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Credit score:  Wildlife biologist says extra precautions are wanted to minimize present wildlife impacts earlier than a possible growth in wind energy growth. |

By Dustin Bleizeffer |

WyoFile |

June 10, 2022 |

Collisions with rotating wind turbine blades kill a wide range of birds in Wyoming – from passerines to raptors. Precisely what number of birds – and whether or not mortality charges may pose a menace to native and migrating fowl populations – stays unknown, in accordance with state and federal wildlife officers.

The overlap of sturdy, regular winds and prime wildlife habitat – resembling for the larger sage grouse – additionally poses threats, except wind energy amenities are positioned to keep away from impacts to vital wintering, breeding and nesting areas. Designing wind amenities with these concerns requires the gathering of wildlife and habitat information lengthy earlier than roads are carved, concrete pads are poured and wind generators erected.

That’s the message of a former federal wildlife biologist who’s sounding the alarm in an effort to encourage much less dangerous growth as Wyoming’s wind energy is anticipated to growth.

Regardless of laws and voluntary efforts to reduce wildlife impacts, Mike Lockhart and different biologists say wildlife officers should do higher to gather extra complete information and apply extra scrutiny to the trade.

“A lot of the [Wyoming wind energy] growth is simply going off like a rocket proper now, and we have already got eagles which are getting killed by wind generators – a hell of much more than individuals actually perceive,” Lockhart, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, mentioned.

Lockhart, who now works as a marketing consultant for personal corporations, surveys eagle populations in Wyoming – principally round Medication Bow and within the Shirley Basin. The area is the “coronary heart and soul” of golden eagle habitat in North America, he claims. Experimental wind generators right here date again to the Nineteen Eighties, and it’s the epicenter of present and potential growth ambitions.

Two key electrical transmission tasks that may tie central Wyoming wind to a number of western states are anticipated to double the state’s wind energy capability to six,000 megawatts by 2030, in accordance with these near the trade.

Whereas some wind energy representatives say instruments exist to reap energy from the wind whereas conserving species, Lockhart contends that stage of growth would require far more planning to contemplate cumulative impacts to eagles, raptors, songbirds and all different wildlife. Moreover, the FWS ought to rethink its “incidental take” allowance for particular person wind energy amenities, he mentioned.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service has supplied an allowable take for these [individual] tasks of 10 to 14 eagles per 12 months,” Lockhart mentioned. “You multiply that out by the 30-year mission life – that’s a hell of quite a lot of eagles, they usually can’t maintain that sort of influence.”

Current avian impacts

In a landmark case, Duke Energy Corp. was fined $1 million for killing 14 eagles and 149 different birds at 4 wind farms in Wyoming from 2009 to 2013. The corporate “didn’t make all affordable efforts to construct the tasks in a approach that might keep away from the chance of avian deaths by collision with turbine blades, regardless of prior warnings about this problem from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” in accordance with the U.S. Division of Justice.

ESI Energy Inc., and its affiliate NextEra Energy, have been fined $8 million in April for killing greater than 150 eagles in a number of states over a 10-year interval, together with at wind amenities in Carbon and Laramie counties.

In each instances, the businesses failed to amass federal “incidental take” permits, which may shield operators from working afoul of the Migratory Chicken Treaty Act. However Lockhart questions the justification of allowable incidental take numbers, in addition to the FWS’s present stage of accounting and evaluation for the potential cumulative influence to fowl populations from a number of, individually permitted wind farms inside a area.

“All of them [wind facilities] are impacting eagles, surely,” Lockhart mentioned. “However the extent of these impacts in all probability varies wildly, and I simply don’t know what it’s. And I’m undecided anyone does.”

An estimated 538,000 birds are killed by land-based wind generators annually within the U.S., in accordance with an article by the American Chicken Conservancy analyzing information from the U.S. Wind Turbine Database. A FWS estimate suggests a median 234,012 fowl kills yearly, as of 2017. The FWS was unable to answer WyoFile’s inquiries in time for this story.

There’s no analysis that signifies wind turbine blade strikes threaten any fowl species at a inhabitants stage, in accordance with Wyoming Sport and Fish Division Deputy Director Angi Bruce. Nevertheless, the company, which analyzes potential avian impacts, is anxious which may already be the case, “particularly while you have a look at areas which have a number of wind farms,” she mentioned. “Understanding the cumulative results remains to be ongoing and never conclusive at the moment.”

Mitigation efforts

For the entire benefits of wind energy – a free gas provide, low carbon footprint and freedom from unstable worldwide commodity markets – wind energy does include inherent downsides resembling spoiled viewsheds. Devastating avian mortality, and different wildlife impacts, don’t must be a part of the equation, Energy Firm of Wyoming Communications Director Kara Choquette mentioned.

“The instruments are there and obtainable, and partnerships are attainable with the Fish and Wildlife Service to attain conservation objectives – and that’s one thing we selected to do,” Choquette mentioned.

Energy Firm of Wyoming’s Sierra Madre and Chokecherry Wind Energy Challenge in Carbon County has been utterly reconfigured since its inception greater than a decade in the past, based mostly on steady wildlife surveys in addition to advancing expertise. Reasonably than 1,000 wind generators, the mission will embody 600 generators, due to bigger and extra environment friendly wind turbine designs, for instance. Generators will likely be positioned away from ridgelines based mostly on steady fowl flight surveys, Choquette mentioned, and ongoing observations by way of towers and cameras will assist inform adaptive administration practices, resembling shutting down wind generators when birds are energetic within the space.

“It’s actually going by way of and screening the entire datasets and actually looking for the most effective place and dealing to keep away from and decrease potential impacts on avian species,” Choquette mentioned. “It’s a giant a part of our job.”

PacifiCorp owns and operates the most important variety of wind amenities within the state, and it plans to proceed increasing its wind energy capability right here. The utility collects “a number of years” of wildlife information to tell the place it locates wind generators and methods to mitigate impacts throughout operations.

“These surveys usually embody habitat and utilization surveys for avian, bat, and numerous wildlife species, together with elk/ antelope (essential winter vary), prairie canines, swift fox, larger sage grouse, and different protected species,” PacifiCorp states in a reality sheet.

Efforts embody “buffer zones” to distance amenities from nests and holding off on development actions throughout sure instances of the 12 months. Each PacifiCorp and Energy Firm of Wyoming are retrofitting energy poles to discourage nesting and perching.

“Our goal is not any [wildlife] mortalities,” PacifiCorp spokesperson David Eskelsen mentioned. “If any do happen for protected species, they’re reported to [the FWS] inside 24 hours.”

For all of the federal and state laws and oversight, native officers nonetheless don’t have a full understanding of the trade’s influence on raptors and different wildlife, in accordance with Carbon County Commissioner Sue Jones.

“To be fairly sincere, we don’t hear loads and there’s no technique to inform, so far as I do know,” Jones mentioned. Many areas of Carbon County, significantly round Medication Bow, have develop into “industrialized” with wind energy, she mentioned. As with every energy growth, planning and correct siting is significant to stability pure sources. “There’s a tipping level, and we’ve misplaced issues that aren’t replaceable, like viewsheds, actually.”

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Differing opinions continue to stall wind energy moratorium



Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

Credit score:  Differing opinions proceed to stall Wind Energy Moratorium |

By Adam Clay |

Hiawatha World |

Jun 29, 2022 |

The Brown County Fee met on Monday morning, and with a call anticipated to implement a moratorium in opposition to the event of economic wind energy within the county was as soon as once more delayed as commissioners clashed on particulars of the proposed moratorium.

On the County Fee assembly on June 6, County Lawyer Kevin Hill introduced a proposed moratorium on wind energy improvement, per the request of the fee. The proposed ordinance would impose a $1,000 per day nice for any firm in violation, and would stand for 18 months, until prolonged at the moment. The moratorium would give the fee time to place a Complete Plan in place, which would come with zoning pointers amongst different objects.

Commissioner William Pollock has said a need from that point to implement a better penalty for violation of the moratorium, and introduced the group with an edited model together with a penalty as much as $15,000 per day and to not be lower than $10,000 per day. Pollock’s draft additionally stretched the moratorium to 24 months. Lawyer Hill responded that his proposal match inside authorized allowances for the fines given the kind of violation and the usual for size. Pollock responded that he wish to ship the 2 drafts to lawyer Patrick Hughes for evaluate, and made that movement, which died on the ground for lack of second.

Commissioner Wealthy Lehmkuhl said his opinion that persevering with to argue over particulars was holding up getting something in place, which might damage the county in the long run. Commissioner Pollock said that he’s in opposition to wind energy improvement and requested the opposite members of the group to share their opinion. Hill suggested the fee that making a blanket assertion might be an issue at a later date in courtroom proceedings. It was determined to ship each drafts to Hill to look over, and Hill said that he would attain out to Hughes to see if he might advise on the route the county is taking.

Previous to that dialogue, Invoice Vonderschmidt of Brown County Blade Watch introduced an inventory of signatures of Brown County residents and landowners who have been against wind energy improvement. The present checklist had 125 names, and he said that he beforehand introduced an inventory of 243 names. Commissioner Lehmkuhl requested assembly minutes or some kind of presentation of the considerations the group has mentioned at their conferences.

In different enterprise:

The Commissioners have been knowledgeable that the Morrill Township Treasurer had resigned, and got the group’s advice of appointing Brady Chadwell to the spot. The fee agreed to take the advice beneath advisement, however determined to desk any determination till the open place has been printed, giving different candidates the power to method the Township.

County Clerk Daybreak Boyles knowledgeable the fee that Rahe’s Welding was not closing, as they heard beforehand.

The group accredited an replace to the personnel coverage on mileage reimbursements, and there was dialogue of giving all county staff a 50 cent increase relatively than the usual 3 % increase, which was tabled till Thursday’s assembly.

There was additionally dialogue of the county’s oil distributor, which is down for repairs in Topeka for, at this level, an unknown time and unknown price. Commissioner Lehmkuhl stated the county is at risk of not getting their oil down if they don’t begin quickly.

The group moved on to discussing finances cuts to get the 2023 finances right down to the Income Impartial Fee, which might require trimming an extra $321,000. Commissioner Lehmkuhl said that getting right down to that fee might be tough and should intervene with the necessity to take a long-range take a look at the county’s roads.

In discussing the place to trim and easy methods to deal with the method to the finances, Commissioner Pollock said that he doesn’t help the funds spent on financial improvement, which might save $50,000. The group determined to debate additional on Thursday to resolve if they should file an Intent to Exceed the Income Impartial Fee.

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Hundley: Apex Clean Energy must update environmental impact data



Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

I’ve spent most of my life exploring, nurturing, and loving my household’s 855 acres of forests and fields and three miles of perennial streams which can be adjoining to the proposed Rocky Forge Wind Farm web site in Botetourt County.

My mother and father had been decided to preserve some Virginia forest land, and so the land is in a conservation easement. The proposed location for the generators is a wildlife habitat for innumerable species, however my biggest considerations are the recognized impacts on the birds and bats and the aquatic species which can be in danger from soil erosion and stream sedimentation.

I’m blessed to know what clear streams seem like. It’s a privilege nevertheless it shouldn’t be. I do know if development begins on the Rocky Forge web site, due to the land disturbance, this may trigger soil erosion and stream sedimentation into the streams when it rains. Everyone is aware of it, however the decision-makers on this course of haven’t assessed and disclosed the impacts.

Widespread sense tells me that when the proposed generators enhance in dimension, the impacts change. It has been at the very least eight years since wildlife data to evaluate the impacts has been collected.

Eight years is a very long time when terrestrial and aquatic life are being impacted at an unprecedented charge and scale. Local weather change is quickly impacting the environment.

Wildlife research executed eight or extra years in the past are ineffective to explain circumstances right this moment. The proposed turbine web site is within the southernmost breeding territory for the golden eagle. Golden eagles fly from Canada to the mountains in Virginia yearly, particularly the mountain proposed for turbine improvement.

There’s an Indiana bat cave inside 5 miles of the turbine web site and Apex has not up to date any details about the endangered species additionally threatened by a widespread fungal illness particularly since this undertaking was first proposed. The pure world shouldn’t be static, it’s altering extra quickly than ever as a result of growing threats to habitat. Nonetheless, the commonwealth of Virginia is shamelessly poised to authorize a undertaking for which it has no concept of the particular impacts, despite the fact that the Division of Environmental High quality is required to each know what the impacts are going to be and disclose the impacts to the general public. The underlying information right here shouldn’t be significant as a result of it’s previous. Mitigation within the type of turbine operation curtailment means nothing with out an correct baseline of the inhabitants circumstances. The data of the effectiveness of curtailment itself has not been proven.

The American Hen Conservancy (ABC) submitted a remark letter on June 24, which transmitted its prior letters dated Aug. 10, 2020, and Dec. 21, 2021. The ABC argues for present eagle information amongst different issues, offering the scientific and authorized data to help their place. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service additionally weighed in with an email correspondence communication on June 3, 2021, from Thomas W. Wittig, the company’s North Atlantic-Appalachian Area Eagle Coordinator, directed to Jennie Geiger, the senior environmental allowing supervisor at Apex. In February 2021, Geiger had suggested Mr. Wittig that “No modifications have been made to the BBCS [Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy] doc that was authorized again in 2016.” On June 3, 2021, Mr. Wittig straight challenged Apex’s 2016 assertion that no further eagle research had been “warranted or allow really useful” as a result of a lot had modified in 5 years. After itemizing important components that affect the company’s evaluation of danger to eagles, Wittig firmly states, “Within the context of present administration and science, I don’t really feel that the BBCS offers sufficient proof to help that the undertaking is at low danger of taking eagles.” Not sufficient related data.

Wind generators must be geared up with state-of-the-art hearth detection and suppression gear. The hazard and menace of wildfires are scary, realizing that the economic generators can set off a fireplace at any time, however the results of local weather change on the hazard of wildfire haven’t been thought-about. Haven’t we superior past industrializing mountaintop habitats and polluting the water assets that move from the mountains, particularly for marginal energy manufacturing at a price so excessive that the commonwealth successfully bailed out this boondoggle by agreeing to buy energy that nobody else, save Virginia taxpayers, would pay for?

If setting up 50- and 60-story-tall industrial machines on prime of mountains increased than 3,000 toes in elevation in Virginia was such a good suggestion, it might be executed by now.

Hundley lives in Clifton Forge.

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Wind farm challenged yet again



Swiss wind park ordered to scale back to protect birds

Credit score:  By Phyllis Zorn, Employees Author |

Marion County Report / Hillsboro Star-Journal |

June 30, 2022 |

4 Florence males made a last-minute effort Monday to get county commissioners to halt improvement of a wind farm by claiming a predecessor proprietor of the mission was concerned in fraud.

Sunflower Wind, now owned by the Danish firm Orsted, will sponsor a floor breaking ceremony Thursday.

Tom Britain, who was scheduled for 1:45 p.m. on Monday’s agenda to speak about corruption, didn’t come to the assembly at his scheduled time. He did seem half an hour later, saying he had anticipated others to look with him.

“I ought to have been right here, and I perceive that,” he mentioned. “Individuals are at work, and I’ve had bother getting them collectively.”

Britain mentioned he’d come again and discuss throughout public remark session.

Paperwork he supplied to the fee final week included media protection of an organization that went bankrupt a number of years in the past. The incidents that passed off at the moment concerned firms that owned the mission earlier than Orsted bought it and renamed it Sunflower Wind.

Britain was joined by Florence mayor Bob Gayle, Ed Robinson, and Gary Williams.

Britain learn from {a magazine}. Fee chairman David Mueller reduce him brief.

Gayle mentioned when he’d tried to speak concerning the wind farm earlier, he was reduce off.

“Since then, I obtained a bit of pissed off and did some research on this,” he mentioned. “I did a bit of digging to see the place the cash got here from, and it’s fairly soiled.”

Gayle mentioned he wished commissioners to “look again.”

Mueller mentioned Gayle was speaking a couple of earlier firm, and Gayle agreed.

“Since a brand new firm is attempting to take over, is that this going to be a rip-off too?” Williams mentioned.

Williams mentioned he didn’t know whether or not it was the fee’s accountability or whether or not “we have now to rent another person to do it.”

Mueller advised the boys Orsted has an extended historical past, not solely in america, however worldwide.

In different enterprise, commissioners:

  • Bought a $115,774 safety digicam system for the courthouse and rejected bids for a digicam system on the south street and bridge store.
  • Heard a report from county engineer Brice Goebel that Sunflower Wind is placing rock on roads.
  • Purchased a $33,686 magnet to take away metallic items from gravel street. The movement handed on a 4-1 vote, with commissioner Jonah Gehring opposed.

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