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View Diary: Something to take your mind off indictments: Windfarm blogging (169 comments)

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  •  Jerome, (none)
    You have probably answered this question before, but I've not kept up with your diaries.

    My question is: how is the high bird collision/death rate being addressed by the wind-turbine industry?

    Thanks.  I'll do my best to keep up with your diaries from here on.

    "How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right." Black Hawk

    by Gabriele Droz on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 06:06:20 PM PDT

    •  I can answer that one - (4.00)
      first off, there isn't really a "high bird collision/death rate" at the vast majority of utility-scale wind farms in the U.S.

      In fact, according to the GAO, the collision rate is quite low.

      Nevertheless, the industry has partnered with the Audubon Society and Bat Conservation International to make sure that all wind sites are selected to minimize their impacts on birds and bats.

      A key point - the lead killers of birds and bats in the U.S. are cats, windows, tall buildings, cars, airplanes, and communications towers. Wind turbines are still a ways down on the list.

      Not to mention the global warming and water and air pollution caused by burning coal, digging for uranium and drilling for natural gas ...

      I am the federal government.

      by mateosf on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 06:22:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Birds and Bats in Wisconsin (none)
        Our county is in the middle of a fight over wind, they want to put a farm next to the Horicon Bird Refuge.  It also happens to be the largest bat hibernaculum for several hundred miles.  The "opponents", many of whom are not opposed to wind in general, asked to have the turbines limited to 5 miles from the marsh.  The company insisted on 2 miles.  After some sketchy back room maneuvers, the project was suddenly green lighted.

        It is not quite a done deal yet, there are still a few last gasp legal pleas to be settled, but we will soon (relatively) have some great data on how dangerous they are to birds and bats.

        I am generally infavor of wind, I'd even let them put one in my yard if they thought it would be of any use.  But I wish they at least considered the wildlife.  The Niagra Escarpment runs from here to New York, what's another 3 miles away from the bird/ bat habitat?

        Wish us luck, I will be interested to see them go up.

        •  you have the (none)
          best name ever.  Where in WI are you?  What's your favorite Dead song?  I'm in Madison.  

          Where could I find more info about birds/bats and their safety?  How sound is the info you've got on it?

        •  That's unfortunate, (none)
          Most developers are pretty concerned about these types of issues, if for no other reason than it's bad politics and bad P.R. But you should really look into these newer turbines, their kill rates are very low - the blades don't turn that fast, and are big enough to be more easily visible to birds. Check out the link above to the GAO study & follow links to the data.

          But on the siting issue, typically the location is not flexible in that a 3-mile shift could move the project from a Class 4 wind resource (profitable & viable) to a Class 3 or 2 wind resource (neither), so I'd bet that's partially what's going on here. Also, it's likely that the project as proposed is closer to transmission, and 3 miles of transmission can kill a project on the finances; so siting is a combination of wind resource quality and proximity to transmission.

          I don't know anything about the project you're siting, but would bet those are the issues.

          I am the federal government.

          by mateosf on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:17:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  As I write downthread... (none)
        ...ignore what research there is, such as the most recent from Australia, and accept the arguments put foward above in a Statement by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on wind energy and wildlife.

        Birds are not a problem. The industry lobby group says so and so does your government. Right?

        New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

        by Welshman on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:40:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Welshman, I don't want to get into (none)
          a spitting war with you, but I would encourage you to look into what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says will happen to critical bird habitat in the Arctic - and all over the northern hemisphere - over the next 20 years if we continue to rely too heavily on fossil fuels.

          We must invent our way out of this problem, or dead birds will be near the middle of a long list of irreversible regrets we'll have.

          I am the federal government.

          by mateosf on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:35:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "high" bird collision rate (4.00)
      The high rate of bird collisions is largely a myth. Turbines got a bad reputation from the Altamont Pass farm in California, where relatively small, fast-moving turbines were placed in an area with a high concentration of raptors riding the concentrated wind currents up the canyons. The average wind farm turbine today is much larger, and birds avoid them quite well. Some still do run into them, but this is completely dwarfed by the number that run into windows, cars, communications towers and other everyday objects. I am a complete bird fanatic and love the little guys enormously, but it would take an extreme situation (a small-turbine farm right around some endangered condors' nests, say) to get me to oppose wind power because of them.

      Bird deaths from global warming, on the other hand, scare me a lot...

      •  Hey guys, (4.00)
        I am totally informed about the deaths resulting from car and window impacts.  I rehabilitate birds of prey, and after 3,000 or so birds I have a pretty good idea of where the troubles come from.

        But I also do know that there are questions that have either NOT been answered or else under-reported.  And that's why I asked.

        I'm one of those people who end up with ALL of the results of what goes wrong with the birds.

        They literally arrive at my doorstep, and I have to evaluate each case.

        My question was NOT to discredit windmill energy, but to ask for the latest information.

        Thanks for caring.

        "How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right." Black Hawk

        by Gabriele Droz on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:12:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So ... (none)
          Have you seen any injuries or fatalities due to wind turbines?  If the answer is no, that's a bit of data right there, albeit of small N-size.

          Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.

          by Bob Love on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:58:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay Bob (none)
            I have NOT heard of any casualties in my OWN area, as there are NO wind turbines here.  But I, as a wildlife rehabber hearing from all corners of the earth, HAVE heard about plenty of birds that got caught in wild turbines.

            Forgive me for posting a question along those things.  But I'm NOT trying to fight against wind-turbines, but just asking questions, so that I can make an informed decisions.

            I don't know where all of these defensive posts against just a plain question are coming from.

            I'm an environmentalist, in favor of all and any alternatives to our current reliances on the polluting resources we use.

            I am NOT against the alternatives - I'm just trying to get some of my residual questions answered.

            Sorry to touch your bruises, but please, folks, can't we at least discuss this?

            As someone who's worked hands-on for the last 15 years - full-timel - is it not OK for me to ASK a question - as to our future of our Democracy?

            Who's posting things that dismiss my opinions?

            "How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right." Black Hawk

            by Gabriele Droz on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:19:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is a perfectly reasonable request, (none)
              Your question is fair. I thought I responded with a link to some info; the GAO report (reach it by clicking through the AWEA link) is the most comprehensive to date.

              Bottom line: yes, wind turbines kill some birds. There is no denying it. What little data there is in the U.S. suggests that the mortality rate, especially at newer sites, is very low. Studies are ongoing. That is the state of the science.

              The U.S. will have very different dynamics on this issue than almost anywhere else in the world, for two reasons: 1) We are land-rich with areas that have good wind resources, which means that 2) we can afford to locate wind facilities out of major migration corridors.

              Audubon, Bat Conservation Int'l, USF&W and other related organizations are very involved in monitoring and designing mitigation strategies. I'd encourage you, given your background, to check in with them to learn more about what's going on.

              I am the federal government.

              by mateosf on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:42:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks, just looking for info. (none)
              Thanks for your response, but my own comment was merely an informational query.  The several reports that I've seen in the last 2 or 3 years indicate that today's wind farms do not represent a hazard to birds.  You seemed to be indicating that your experience said otherwise, and I was interested in knowing what information you have on the topic.  If you can provide any data or information on either side of the discussion, I will be most appreciative.  

              Democrats build; Republicans gut. It's that simple.

              by Bob Love on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:49:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bob (none)
                I'm REQUESTING that very information here.  To inform all of us.

                All I know myself right now is a whole bunch of rehab folks that have rescued birds from near wind towers.

                I posted to find out more about this.  I'll prove or disprove the issue once I hear more.

                THAT'S why I posted.  Because I don't have the answers, but am questioning things all around.

                "How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right." Black Hawk

                by Gabriele Droz on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:58:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  No Bob (none)
            i have heard of birds being killed from wild turbines, on our raptor rehabilitator list, that encompasses bird-of-prey rehabilitation issues, from all corners of the eathe.

            I am part of this global list of raptor rehabilitators, and there are MANY reports of birds rescued or recovered from wind-turbine areas.

            I am NOT making a judgement, so please let up on me folks.  I'm just trying to find out the latest on these things.  

            "How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right." Black Hawk

            by Gabriele Droz on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:32:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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