Category Archives: harm to wildlife

Who Pays for killing the Eagles?

eagle soaringSouthern Ontario has 4 publicly known (to date ) eagle deaths caused by wind turbines.  READ:  NextEra freely handed permit to destroy Bald Eagle nest: FOI records

Internationally deaths of the iconic raptors by wind projects remains an ongoing environmental horror story.  The writer in the  letter below asks questions about the deference granted to wind facilities who are in essence given licence to kill unlike any other industry.

Emmetsburg NewsMarch 21, 2017

To the Editor:

If wind turbines are subject to wildlife areas, what happens if an eagle is hit and killed or wounded by a wind turbine? Eagles are an endangered bird and are protected by the Federal Gov. law. I read on the internet, the first offense is a $5000 fine and or one year in jail. Second time it is $10000 fine and two years in jail. Third time, if that is a felony, the fine is $250000 and jail time. Now, question is, who is to blame for the death or wounding of the eagle? Remember this is a federal crime if one is killed or wounded according to the message on the internet. Who would pay the damages or the jail time? Would it be the wind turbine company, the land owner, or would it be the county supervisors who made this decision on their own to allow the wind companies to come in by rezoning, or would it be all three?

(signed)?Tillford Egland

Cylinder, IA (USA)

Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility: Wrong from the start

ocotillo nightThe Lesson: This project was a disaster from the beginning. Speed and greed are a recipe for environmental, economic, and social failures. Applications for future wind developments must learn from this experience and be much, much more diligent and responsible in their planning and execution.

Desert Report March 2017 – Parke and Linda Ewing

The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility (OWEF)1 is an utility scale project placed on 12,436 acres near Ocotillo, California, of which 10,151 acres are public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Let’s not forget the towns of Ocotillo and NoMirage. Not huge towns, but home to 266 residents who chose the solitude, the quietness, and the beauty of the ever-changing seasons. Much of this beauty, along with the ecosystem, has been sacrificed.

This wind energy facility now consists of 112 Siemens 2.3-108 MW Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT), which means each IWT was rated to produce 2.3 Megawatts (MW), and the blade swept area is 108 meters in diameter (354.331’). At a later date, the rating was increased to 2.7 MW per tower, very likely to meet the minimum installed capacity required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) if San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is to meet their mandated renewable energy requirements.

The nacelle, which houses moving and support components such as the gearbox, generator, and main shaft, sits on top of a round tapered steel tower 80m (262.467’) above the ground. The 173’ long blades are held in place at a hub which is attached to the end of the nacelle. The total height of the wind turbine when a blade is in the 12 o’clock position is about 438’. The base of the tower is 15’ in diameter and houses the inverter and control equipment. Two cooling fans are placed outside of the base under the entry stairway, and the transformer is placed on the ground next to the base. More data can be found at Wikipedia2 and at the Siemens’ link3. All these links are posted in the “Notes” section online at http://www.desertreport.org.

ocotilloPublic Involvement

How did this happen? Initially, when we first heard about this project, we were told by Pattern Energy officials and by project documentation that we, the residents, would not be impacted by the turbine facility because it would be located five miles away from the Ocotillo Community. Five miles? That’s an acceptable distance. My wife and I now have turbines that reside one-half a mile from our house and with most less than one mile from the community on all sides.

There were so many maps presented during the different meetings with the various Imperial County departments that confusion ran rampant when someone asked which map represented the location of the turbines for this project. During a scoping meeting, a meeting designed to gain input from every single entity, person, department, or facility that may be impacted by this project, the residents were not allowed to speak. Instead, we were instructed to write our questions on a post card, and they would be addressed at a later time. When?

Ground Disturbances

Now let’s talk about the turbine access roads. Initial discussions and documentation indicated that these roads would be thirty-six feet wide and then narrowed to sixteen feet once the project was complete. In addition there would be an additional fifteen feet on either one side or both sides for the electrical collection lines from each turbine. Some roads ended up being up to 113 feet wide. The disturbance caused to Native American sites and to wildlife has been recorded many times4.5.

Many homeowners have felt the need to purchase flood insurance, in the middle of the desert. Residents feel that Pattern Energy was allowed to change the drainage patterns that will affect the alluvial fans, causing flooding by diversion of rain runoff. Construction of forty-two miles of access roads and an additional eighty-two miles of collection lines has stripped the water absorbing desert crust, creating the potential for flooding in areas that have been safe in past years.

Initial Wind Estimates

The next indiscretion that made itself Somewhere on this map is a community now surrounded by industrial project. known were the wind values. The wind values were incorrectly stated – records were from the Desert View Tower located ten miles up the Interstate Highway grade from Ocotillo and approximately another 2500 feet higher than the desert valley where the project is located. How were they allowed to use those numbers? Three years of data have shown that these turbines are not generating the power that was projected.

Production Shortfall

During the permitting process, differing estimate were given for the energy production of the facility depending upon who made the estimate and for whom they were intended. Ultimately Patten Energy stated that the OWEF would have a capacity factor of 34% (meaning that over time it would produce 34% of its maximum rated output at full sunlight) and that it would produce 2673 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy in its first three years. In fact, the actual capacity factor during this period was 21%, and the total energy produced was 1438 GWh, far below the projected figures. This was in spite of receiving $115,890,946 dollars from the Department of Energy’s 1603 Cash Grant Program6 in lieu of the Production Tax Credits and $110,000,000 from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission7.

During the BLM scoping period for the project, many comments were submitted. The majority of these were in opposition to the OWEF. Comments that favored the facility were mostly based on the jobs and economic benefits that the facility would provide. A small minority of the comments favored the facility because of the sustainable renewable energy benefits. Those claims were based on the “Installed Capacity,” which is the maximum power which the facility can generate at full daytime sunlight, and an expected capacity factor of 34%. Ocotillo Wind, as stated previously, has fallen far short of predictions.

Current electricity generation for the residents of California relies on a mix of energy production technologies including: coal (7.7%), natural gas (41.9%), nuclear (13.9%), other renewables (13.7%), hydroelectric (10.8%), and others (12.0%). Based on nearly 204,000 GWh of net power generation in California in 2010, the average annual production of 479 GWh by the Ocotillo facility represents only 0.2 percent of California’s total. It is reasonable to wonder if the negative consequences of the project can be justified by this small contribution.

Mechanical failures

The OWEF has been plagued by mechanical problems. On May 16, 2013, a 173’ long wind turbine blade was thrown off of Turbine 156. The cause was determined to be a fiberglass root segment curing problem. Ten wind turbine blades were ultimately replaced at Ocotillo Wind. Many people familiar with the facility believe that the blade problem was due to the “fast tracking” of the facility to enable Ocotillo Express LLC to complete the project by the end of 2012, so they could qualify for the 1603 Cash Grant offered by the Department of Energy.

On January 15, 2015, Turbine 110 had a major fire. The cause of the fire was never revealed. The entire turbine was eventually replaced. The turbine did not generate power for nine months.

On November 21, 2016, Turbine 126 collapsed entirely. It was later confirmed to have been caused by a turbine blade striking the side of the tower. According to the Ocotillo Wind website, a shear stiffener inside of the blade was found to have failed. The Ocotillo Wind website8 stated that the turbine actually collapsed “in the Designated Safe Zone.” There are easily twelve wind turbine sites where BLM designated trails fall within that so-called designated safe zone. Potentially, a person could be killed under any of the Ocotillo Wind Turbines since the entire area is open to
the public.

The OWEF has been plagued with oil leaks. The residents of Ocotillo have counted over seventy turbines with oil leaks at towers and countless hydraulic oil leaks on the blades, many of them considered to be significant by the Imperial County Environmental Task Force. Additionally failures of yaw drives (which orient the blades into the wind) have caused problems. Eight gearboxes have been replaced since the facility became 100% operational along with hundreds of yaw drives.

ocitillo 1013925_544090075648796_475568349_n1Visual Blight

The bright red blinking lights of Ocotillo Wind are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and can be seen from the southern portion of the Salton Sea, over seventy miles away. Nobody lives in the desert to view wind turbine lights blinking in unison all night long. Pattern Energy promised the community a lighting control system which would be radar activated only when aircraft were present. The Laufer System9 was approved by the FAA in January of 2016. Pattern constructed the whole first phase of Ocotillo Wind consisting of ninety-four turbines in a record 6 1/2 months, but it has been over a year, and the very irritating red lights still shine.

Death in the Airocitillo-1-1038x576.png

Many birds have been struck by the wind turbine blades, and bats lungs have exploded as they fly near the turbines. A carcass survey between 10/05/14 and 09/22/15, obtained by a FOIA request, indicated that sixty-nine birds and bats were found on the agreed upon survey sites, under or near the wind turbines. Every wind turbine site on the facility was not searched every day. We can assume that scavengers consumed many of the carcasses prior to the survey. Bird kills don’t appear to be a huge problem in Ocotillo, but we all hate the killing of any wildlife.

The once numerous Red Tailed Hawks have disappeared. Were they killed by spinning wind turbine blades? There were once so many jackrabbits that it was overwhelming. Now there are no jackrabbits, and the coyotes have also disappeared completely. The last time we saw one, it was skinny and sickly looking, almost certainly for lack of food. The ecosystem is gone.

The Lesson

This project was a disaster from the beginning. Speed and greed are a recipe for environmental, economic, and social failures. Applications for future wind developments must learn from this experience and be much, much more diligent and responsible in their planning and execution.

Desert Report Spring 2017:

Remedy Hearing – Little Brown Bats take centre stage

brown-batWE THOUGHT IT WAS OVER! TURBINE FIGHT STILL GOING! REMEDY HEARING FEB. 28TH!

Wind project developer  (WPD) have been granted another chance that could allow them to install wind turbines at Clearview.  They lost at the Tribunal on the grounds the project would cause serious harm to human health due to the wind turbines interfering and creating risks for safe aviation movements at the adjacent Collingwood airport.  Serious harm to bats was proven.  collingwood_airport_12

ON TUESDAY, FEB. 28. LITTLE BROWN BATS ARE CENTRE STAGE!

A REMEDY HEARING has been granted to allow WPD to present their mitigations measures which need to prove that the mortalities caused by the wind turbines will not cause irreversible  harm to the critically endangered bat population which is facing possible extinction.

Hearing
(28-Feb-17, 10:30 AM)
Hearing
(01-Mar-17, 10:00 AM)

WHERE? Council Chambers, Collingwood, Town Of Collingwood, P.O. Box 157, 97 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, ON

To confirm dates and times look up case number 16-036 under hearings section on the Environmental Review Tribunal website: http://elto.gov.on.ca/ert/hearings/

[220] The Tribunal finds that over the lifespan the Project, it is more likely than not that the Project will cause serious harm to the local population of little brown myotis from which it will not recover and cannot be reversed. Therefore, without additional mitigation measures in place, the Tribunal finds that engaging in the Project in accordance with the REA will cause irreversible harm to little brown myotis.

16-036 WIGGINS V. ONTARIO(MOECC): http://elto.gov.on.ca/ert/hearings/

DECISION:

Hoosac Wind- We are prisoners in our house

hoosac-wind-turbineHoosac Wind has destroyed a wild place and created ongoing community division.  Initially supportive of wind power  Larry Lorusso shares his experience of living adjacent to the project.  His goal is to protect the environment from the dangers of wind power.  Using his talents for storytelling and photography he conveys the  negative impacts of the wind project and illustrates how noise from the wind turbines has impacted his health and that of his family.

To learn more  visit Hoosac Wind Watch  https://www.facebook.com/HoosacWindWatch/ 

By MATT LINDSEY

PARISHVILLE — A Massachusetts photographer warned about 60 St. Lawrence County residents last night about what he sees as the potential dangers and disadvantages of the North Ridge Wind Farm, which has divided the community.

Presenter Larry Lorusso, who lives about one mile from Hoosac Wind Farm, located in Massachusetts, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout last night, even though a storm dropped about a foot of snow over much of the North Country. The meeting was held at the town hall.

Avangrid, the developer of the proposed North Ridge Wind Farm between State Rts. 11B and 72 in Parishville and Hopkinton, is looking to install around 40 wind towers — as high as 500 feet tall from the bases to the blade tips. Dozens of people have signed leases to allow the windmills on their land.

The controversial wind towers have created rifts between family and friends in Hopkinton, Parishville and the surrounding areas. When he heard about the proposed product he reached out to locals and wanted to educate people, he said.

Lorusso will present a slideshow at the county Legislature’s Services Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the county courthouse. He has been allotted 20 minutes for his presentation.

“I have nothing to gain,” he said, about why he travelled to the North Country to speak about wind towers. “Who better to know what is going on than someone who has them in their backyard?”

Lorusso said he supported the wind towers based on what Iberdrola, an energy company based in Spain, had told him. Avangrid, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, is heading the project in Hopkinton and Parishville.

“They told us it was going to help the environment – it doesn’t,” Lorusso said. “Wind towers are not the answer to green energy.”

Based on his experience living one mile from wind turbines, Lorusso became a community activist and documented through photography and stories and is sharing that with other communities considering installing wind towers.

“These are being sold to us that they are saving the environment,” he said. “I am not anti-wind, I am pro-environment.”

Lorusso documented the land prior to the installation, the installation process and what has come of it since wind towers were installed.

He describes his land as an “enchanted forest” with “little impacts from humans.”

“There were mountain alterations of beautiful land – they wrecked it,” Lorusso said. “There used to be wildlife sign and wildlife – all gone.”

Lorusso said the noises range from ringing in ears, to the sound of a helicopter hovering or a jet engine that never takes off. But, he says the vibrations are the worst part.

“The worse is not what you see or hear, it’s what you feel,” he said. “I can feel my head pulsing — I can put my hand on my windows and feel them vibrating.”

Lorusso said he, his wife and neighbors developed several medical issues since the towers were installed near his home about four years ago. He says the issues include heart problems, high blood pressure, and sinus issues.

“They have not been able to determine the source of my wife’s sinus issues,” he said, noting that it was not a sinus infection.

He says he has sleepless nights at home, but slept well during his stay in St. Lawrence County.

“I wake up in a state of anxiety – on the edge of fear,” he said. “Yesterday and today were the first days in months that I haven’t woken up anxious.”

And then there is the ringing in the ears.

“It’s never quiet, even when it’s quiet,” he said.

Lorusso said the issues have driven some people away from their homes. “People abandoned their homes, they just left.”

Lorusso is determined to stay and fight against the wind tower company.

“We are prisoners in our own house – it’s sad,” he said.

Published in NCNowNews on February 13, 2017:  http://northcountrynow.com/news/massachusetts-photographer-travels-st-lawrence-county-warn-officials-and-locals-concerning

 

Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Mortality Reports, with Summary- Ontario, Canada

Posted on 01/24/2017 by

Below is a summary Maureen kindly assembled from all of the reports retrieved through the FOI. Have a good hard look at the numbers per project. Individually, these projects have got off scot free – they have never been challenged, never been questioned, never been charged, or even slapped on the wrist for these astounding kills. Dan tallied the actual raptor deaths on the right hand side, as many raptor deaths were ignored as “incidental” – not killed at the right time/place…more on that later. There is much more to glean from these reports – please share what you gather. This is a draft that will be added to and amended as we go.

Click here to download and view in full screen

Follow link to see all of bird and bat kill reports: http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2017/01/24/wind-turbine-bird-bat-mortality-reports-with-summary-ontario-canada/

 

Raptors are being Slaughtered By Wind Turbines in Ontario

turkey-vulture-a
“The infection in her eye had also abated, but she had likely suffered some permanent loss of vision.”

“A volunteer had found an injured turkey vulture beneath a wind turbine and brought her to Salthaven where triage revealed she was suffering from head trauma. She didn’t have any lacerations or bone fractures (injuries commonly sustained by birds that have collided with turbines), but one of her eyes was badly infected…”

By Jenna Hunnef   Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 5:40:53 EST PM 

Special to Londoner

The North American turkey vulture isn’t accorded the same dignified status as its fellow raptors, such as the eagle, hawk, or falcon. Instead, it has traditionally been feared as an omen of death or reviled as a scavenging scoundrel. But we tend to think a little differently here at Salthaven.

The turkey vulture possesses many characteristics that distinguish it from other birds of prey, making it an adept custodian of the natural world. Like hawks, falcons, eagles, and ospreys, turkey vultures possess an acute sense of vision, but they are doubly gifted in the avian world with powerful olfactory senses attuned to certain odours—a rarity among North American birds. The gregariousness of turkey vultures is another key feature that distinguishes them from their raptor kin. Outside of breeding season, it is common to see them congregated in large flocks (“kettles”), which can consist of hundreds of individuals….”

READ AT: http://www.thelondoner.ca/2016/11/22/salthavens-patient-of-the-week-if-at-first-you-dont-succeed

It’s not a migration it’s an obstacle course

not-a-migration

The work of cartoonist Adrian Raeside illustrates some of the cumulative harmful impacts from human activities to migrating avian species that use the global flyways.  Habitat loss, avoidance and mortalities are direct adverse impacts arising from the installation of wind power generating facilities.  Killing the natural world one spin at a time.

Enjoy his work at:

https://www.creators.com/read/the-other-coast/11/16/188957

 

Canadian Wind “Farms” deadly to thousands of bats

Canadian Wind Farms Kills Ten of Thousands of Bats

Wednesday October 5, 2016   |    

Hoary bats like this one are the species most often killed by wind turbines in Canada. ©Nessie Grace
A bat lies dead beneath a wind turbine in southern Ontario. ©Mike Anissimoff

Each wind turbine in Canada kills an average of 15.5 bats per year, adding up to a death toll that could someday threaten populations, according to new research. In Canada’s first comprehensive analysis of wind farm casualties, researchers found that turbines were killing about 47,000 bats per year in 2013. That number will only rise as Canada’s investment in wind energy increases.

“We have about 50 percent more turbines now, so, as of 2016, somewhere around 70,000 bats are being killed in Canada per year,” said Ryan Zimmerling, a wildlife biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service and first author of a recent study in the Journal of Wildlife Management. “It is possible that those levels of mortality, if they’re not already causing impacts to some species now, could be causing impacts into the future.”

Wind energy companies in Canada are required to monitor bat mortality at newly built wind farms, regularly searching the area under turbines for carcasses. The companies report these data as part of post-construction monitoring, but until now, no one had combined them into a single nation-wide analysis. To see the big picture, Zimmerling and his colleagues analyzed carcass counts from 64 wind farms in nine provinces, using statistical corrections to estimate how many carcasses the surveyors missed.

Scant disclosure on wind turbine bird mortality

esther-and-daughterDear Editor

I just read “What’s a few chopped up birds” (From The Top of the Pile, Sept. 22) on wind turbines and bird deaths in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Way to go Saskatchewan for actually taking this issue seriously. We’ve never had this happen in Ontario!

I’m from southwestern Ontario, but moved to New Brunswick two years ago when the turbines went up. For six years I fought them, went to tribunal hearings, videotaped the scummy company Nextera destroying an active eagle nest, got sued by the same company because I parodied their logo as NexTerror and organized and attended uncountable protests during that time. If I would have stayed, remained surrounded by turbines, the kids’ school surrounded by turbines, I would have continued, but our health came first and we left the land I was born and raised on.

I’ve since realized the wind companies are killing way more birds and bats than the media or researches know, with impunity. The last report on bird/bat mortality that any wind developer released to the public was in 2012 (Transalta’s Wofle Island), then all of a sudden the whole industry stopped releasing these reports. I couldn’t find them anywhere.

Bird Studies Canada wouldn’t release the documents. They are confidentially working with the wind companies, on a voluntary basis. I asked the wind company Nextera for it. They told me they could give me a two-page summary in a couple months.

Other avenues were also blind alleys calling for freedom of information requests for what should be public documents.

After many months, and a faked ‘appeal’ by the wind company to delay the release, they came. My heart sank and my blood boiled. In six months the two local Nextera projects killed eight red-tailed hawks and 14 vultures. You can imagine what the raptor population will be in that area when the 20-year lifespan of this project is over. We lived on flat, prairie-like farmland, with small woodlots, good raptor habitat. But not now that there are more than 200 wind turbines there.

I decided to file freedom of information requests for all the wind projects in Ontario. There are more than 110 projects. I had to source out and make a comprehensive list and then presented it to the FOI office and the Renewable Energy co-ordinator for the MNRF. You know what the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry guy said? “I didn’t even know about half of these projects.” This is the guy in charge of wind turbines and wildlife in the province, and he doesn’t even have a list of the wind projects there? I asked them if they are studying the massive cumulative impacts these projects will be having on the bird and bat populations. His answer was no, not unless there is some secret study going on. So nobody is looking into it. Not a soul. It’s all eyes closed to these massive killers.

They told me it will probably costs me thousands of dollars to retrieve these documents through the FOI. I took a breath and said, “Do it.” I’ll set up a Go Fund Me, or something. These need to be made public. I’ve posted what I have so far on a Google Drive page open to the public. At some point it might be a good idea to do this in Alberta as well. We asked the New Brunswick Ministry of Natural Resources for these documents and they just emailed them to us, free of charge, in two days. We asked the Nova Scotia government and they mailed us the documents, through an FOI request, for $5. But in Ontario “It’ll cost you thousands”. Obviously information they don’t want getting out when they put an enormous price tag on it. /that’s not open government.

Esther Wrightman

St. Andrews, N.B.

Letter Published Battlefords News- Optimist: http://www.newsoptimist.ca/opinion/letters/scant-disclosure-on-wind-turbine-bird-mortality-1.2351436

Wind Turbines Killing thousands of birds and bats

By John Miner, The London Free Press

Wind turbines are killing bats, including ones on the endangered species list, at nearly double the rate set as acceptable by the Ontario government, the latest monitoring report indicates.bat-killed-by-wind-turbine-blades

Bats are being killed in Ontario at the rate of 18.5 per turbine, resulting in an estimated 42,656 bat fatalities in Ontario between May 1 and October 31, 2015, according to the report released by Bird Studies Canada, a bird conservation organization.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources has set 10 bat deaths per turbine as the threshold at which the mortalities are considered significant and warrant action.

The bats being killed by turbines in Ontario include the little brown bat, tri-coloured bat, eastern small footed bat, and northern long-eared bat, all on the endangered species list.

The Birds Studies Canada report draws its information from a database that is a joint initiative of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Bird Studies Canada.

Brock Fenton, an expert in the behaviour and ecology of bats and professor in Western University’s department of biology, said the bat deaths are a concern.

Bat populations across North America have been plunging with the emergence of a fungal disease called white nose syndrome.

Birds are taking less of a hit from wind turbines, according to the report, with an estimated 14,144 non-raptors killed by wind turbines and 462 raptor fatalities between May 1 and October 31 in 2015.

The report noted that some wind farms have moved to reduce bat mortalities by cutting their turbine speeds from dawn to dusk in the late summer and early fall.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Wind Energy Association said the association is concerned about reports that are based on limited data that have the effect of boosting estimates.

In response, CanWea is developing its own system that will be released this fall that is designed to improve existing and proposed bat regulations, said Brandy Giannetta, CanWea’s Ontario regional director.

“It aims to achieve this in part by enhancing knowledge of the existing data in order to drive science-based policy decisions and also by providing avoidance, minimization, and mitigation options that we hope operators and regulators alike will find useful in conservation efforts,” Giannetta said in an email.

Wind Concerns Ontario, a coalition of provincial groups opposed to wind farm development, said it is concerned that birds and, significantly, bats are being killed in numbers that were not forecast by either the Ontario government or the wind power developers.

“The population of the Little Brown Bat in particular is now at 5-10 per cent of its historical levels, so, as the Environmental Review Tribunal stated in the White Pines decision in Prince Edward County, even a few deaths will have a serious impact on the species as a whole. And we know for a certainty that bats are killed by wind turbines,” Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, said.

It is critical to understand that wind power projects shouldn’t be approved without a full and objective assessment of all factors in any given location. The government’s push for wind power has to be balanced with the continuing need to protect the natural environment, Wilson said….

READ MORE:  http://www.lfpress.com/2016/07/20/wind-turbines-killing-tens-of-thousands-of-bats-including-many-on-the-endangered-species-list