I love a happy story (and a burning wind turbine picture).
“Plans for a huge expansion of the world’s largest windfarm, the London Array in the Thames Estuary, have been scrapped. The consortium running the project blame the abandonment of an additional 65 giant turbines on “various factors”, but especially the requirement for a 3-year study on the potential impact on birds. The Thames estuary site is a designated environmental Special Protection Area.”
Between 46 and 64 golden eagles would likely be killed every year by one wind farm
“Two conservation groups are urging federal regulators to slow down on approval of what would be the nation’s largest wind farm until more efforts are made to mitigate the impact on eagles.
The groups—the American Bird Conservancy and the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance—told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a 15-page letter released Wednesday that between 46 and 64 golden eagles would likely be killed every year by the spinning blades of 1,000 wind turbines planned by the Power Company of Wyoming.”
“But a recent Fish and Wildlife Service rule-making exempts wind generators from prosecution for causing eagle deaths for up to 30 years“.
Slaughtering Eagles will soon be legal thanks to Obama.
This is Shameful.
“The Obama administration is about to approve a rule that will ensure the death of golden and bald eagles for the next 30 more years.
Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year flying into the deadly turbine blades atop the soaring towers that compose wind farms.
The rule will give wind farms thirty year permits for the “non purposeful take of eagles-that is where the take is associated with but
not the purpose of, the activity.’’ The take of eagles is also a euphemism for the slaughter of them.”
A paper in the Journal For Nature Conservatism points out that the level of Red Kite deaths at wind turbines in German is very high. They estimate 308 deaths in 2012 out of 9972 individual Red Kites.
With the projected increase in wind turbines, and the fact it is young breeding pairs being killed, the whole population may be threatened.
“Mortality from collisions with increasing numbers of wind turbines is a potential hazard to raptor populations, but the actual effects on a population scale have rarely been studied based on field data. We estimated annual collision numbers for Red Kites Milvus milvus in the German federal state of Brandenburg (29,483 km2). A hierarchical model considering carcass persistence rate, searcher efficiency and the probability that a killed animal falls into a searched area was applied to results of carcass searches at 617 turbines. Collision risk varied significantly with season. The model estimated 308 (95% CrI 159–488) Red Kite fatalities at 3044 turbines operating during 2012, representing 3.1% of the estimated post-breeding population of 9972 individuals. Using the potential biological removal (PBR) method, mortality thresholds of 4.0% were obtained for migratory Red Kite populations. This level of mortality may be reached when turbine numbers increase within a few years. Since wind turbine collisions may affect Red Kites throughout the global range, a more detailed assessment of the actual impacts on populations is needed, especially because the PBR does not account for the predominance of adult birds among the collision victims.”
This is just awful. The Wildlife Society estimates 83,000 raptor fatalities at wind farms in the USA for 2012.
“I used national averages from hundreds of carcass placement trials intended to characterize scavenger removal and searcher detection rates, and I relied on patterns of carcass distance from wind turbines to develop an adjustment for variation in maximum search radius around wind turbines mounted on various tower heights. Adjusted fatality rates correlated inversely with wind-turbine size for all raptors as a group across the United States, and for all birds as a group within the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, California. I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012.”
“WASHINGTON (AP) — A major U.S. power company has pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms and agreed to pay $1 million as part of the first enforcement of environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities.
Until the settlement announced Friday with Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm, not a single wind energy company had been prosecuted for a death of an eagle or other protected bird — even though each death is a violation of federal law, unless a company has a federal permit. Not a single wind energy facility has obtained a permit.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at its Top of the World and Campbell Hill wind farms outside Casper, Wyo. All the deaths, which included golden eagles, hawks, blackbirds, wrens and sparrows, occurred from 2009 to 2013.
“Wind energy is not green if it is killing hundreds of thousands of birds,” said George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy, which supports properly sited wind farms. “The unfortunate reality is that the flagrant violations of the law seen in this case are widespread.”"
(h/t Tom Nelson)
Have you heard about the funnel effect? It appears solar plants can draw in millions of insects and fry them. And then migratory birds drop in to eat the insects and the birds then get fried too.
“USFWS also noted an issue ReWire hasn’t covered before, and we suspect it has something to do with that funnel effect: the mortality of insects. The agency says the Palen solar project may have a serious effect on insects, based on experience at BrightSource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) site, now nearing completion in San Bernardino County. “Staff with the CEC reported large mortalities of insects killed during flux testing at the ISEGS site,” says USFWS. “[A]mong those documented include migratory monarch butterflies and dragonflies.”
A subsequent passage in the note on insects is an important summary of the relevance of insect mortalities to risk to other wildlife:
The ecological effects of mass insect mortalities have not been investigated
and may lead to greater levels of mortality than have been anticipated. In particular,
concentrations of insects are likely to draw insectivorous and omnivorous migratory
birds, including many raptors, which may increase the risk of bird mortalities.
If you have a facility that both attracts an entire food chain and then poses a risk of mortality or injury to individual animals at any level in that chain, then you’ve created an ecosystem-wide population sink that can metaphorically “funnel” individual animals from a wide stretch of habitat to a single spot where they meet their demise.
“Some animal rights activists are wondering just how many birds green energy may unintentionally kill as more and more birds turn up dead at solar energy facilities throughout California.
A recent article by Vice author Lex Berko notes that dead birds are being found with “singed wings” around several California solar energy facilities.
It happens that many of California’s solar plants are, the article claims, in the path of “the four major north-to-south trajectories for migratory birds” called “the Pacific Flyway.”
Birds are dying in one of two ways. In some cases, they imagine the shining solar panels to be bodies of water and dive straight into them. There they die when they smash into the panels from the sky.
Others “feel the wrath of the harnessed sunlight.” The ultra polished solar mirrors bounce sunrays strong enough to burn the feathers off birds that quickly crash to the ground, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Many of the fowl dying as a result of their unfortunate flight paths over solar facilities are birds protected by the federal government under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.“
It’s not really funny is it …
“BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 8 (UPI) — Wind turbines killed at least 600,000 — and possibly as many as 900,000 — bats in the United States in 2012, researchers say.
Writing in the journal BioScience, the researchers said they used sophisticated statistical techniques to infer the probable number of bat deaths at wind energy facilities from the number of dead bats found at 21 locations.”
The problem with the above article is that it probably grossly underestimates bat deaths considering the deaths of bird and bats found in Spain.
“The Spanish Ornithological Society in Madrid estimates that Spain’s 18,000 wind turbines may be killing 6 million to 18 million birds and bats annually. “A blade will cut a griffon vulture in half,” says Bechard. “I’ve seen them just decapitated.”
“Based on current technologies, higher biofuel production
necessarily means greater diversion of crops and/or cropland to
the production of fuel rather than food. The iron law of supply
and demand dictates that this would almost unavoidably
increase global food prices over what they would otherwise be.”
“Results derived from World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO)
studies suggest that for every million people living in absolute
poverty in developing countries, there are annually at least 5,270
deaths and 183,000 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost to
disease. Combining these estimates with estimates of the
increase in poverty owing to growth in biofuels production over
2004 levels leads to the conclusion that additional biofuel
production may have resulted in at least 192,000 excess deaths
and 6.7 million additional lost DALYs in 2010. These exceed
WHO’s estimated annual toll of 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million
lost DALYs attributable to global warming.
Thus, policies intended to mitigate global warming may actually have increased death and disease in developing countries.”
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 16 Number 1 Spring 2011
( Hat tip to commenter David L Hagen from here. )