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California wind farm claims more than 2000 Golden Eagles (1 Viewer)

Jim M.

Choose Civility
http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/wind-farm-birds112011.html#cr

How long before the yanks start to take action? another 2000 dead birds?

“The Yanks” have been taking action on this for quite some time. The birding community is keenly aware of the problem. One of the sticking points is only voluntary guidelines have been proposed, and the government has yet to make them mandatory. So it's partly a problem of convincing the government to take action, which is a problem in the current economy, especially where alternative energy is seen as a growth industry and next year is an election year.

Jim
 

Simon Wates

Well-known member
I have been closely involved with wind-farm bird monitoring for some years here in Portugal. One wind farm here (near Sagres) is monitored permanently between 15 Ago and 30 Nov every autumn. When there are potential raptor collisions the wind farm stops - within 2 mins - they are under contract to do this. Maybe a compromise solution once a wind farm goes ahead or at the planning stage if there is no possible option on halting the plans.

I personally loathe wind-farms - for many reasons not least because of the time I have spent working under the monsters. I believe vested interests (of all the stakeholders) are slowing down solar power options, which I champion in favour of wind energy. Solar farms are just much more passive on the environment and the scenery!

I cannot believe these figures of 2000 Golden Eagle at all - I hope I am right in saying that this data has been confused by the press. Its a dangerous route to take when conservation supporters produce mis-information. I hope I am wrong.

PS: Hats off to the "Yanks" ;-)
 
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fugl

Well-known member
I cannot believe these figures of 2000 Golden Eagle at all - I hope I am right in saying that this data has been confused by the press. Its a dangerous route to take when conservation supporters produce mis-information. I hope I am wrong.

Actually, though startlingly large at first glance, 2000 isn't an unreasonable "lifetime" total for Altamont, a huge installation--at one time the biggest in the world--which has been in existence for upwards of 30 years.
 

Simon Wates

Well-known member
Actually, though startlingly large at first glance, 2000 isn't an unreasonable "lifetime" total for Altamont, a huge installation--at one time the biggest in the world--which has been in existence for upwards of 30 years.

Thanks for that Fugl,

Put like this its still a staggering 66 per year on average (over 30yrs) - well over one a week!

Any idea how many turbines are at Altamont?

Here we find that Bonelli's Eagles avoid the windpark airspace, changing the shape of their territories once they are up and running - I would have thought Golden would do the same - or are we talking birds passing through on dispersal? On the other hand Griffon Vultures seem to just sail through them, causing casualties - a sickening sight that I have seen happen.

Best wishes

Simon
 

Daniel Martin

Well-known member
Thanks for that Fugl,

Put like this its still a staggering 66 per year on average (over 30yrs) - well over one a week!

Any idea how many turbines are at Altamont?

Here we find that Bonelli's Eagles avoid the windpark airspace, changing the shape of their territories once they are up and running - I would have thought Golden would do the same - or are we talking birds passing through on dispersal? On the other hand Griffon Vultures seem to just sail through them, causing casualties - a sickening sight that I have seen happen.

Best wishes

Simon

I have to agree Simon - 66 per annum on average?! sickening.....

I know the geography is very different but can you imagine Scotland sustaining such losses with raptors that reproduce so slowly?

How can they afford to lose so many?
 

fugl

Well-known member
I agree, 70 eagle deaths per annum is an unacceptably large figure, even allowing for the possibility that much of this mortality may involve young birds that would die anyway from other causes. And, of course, eagles are not the only birds of prey killed by the windmills

See here for a few more details about BOP mortality at Altamont: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altamont_Pass_Wind_Farm
 

Simon Wates

Well-known member
Thanks again fugl. So 4930 turbines, mostly small "old fashioned" ones.

Hmmm...I wonder if the same area (in a less environmentally sensitive place) was covered with solar panels if more or less energy would be produced. I can't find anything that contemplates this equation anywhere.

Sadly though, it looks like we are stuck with them so its really worth fighting for all the mortality reduction measures possible.

Here is a google translated Portuguese text (from a webzine article) that I have made into "English" that gives a nice overview of what the EIA company STRIX has achieved at the wind park near Sagres at Barão de São João - thought it may be of interest to Americans interested in proposing measures (the best pdf docs are very long winded and in Portuguese):

Along the village of Barao de Sao Joao, in the western Algarve, a wind farm has pioneered the strategy of balancing energy production and respect for the local avifauna. In European route full of birds with protected status, the operation of the wind farm was only granted because the prosecutor joined the E. ON Strix environmental consultant to develop a pioneering application in the world. The technology, based on two radars and computer application of Strix, allows the turbines are "advised" the presence of birds, with the consequent arrest of the blades.

The park opened last year and thus became the 2010 "proof-of-fire" in the functioning of the technology. The results, presented recently in the annual report that the Strix AmbienteOnline had access, were above the initial expectations of the consultant. Both environmental impacts and in electricity production in the park.

The paper realizes that in the period of monitoring of migratory birds, the wind stopped at 36 days (33 per cent of the total), which translates into 140 hours of total or partial shutdown of the turbines, a value below the 150 hours provided annually by Strix. In terms of total stops, the blades of the park Barao de Sao Joao is immobilized for 80 hours, distributed in 27 days of monitoring.

The Executive Director of Strix, Michael Repas, says even though there was no mortality of migratory birds monitored the wind farm. The achievement represents a victory for the company, which managed to demonstrate that technology can help in resolving conflicts between biodiversity and environmental infrastructure enegia renewable. Still, this victory is not without a taste of the "wasted effort". "Sometimes we see some birds pass through here, after disconnecting the wind towers, eventually crashed into the nearest wind farm," laments responsible.

This is because the wind farm neighbors in this region of the Algarve, between Lagos and Sagres, are not required to implement these measures to minimize the environmental impact of infrastructure, which in turn compromises the efforts of Baron Park St. John himself Institute Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB) is aware of the importance of a regional program that can encompass all the nearby parking lots under the same radar system. According to Strix, efforts have been promoted from the various promoters of wind farms in the region in order to reach an agreement on such a program.

The blind eye of the radar and the human insight

The radar technology park Barao de Sao Joao, located two kilometers from the park during the three months that there is presence of migratory birds, is complemented by the human eye. Besides the application completely developed by Strix, which allows diagnostic alerts evade radar and "false positives" are nine ornithologists Strix in the observation posts that determine the real risk of a collision of birds with wind turbine blades. This way, you avoid unnecessary stops the park and the resulting cost to the promoter.

In parallel with the system of stopping the blades, the wind farm has also devices BDF (Bird Deflector Device) in high voltage power lines. The helical structures installed to allow the power lines become more visible to birds, with a greater sense of space traversed.
 

steve west

Well-known member
I think along the lines of most of the posters here. You can't just put up wind farms in windy places or on your property because you have good political connections. There is more than that. Other criteria such as visual impact on areas of natural beauty, impact mortality of raptors and other flying animals, the impact of power lines, accessroads and tracks, even the noise, should all be considered. Which in itself does not necessarily rule out their use. What about alongside motorways, for example? Or on the edge of industrialized areas?
Another important impact is what happens on the ground: here in Spain there are windfarms which cover areas which were inhabited by steppe birds such as sandgrouse. If you visit some of these and look for sandgrouse in the shadow of the turbines you are most unlikely to encounter any. I believe that the moving shadow of the blades, and perhaps the noise, frightens the birds. Adjacent to these areas the sandgrouse are still there.

Steve
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
I think along the lines of most of the posters here. You can't just put up wind farms in windy places or on your property because you have good political connections. There is more than that. Other criteria such as visual impact on areas of natural beauty, impact mortality of raptors and other flying animals, the impact of power lines, accessroads and tracks, even the noise, should all be considered. Which in itself does not necessarily rule out their use. What about alongside motorways, for example? Or on the edge of industrialized areas?
Another important impact is what happens on the ground: here in Spain there are windfarms which cover areas which were inhabited by steppe birds such as sandgrouse. If you visit some of these and look for sandgrouse in the shadow of the turbines you are most unlikely to encounter any. I believe that the moving shadow of the blades, and perhaps the noise, frightens the birds. Adjacent to these areas the sandgrouse are still there.

Steve

Steve, I've been trying recently to find a link to a news story I read two or three years ago where a Spanish court ordered the shut-down (it might have been temporary) of a wind farm near Zaragosa because of the number of griffons it was killing.

Can you help me out?

Personally I think that the lack of sandgrouse beneath wind turbines could be due to a number of factors, including visual or noise disturbance, or simply death to collision. An area of moorland near a main road in Scotland that I was assured of seeing buzzards as I drove along it on weekly work trips appeared to become almost devoid of the birds following the erection of a windfarm that straddled the road.

Were the turbines scarecrows or killers?
 

steve west

Well-known member
Steve, I've been trying recently to find a link to a news story I read two or three years ago where a Spanish court ordered the shut-down (it might have been temporary) of a wind farm near Zaragosa because of the number of griffons it was killing.

Can you help me out?

Personally I think that the lack of sandgrouse beneath wind turbines could be due to a number of factors, including visual or noise disturbance, or simply death to collision. An area of moorland near a main road in Scotland that I was assured of seeing buzzards as I drove along it on weekly work trips appeared to become almost devoid of the birds following the erection of a windfarm that straddled the road.

Were the turbines scarecrows or killers?

Something about that rings a distant bell, but I'll have to ask around to get any details worth reporting. Be back soon!

Steve
 

wings

Well-known member
Actually, though startlingly large at first glance, 2000 isn't an unreasonable "lifetime" total for Altamont, a huge installation--at one time the biggest in the world--which has been in existence for upwards of 30 years.
____________

I second the comment, tragic as it is. Where did the data of 2000 golden eagles come from? I have driven across the Altamont Pass many times, and yes, it's a huge widely spread out wind farm.

How about the other large windfarm, Tehachapi Pass in southern California?
 

ceasar

Well-known member
I think along the lines of most of the posters here. You can't just put up wind farms in windy places or on your property because you have good political connections. There is more than that. Other criteria such as visual impact on areas of natural beauty, impact mortality of raptors and other flying animals, the impact of power lines, accessroads and tracks, even the noise, should all be considered. Which in itself does not necessarily rule out their use. What about alongside motorways, for example? Or on the edge of industrialized areas?
Another important impact is what happens on the ground: here in Spain there are windfarms which cover areas which were inhabited by steppe birds such as sandgrouse. If you visit some of these and look for sandgrouse in the shadow of the turbines you are most unlikely to encounter any. I believe that the moving shadow of the blades, and perhaps the noise, frightens the birds. Adjacent to these areas the sandgrouse are still there.

Steve

It appears that one cannot lose money investing in Wind Farms in the USA. My understanding is that the nearest utility is REQUIRED to purchase the Electricity generated from them. I have been told that here in Northeastern Pennsylvania it has enabled local utilities to expand their coverage to areas as far south as the Washington DC and nearby Virginia suburbs.

Meanwhile, to briefly get off this subject, there is another energy threat to birds here in Pennsylvania's Norther Tier and New York State's Southern Tier. Specifically threatened is the Scarlet Tanager. Please look at this Bird Forum link:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=183339

Bob
 

DavidP

Well-known member
Thanks again fugl. So 4930 turbines, mostly small "old fashioned" ones.

Hmmm...I wonder if the same area (in a less environmentally sensitive place) was covered with solar panels if more or less energy would be produced. I can't find anything that contemplates this equation anywhere.[/I]

There are quite a few large solar projects approved and being built mostly in the deserts of southern california that together once built will produce about 7-8 times the output of altamont. Theres a mandate to produce 33% renewables by 2020 thats driving a lot of this. Although I think all the times I've driven thru altamont pass few if any of the turbines are running but it is a large facility, more turbines than in the whole of the UK but mostly smaller I guess.
http://www.energy.ca.gov/siting/solar/index.html
There are problems associated with the solar projects chiefly objections due to destruction of desert tortoise habitat and lots of jobs advertised relocating tortoises if you don't mind treking across 120 degree desert all day. From wikipedia new projects in the desert areas will potentially cover 1.8 million acres or 2% of desert areas.
 
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ceasar

Well-known member
To illustrate the diverse nature of people and companies and educational establishments who support Wind Farms here is a list from the state of Pennsylvania aka Penns Woods.

http://www.pawindenergynow.org/pa/advocates.html

Even the University of Pennyslvania. An Ivy League college.

Nextraenergy Resources is probably the largest renewable energy firm in the USA. You can learn more about it by following it's internal links.

http://www.nexteraenergyresources.com/partners/landowners.shtml

Bob
(See my PS below.)
 
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