Wind Farms On Public Land Stymied By Eagle Concerns, Radar Interference
The article notes a growing recognition of conflicts wind development on public lands are running into, slowing wind development on public lands across the West.
Eagle Concerns Stymie Wind Farms – AP
The only project approved is the Spring Valley wind farm in Nevada where the nearest eagle nest was over four miles away. Gina Jones, BLM’s project leader, said the company agreed to extensive mitigation, such as putting “anti-perch” devices on transmission poles within two miles of the wind farm.
You may remember that we’ve considered Spring Valley, Nevada on this site. Having worked a little bit on the project, and considering the experts regard for the “extensive mitigation” measures that agency is accepting for these giant projects, it seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that BLM is doing a thorough job of genuinely considering the impacts. Here you have big Wind putting in a farm at the mouth of the largest bat roost in the Great Basin Ecosystem and smack-dab in a sub-basin between two ranges that serve as parallel corridors for eagles.
“Mitigation” won’t fix poor siting.
In addition, wildlife experts continue to note that data on the effectiveness of mitigation measures is often not released for public consideration. Wind companies may collect data at other farms, and that data may give insight, but unless it squares with the Industry’s bottom line you can bet it’s not going to be released. What does that say about science ? Curtailment (i.e. shut the turbines down) standards promised in response to threshold impact (turbines get shut down after X number of bats or eagles killed, curtailment during certain times of day/migration seasons, etc. etc.) are often inadequate, holding to threshold numbers that permit unacceptable kill numbers.
Expedited development of Wind (and other industrial-scale “renewable” projects) on public lands is fast becoming the new, modern-day land rush, and unless Wind developers get the idea that they need to avoid wildlife impact on the outset (siting), the true impact to innumerable values of this industrialized knee-jerk may not be fully realized for decades.
December 13, 2010 at 2:34 PM
The new Republican majority in the House hates anything that is billed as “green.” Coal, oil, gas and nuclear, that’s their solution.
Ironically their devotion to these industries might kill off these remote and not-really-green-at-all wind and solar power developments.
The cost of big wind and big solar farms is still too high without government subsidies. Perhaps the rug will get yanked out of projects like Spring Valley, though for the worst of reasons.
December 13, 2010 at 3:05 PM
I have never heard of devotion to the green power industries from any federal agency wildlife biologist. Most consider these projects too risky with the little information we currently have on the affects of these projects to wildlife. Currently we know they kill bats and birds (mainly raptors)but what about the other species like sage grouse and pronghorn that are common to proposed wind farm sites. Too little information should hold these projects up on public lands.
December 13, 2010 at 3:53 PM
can you imagine the benefit of those subsidies being directed at cultivating an economy-of-scale for roof-top solar and small-scale wind ? Big benefit for wildlife, but also big benefit when one considers the potential of those watts to offset individual (& business) energy costs rather than just megawatts dumped into the same enron-esque centrally controlled markets that subjugate us all !
December 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM
Been imagining that for awhile Brian. And then I look at my electric bill, just to be hooked up to my local electric co. runs me $25 a month. My actual usuage is less than $15 a month………….
December 13, 2010 at 4:17 PM
sheesh … well then maybe you might imagine a scenerio in which they’d be payin’ you for any of the surplus electricity you’d generate on the roof !
December 13, 2010 at 4:43 PM
With the way I have my system set up, normally I end up with a credit from the electric company, because they buy back from me, I just received a check in the mail from them today for the excess I generated this year..it will come in handy for Christmas..
December 13, 2010 at 5:04 PM
Honestly Brian? I could really care less about expecting my electric company to pay me 😉 for the surplus I generated, if I was in the position to actually be able to disconnect financially from them.
I recall discussing the pros & cons of solar energy years ago (on of all places, a CB radio, while crossing the country) and someone made the comment that it ain’t gonna happen as long as government can’t figure out how to tax the sun…………
December 13, 2010 at 5:11 PM
As a birdwatcher, I have always been against thes ‘Wind Farms’ so to speak. Remember when birding many years ago on the Upper Texas Coast how at the bottom of lots of those towers, one could find how many small songbirds lying dead after striking the towers during migration in the middle of the night. And on these wind farms, how much would these wind farms contribute to the needless deaths of how many migrating birds. Personally I hope many of these ‘Wind Farms’ do not get developed for the sake of the birds. In My Opinion!
December 14, 2010 at 7:19 PM
Ralph: You said “The cost of big wind and big solar farms is still too high without government subsidies”.
My question to you is how can personal (residential for example) solar and wind generation ever be widely acceptable and affordable if large scale “farms” are too expensive? In short, I don’t understand the economics of 20% or 40% or 90% of all homes and apartments installing solar and wind devices in the next 10 years when a commercial “farm” is too expensive right now?