry (0+ / 0-)

        gave a whit about wind?  All the wind farms in the world do not curtail use of a single barrel of oil.

        While bird losses from wind farms are trivial compared to other bird killing features, you could add in losses from power lines, which are also a feature of wind farms, and get to more significant bird loss numbers.

        I favor wind but if there are alternative turbine designs that avoid or reduce bird kills, and including underground power lines and related facilities, I'm for it.

      •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Yes, all those other factors are very important. Note that Sibley deals exclusively wtih bird populations --not bats-- and his data are from 2010.  Wind has 'taken off' since then but also note that Sibley also says:  "It’s difficult for an environmentalist to come out against renewable energy like wind turbines, but as long as the electricity generated is considered a “supplement” to satisfy increasing demand, wind power will not really help the fight against global warming. Establishment of wind farms should go hand-in-hand with drastic cuts in electricity use, and there is a real need for more study of the relationship between birds and wind farms."

        IF we have a proliferation of wind farms that aren't sited to avoid bird and bat 'impacts' then I'd expect the proportion of deaths due to wind turbines to increase.  We who want better research and evidence of the effects of turbines and better placement of them, should not be written off as 'tools' of the oil industry because we want to work to prevent those deaths.   An aside: a bird conservationist friend who is a leader in a local Sierra club chapter says she regularly has other Sierra club members screaming at her about this issue.  

    •  National Audubon Society position (5+ / 0-)
      Audubon strongly supports properly-sited wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduces the threat of global warming. Wind power facilities should be planned, sited and operated to minimize negative impacts on bird and wildlife populations.
      In addition to the threat from turbine blades, there is also concern about habitat destruction on the ground. The bottom line, though, is that global warming is a much bigger threat to wildlife.

      There are plenty of windy places, like Iowa corn fields, where wind turbines pose no significant threat.

      •  bottom line is a lot of birds will die (0+ / 0-)

        from lots of causes, now wind farms as well, we're gonna do it in spite of that , fuck the birds, they'll get over it. we were told to multiply.
        /snark off.

        Solar PV is a better use of resources imo, and is not being done enough on buildings and crapped out already ruined land. A fact.
          Pet scientists for either big wind or big oil or even big sun will lie and parse and bullshit around this issue, truth is really hard to find...what you can find, if you get there before the scavengers and the company cleanup crews, are dead birds. Also a fact. humanity.
            Big ones, rare ones....dead ones. It's just a fact, a fact some good people are working on to reduce, and some bad people are lying about.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:39:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good link. Thank you...more (0+ / 0-)

      This comment indicates that no condors have been killed by wind turbines to date.

      However, eagles are at more risk and radar mitigation has not been successful. Siting seems to be the issue.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:48:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are there bats 10 mi out at sea? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

      by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:21:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seabats sleep floating on the ocean about 10 -20 (0+ / 0-)

        miles from shore. The Adult Seabat loses its radar soon after sexual maturity and has been found to be particularly prone to death by turbine.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:21:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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