Win-Win for Wind and Wildlife ?

Study: There exists enough already-disturbed land in the U.S. suitable for wind to produce 3,500 gigawatts of power – more power than is consumed by the entire U.S.

A new study is confirming what many have been suggesting all along; We don’t need to sacrifice wild-lands and pristine wildlife habitat to facilitate renewable energy, it’s all about proper siting.

Win-Win for Wind and Wildlife: A Vision to Facilitate Sustainable DevelopmentKiesecker JM, Evans JS, Fargione J, Doherty K, Foresman KR, et al. 2011PLoS ONE

[From Abstract]

We estimate there are ~7,700 GW of potential wind energy available across the U.S., with ~3,500 GW on disturbed lands. In addition, a disturbance-focused development strategy would avert the development of ~2.3 million hectares of undisturbed lands while generating the same amount of energy as development based solely on maximizing wind potential.

Japanese wind farms survive quake, tsunami

Despite predictions to the contrary, the wind farms did well-

Battle-proof Wind Farms Survive Japan’s Trial by Fire. By Kelly Rigg. Huffington Post.

Posted in Wildlife Habitat, Wind. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off on Japanese wind farms survive quake, tsunami

Nevada Views: Energy development poses challenge to [Nevada] wildlife habitat

Wind and solar development could be very destructive to Nevada’s wildlife-

Energy development poses challenge to wildlife habitat. By Larry Johnson. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

And unsaid is the continuing bad idea of centralized energy generation, even if it is said to be renewable.

WWP, CBD and 3 Tribes fight Spring Valley Wind Project

Suit Filed to Protect One of Nevada’s Largest Bat Roosts, National Park

For immediate release – January 25, 2011

Contacts: Jon Marvel, Executive Director Western Watersheds Project, 208.788.2290
Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, 702.249.5821

LAS VEGAS, Nev – Two conservation groups and three Indian Tribes filed suit today to protect a pristine mountain valley adjacent to Great Basin National Park in Nevada from a poorly-sited 8000 acre industrial wind energy project, approved by the Department of the Interior with minimal environmental review. The valley is home to rare and imperiled wildlife such as the greater sage grouse, and sensitive species including golden eagles and free-tailed bats. The project area is also a sacred site to Western Shoshone Tribes.

“We hope this litigation will lead the federal government to choose less damaging locations for wind power developments,” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.

“Renewable energy is nationally and globally important for addressing the growing threats from climate change,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the parties in the suit. “But, renewable projects must be properly located with careful consideration of the values of not only the site but also of the surrounding area”.

On October 15, 2010 the Bureau of Land Management approved a proposal by Spring Valley Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Pattern Energy of San Francisco, to construct the project on public lands in northeastern Nevada just north of Great Basin National Park. BLM approved the project over the objections of state and federal wildlife officials, nearby tribes, and conservation groups. Rather than carrying out a detailed review involving the preparation of an environmental impact statement, BLM instead prepared only a cursory environmental assessment.

“The best ways to avoid negative impacts of renewable energy projects are to carry out a thorough environmental review and site them carefully. Unfortunately, in this case BLM did neither,” noted Mrowka.

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China Mountain/Browns Bench Wind controversy escalates

“I can assure you there will be a protracted legal fight using all legal means available to stop the project”

Brown's Bench, RES America proposes to put hundreds of giant wind turbines on this southern Idaho landscape © Brian Ertz 2010

Some of the really great things I enjoy about living in the west are the obscure landscapes/mountain ranges.  Unlike national parks, ‘W‘ilderness areas, National Monuments and other landscapes prominently highlighted on any western map, there are many public landscapes less conspicuous, maybe not even labeled on a common roadmap, belonging to all of us that are best known by the locals ~ sportsmen, anglers, ranchers, really hardcore conservationists and recreationists.  Landscapes that harbor habitat and wildlife that exemplify its original nature.

West of 93 on the ID/NV line

These less conspicuous areas are where I learned to hunt and fish with my brothers, places I continue to frequent to hike, botanize and view wildlife with my kids.  Public lands that have served countless generations in such an economically intangible way, uplifting our spirit and serving our truly unique and blessed standard of living.  If you’re reading this, it’s likely you know what I mean.

Increasingly, these places find themselves under threat by new energy technologies which extend the reach of our human ability to extract resources into places otherwise overlooked by industry yesteryear.

In southern Idaho, just west of Highway 93 on the Idaho/Nevada line, Brown’s Bench is just such a place.

Concerned about grouse, groups ask China Mountain developer to reconsider – Opposition Rises as Wind Farm Study Nears – Times-News

One by one, organizations weighing the land against the wind are concluding that more green energy doesn’t outweigh the risk to sage grouse.

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Wind Development Threatens Iconic American Birds

Safeguards needed to prevent population declines in the Whooping Crane and Greater Sage-Grouse, and reduce mass mortality among eagles and songbirds

The American Bird Conservancy weighs in on wind farms and their concerns for many rare bird species.

Wind Development Threatens Iconic American Birds.
American Bird Conservancy Press Release

Posted in birds, Wind. Tags: , . 3 Comments »

Eagle Concerns Stymie Wind Farms

Wind Farms On Public Land Stymied By Eagle Concerns, Radar Interference

Spring Valley, NV ~ Katie Fite, WWP


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 FarmsAP

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. Read the rest of this entry »