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Posts Tagged ‘bird kills wind turbines’

News today from Vermont, where the impact of industrial wind turbine projects has been felt, and people are changing their minds about wind power generation, based on their experience to date. It isn’t good. This is from an op-ed piece written by Annette Smith, who is Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment. The full post is at

http://vtdigger.org/2011/08/22/smith-whoa-to-wind-energy-development-in-vermont/

Vermonters who live near mountains where wind turbines have been proposed have learned about all the issues associated with the technology. Call them NIMBYs or wackos, yell at them if they use the word “industrial” instead of “utility scale,” call them a vocal minority or a fringe group, they now number in the thousands and have had to become educated by reason of location.

If you live in the “sacrifice zone” of wind energy development (draw a circle with a radius of two miles from the ridgeline — you get the impacts but no compensation), you learn that wind turbines:

a) collapse, catch fire, throw ice, throw blades,
b) kill birds like raptors, and endangered bats
c) require cutting bear-scarred beech trees and fragmenting wildlife habitat
d) destroy songbird habitat
e) require hundreds of thousands of pounds of explosives to blast miles of new roads
f) require impervious road construction on highly erodible soils
g) require filling headwater streams and degrading water quality, resulting in fewer fish
h) make noise extending over a mile that can interrupt sleep and make people sick
i) are being permitted less than 200 feet from property lines
j) have blinking lights and industrialize the landscape
k) divide communities; turn neighbors, family members and towns against each other and more, with issues unique to ridgeline development in Vermont.

With so much at stake for Vermont, the prudent thing to do is stop, look and listen. Wind developers and our political leaders owe it to all Vermonters and our wild creatures to make sure we get this right.

On Friday, former Gov. Jim Douglas was on Vermont Public Radio and was asked about big wind turbines. He said, “…the natural beauty of Vermont is our strong suit, and to put these big machines on our precious ridgelines is not something that’s in the state’s interest…. I think it’s the wrong choice for Vermont.”

We have a lot to lose. Getting it wrong will be a very expensive mistake. For those people living near Vermont’s big wind energy proposals, it already has been.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Please donate to the Wind Concerns Ontario “Winds of Change” tour, leading up to the election by going to http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

And, to donate to local efforts (we are in the “hole” after the postal strike which affected our much-anticipated Windfall event) use the button below. Thank you.

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John Laforet addressed the Empire Club in Toronto yesterday and served notice to the corporate industrial wind business that the people of Ontario are onto their game and we are NOT standing down. In a masterful, at times whimsical, amusing and then downright forceful speech, Laforet debunked all notions that industrial-scale wind power generation is “green” and painted a horrifying picture of the costs to the people of Ontario in terms of health effects, lost property values, scarred landscapes, and horrendous taxpayer subsidy to a here-today, gone-tomorrow business sector.

He told the audience about what is planned for Thunder Bay: the blasting of the entire top of the escarpment there, including a 150-year-old significant sugar maple bush, to accommodate industrial wind turbines. “Does that sound green to you?” And Wolfe Island, where bird kills are now SIX TIMES what the developer estimated, and the problem is so bad that TransAlta has hired two people to collect dead birds: “Is that an example of Dalton McGuinty’s plan for green jobs in Ontario?”

His assertion that the industrial wind business is really all about natural gas (“Suncor, Enbridge, TransAlta—any of these names familiar to you??”) took many in the audience by surprise, as did his estimate of the billions the corporate wind industry would cost Ontario.

He told the wind business “you better be prepared to tell it to a judge” because the next step for communities and property owners in Ontario is the courts.

The result was a standing ovation.

What followed was a Q & A period with some questions being posed by the wind business, which Laforet parried back with whip-smart answers. Example: What is the basis for your claim that power rates are going to increase by 46% in Ontario? Laforet: Dwight Duncan said that: he’s the Finance Minister, I’ve got to think he’s got the reference behind him. Wind power has been in Europe without problem for 20 years, what do you say to that? Laforet: I say there are more than 400 community organizations against wind in 21 countries in Europe, what does that tell you?

Email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca and follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind

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A local resident felt compelled to send us a photo of a dead bird, found on the shore in the U.S., covered in oil. Its death, he asserted, is on “our hands” because we “live in big houses” and “drive cars”.

The oil event—it is hardly a “spill” at this point– is due to many things, not the least of which is the failure in the U.S. to conserve energy. Anyone who has travelled to the U.S. knows the cars are big and so are the air conditioning bills… people in Florida in particular seem to drive everywhere.

But also complicit is the U.S. government in its failure to regulate drilling operations or even to provide proper oversight. The Deepwater drilling project did not undergo any environmental assessment, and no equipment or facilities were deemed necessary in case of an emergency. They quite simply didn’t plan for one, and now look.

Here is a chart prepared by consultants Torrie Smith for the David Suzuki Foundation in the report Beyond Kyoto, on the potential for improving how we meet our electrical power needs, factoring in environmental effects. Note that industrial wind rates lowest, and conservation rates highest.

conschart31

As Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail remarked in a recent article, Ontario is the “envy of the world” because we already have renewable energy—hydro. The best approach would be to employ conservation and improvements to the efficiency of the resources we already have, not tear up the land and affect wildlife and people in order to develop an inefficient and unreliable resource.

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Off the newswire yesterday, this warning about the potential for bird kills from industrial wind turbines.

Of course, in Ontario, the wind industry relies on two studies done by one person, in which it is claimed that only two birds are killed each year by each turbine. Then they follow up by saying that cats kill more birds each year than turbines do.

When reading the numbers of estimated bird kills, it’s good to keep in mind that these are just actual kills…this does not take into account the exponential effect of birds being killed and that it is not possible for the population to increase or even replace itself.

Last thing to consider is that North Gower is an important route for migratory raptors such as hawks and eagles. (Dalton McGuinty wants the red-tailed hawk, frequently seen in North Gower, to be Canada’s national bird.)

Here is the media release:

Voluntary Federal Wind Farm Guidelines Insufficient to Prevent Bird Impacts Says Bird Conservation Group
 (Washington, D.C., May 10, 2010) In letters to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) President George Fenwick identified key shortcomings in recent federal plans to address the impacts of wind farms on birds.
Fenwick challenged the government’s plan to suggest voluntary guidelines for wind developers rather than imposing mandatory regulations, saying this would fail to result in industry compliance. He also highlighted differences in wind guidelines proposed by two Interior agencies, the BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and stressed the need for guidelines to be consistent across all agencies.
“I find it ironic that the Interior Department is asking us to believe that the wind industry will follow voluntary guidelines when their own land management agency is not even doing so,” Fenwick said.
The Fish and Wildlife Wind Advisory Committee has made excellent recommendations for the generation of wind power that ABC wants adopted throughout the Federal Government. The major shortcoming in the Committee’s recommendations, however, is that they are proposed as voluntary, rather than mandatory, and as such will do little to curb unacceptable levels of bird mortality and habitat loss at wind farms.
Fenwick is positive in terms of the overall effort put forth by BLM regarding wind, but in his letter to Abbey, identified over a dozen concerns, most significant among them, a key inconsistency between the FWS guidelines and a recent BLM Wyoming plan for Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. The FWS guidelines clearly advise against development close to leks, saying that, “development within three to five miles (or more) of active sage grouse leks may have significant adverse impacts on the affected grouse population.” Yet the BLM plan allows for siting as close as 0.6 miles.
In his letters to Salazar and Abbey, Fenwick asked for meetings with the two federal leaders, and identified a variety of other wind management issues, including:

1.       Wind project sites should be carefully evaluated at the proposal stage for habitat conflicts and migratory bird collision risks, and projects should avoid sensitive sites such as Important Bird Areas, Wildlife Refuges, and areas of concentrated bird use.

2.        Short-term operational shut-downs of turbines should be required at times during which large numbers of migratory birds can be predicted to pass through a wind farm. Such conditions (e.g., low cloud during peak migration times) occur for limited periods, but likely account for the bulk of migratory bird mortality risk. Similar shutdowns that use radar systems to detect birds so that operators can quickly start and stop the turbines have already been adopted in other countries that generate power through wind (e.g., Spain and Mexico).

3.        Infrastructure, such as power lines and lighting, should be minimized and designed not to interfere with the migration of birds such as the endangered Whooping Crane.

4.        The implementation of compensatory mitigation habitat banking.
 There are approximately 31,000 megawatts of installed wind generation capacity in the United States, with an additional 5,000 megawatts under construction. New construction is expected to reach 16,000 megawatts per year by the year 2018, and to continue at that rate or faster until 2030, by which time wind would generate as much as 20 percent of the nation’s energy needs. At that point, the United States would be able to produce approximately 350,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, equivalent to about 200,000 – 300,000 large, industrial-scale turbines. If wind projects continue to be operated as they are today, approximately 1,000,000 birds will likely be killed each year from flying into those turbines. Mandatory regulations on siting and operation would significantly reduce the number of birds killed.
 “The notion that the wind industry is predominantly made up of small, environmentally conscious operations is one that must be quickly dispelled. These are large, corporate-scale utility companies, not unlike coal and oil conglomerates, in business to make corporate-scale revenues, and with a checkered environmental track record to date. The industry could have been acting voluntarily to reduce bird mortality for more than 20 years, but has failed to do so,” Fenwick said. “Voluntary guidelines will not change that paradigm, and will work about as well as voluntary taxes.”
Fenwick also added that the ABC positions on many Greater Sage-Grouse management issues are very similar to those adopted by the Western Governor’s Association.
 American Bird Conservancy (www.abcbirds.org<http://www.abcbirds.org>) conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats while building capacity of the bird conservation movement. ABC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.

To email the North Gower Wind Action Group, northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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One of the things the wind developers, Ontario MPPs on the government side, and our Premier keep saying is that wind turbines have been in use in Europe for years and there seems to be no problems.

Really.

May 15th that idea should change with a worldwide march to protest industrial wind turbines that kicks off in Berlin.

Here is a comment from a family living in the Schleswig-Holstein area of Germany: they want to leave things are so bad, but wind turbines appear to be a threat everywhere today.

Hello to Nova Scotia.
I’m from Germany and my wife and me are going to leave this country, because of that wind madness. We have over 25,000 wind turbines in Germany with an installed capacity of more than 27 GW. That is cir. 30% more than the capacity of our nuclear power plants (please, don’t start a debate about nuclear power – earth is flat, pigs can fly and nuclear power is save). The nuclear power plants produce 25% of our needed energy, the wind turbines only 6.6%. And the price for this 6.6%? In 2009 German energy customers had to pay cir. 4 billion Euro (over 5 billion $) for wind energy, money that is missing in other parts of life. Over 2 million birds are killed every year by wind turbines. People fall ill by wind turbines ([my wife] and I have insomnia, tinnitus and she was in hospital, because of heart rhythm disorder; we are living 320 to 600m besides 6 windturbines for the last 15 years).
But back to our emigration plans.
Our first thought was Nova Scotia, because weather and landscape is very similar to ours. Than we read about the story of the d’Entremont family from Lower West Pubnico. About wind farms in Pictou County and the plans to destroy Digby Neck.
Could you imagine, what will happen to the migration routes of the birds? We see it every spring and autumn. The migration routes from north east to south west continue over our area. But the routes are cut off by wind turbines and the birds, which had a long way over sea, have to make long detours. And don’t forget: birds are killed by the blades of the turbines. The same will happen in Nova Scotia.
Another problem is the infrasonic and its disturbance for the whales. Nova Scotia has established a green tourism especially with whalewatching. The sound pollution underwater will scare away the whales and thus the income of many people.
Again back to our emigration plans: it seems, Nova Scotia is not the place, we want to spend our old age.

More news daily at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

To email the North Gower Wind Action Group: northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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