Category Archives: harm to wildlife

Industrial Wind Turbines Pose Tremendous Risks to Great Lakes

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Lake Erie shoreline

Industrial Wind Turbines pose tremendous risks to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario

New York now making reckless push to industrialize recreational waters

July 15, 2020   Press Release

What You Need to Know

  • New York State is considering allowing massive industrial wind turbines to be installed within just a few miles of the shore lines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
  • The stunning panoramic views, ecology and economies of the lakes are at risk.
  • Save Ontario Shores calls on Gov. Cuomo to stop the assault on Upstate New York to benefit New York City’s energy needs.

Two New York State documents released in June discuss industrial wind turbines in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The White Paper on Clean Energy Standard Procurement (White Paper) (June 18, 2020) by the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, (SGEIS) (June 11, 2020)by the DPS are responses to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed in June2019 that establishes a goal of 70% renewable energy resources by 2030.

“Both papers present cause for concern for all existing lake stakeholders including recreational boating, fishing, tourism, commercial shipping, and wildlife-especially bird and bat seasonal migration,” said SOSVice President Kate Kremer.

“All shoreline communities of the United States and Canada should be concerned and attentive to this reckless push to industrialize these international waters. The stunning panoramic views, ecology and economies of the lakes are at risk.”

The White Paper states that

“if feasible, renewables development in the Great Lakes can play a key role in New York’s path to a diversified clean energy economy.”

NYSERDA proposes development of a feasibility study to consider wind energy development in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario through a “framework that is sensitive to environmental, maritime, economic, and social issues while considering market barriers and costs.”

This feasibility study “would consist of three primary components: stakeholder outreach, analysis and policy options,” and would include interactions “with a wide variety of governmental agencies, industry, non-profit and for-profit organizations, indigenous nations and other community groups and organizations that may be… supportive or adversarial to the development.”

The White Paper admits that in the near term, “Great Lakes wind projects are unlikely to be cost-competitive,” but ends with a comment which should be most concerning to Western New Yorkers:

“…such projects would interconnect in the region of the state with the greatest proportion of renewable energy development relative to native load…”

This is a serious problem, according to New York’s grid operator, because new renewable energy will displace older renewable projects upstate unless transmission upgrades allow the power to be transported downstate. Upstate already has 88% zero emissions electricity generation. These lakes are along way from the energy needs of New York City and Long Island where 70% of their electricity is generated from fossil fuels. “Offshore industrial wind turbines will need to be massive in order to be cost competitive because they are incredibly expensive to install,”

great lakes 1
Great Lakes of North America

 

Kremer said. “Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are less than 60 miles wide making proximity to the shoreline closer to shore than ocean-based turbines. Lakes Erie and Ontario are the smallest and already the most stressed of the five Great Lakes from decades of industrial runoff and other uses along their shores.

“Stirring up legacy pollutants that are in the sediment of the lakes is an environmental disaster in the making. The lakes need restoration, not additional stresses.”

The SGEIS is an environmental document focusing on ecological impacts of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and it discusses the merits of wind turbines in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in order to meet the Act’s goals. This DPS document has a more aggressive goal than the White Paper, stating, “Great Lakes offshore wind is expected to contribute to the 70 by 30 goal in addition to oceanic offshore wind.” DPS expects completion of the Icebreaker Wind project in Lake Erie off Cleveland, Ohio,will “renew interest in off shore wind in the Great Lakes…and therefore warrants additional analysis in this SGEIS.

”The Icebreaker project was recently given a permit that includes the condition that turbines be shutdown at night for half the year due to danger to migrating bird and bats, highlighting the environmental devastation Great Lakes turbines can have.

The SGEIS report states 66 percent of New York’s Lake Erie waters and 17.6 percent of its Lake Ontario waters might be suitable for development. Industrial wind turbines would be sited within 10 miles of the Lake Erie shoreline and within one to two miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline. “The 70 by 30 goal will require a massive amount of land in scenic agricultural upstate towns whose right to zone for these industrial projects has been diminished,”said SOS President Pam Atwater.

“Residents are rising up in revolt against these projects. They are bringing forth lawsuits. So now Albany comes up with the idea to industrialize one of New York’s most attractive and economically important assets by placing industrial wind turbines a few miles offshore in the lakes. We have been fighting an onshore industrial wind project for many years on lake shore land and now the State is planning them in the Great Lakes. This is an all-out assault on Western New York from land, sea and air.”

Significant impacts include area-use conflicts that would result in the displacement of commercial and recreational vessels from fishing grounds, and/or displacement of fish from fishing grounds. Offshore wind energy may limit certain fishing practices, restrict access to fish, or displace fish from traditional fishing areas.

Proximity to the shoreline would create unavoidable visual impacts.There will be habitat impacts and bird and bat collisions. Although the SGEIS does concentrate on environmental issues, there are two significant technical issues pertinent to Great Lakes wind presented in the paper which must be overcome in order to achieve the goal of contributing tothe70 by 30 goal,according to SOS Energy Committee member Steve Royce, who researched both papers.

First, there are limitations in the size of commercial ships which can safely navigate the locks and waterways in and leading to the Great Lakes. Because of this limitation, only turbines less than 4 megawatts could be transported and installed, unless “development of a new or adapted fleet of construction vessels” is achieved. “A limit of four megawatts in turbine size may make development in the Great Lakes economically unfeasible.Larger turbines would be needed to justify any project in the Great Lakes,”said Royce.

Second is the problem of ice in the Great Lakes. While floating foundations are being developed for use with turbines in the oceans, freshwater ice presents a problem to this technology due to lateral forces imparted by ice and freezing of the substructure.

“Whether wind turbines will be installed in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as part of the 70 by30 goal, one thing is for certain:  it will happen unless our state leaders can be made to recognize that the ecology of the lakes,and the beauty for which New York was once known are more important than an intermittent, undependable source of a relatively minute amount of electricity which might be achieved from our lakes,”

Royce said.

“We are calling on Gov. Cuomo to stop the assault on Upstate New York. Scenic rural areas, including Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, are now threatened by massive industrialization due to his renewable energy goals,”said Atwater.

 

wolf island wind turbines
On Shore industrial wind turbines seen in an aerial view of Wolf island,  Lake Ontario

 

Stop Wind Power- Save Norwegian Wilderness

Did you think wind power is green energy? Not in pristine Norwegian wilderness, it isn’t. Learn more about how wind turbines are tearing apart Norway, its nature, and its culture, and not saving the climate. This video series aims to bring Norway’s wind power controversy to an international audience.

 

Lake Erie under threat from New York State permits for wind project

WI070625_151.tifCleanwater Wind LLC received approval on March 10, 2020 from New York  state to place a data buoy in Lake Erie for its proposed offshore project.  The wind  developer is just one of many who are pushing for regulatory approvals for offshore wind turbines to be placed in our Great Lakes.  The Great Lake ecosystem are the location for globally significant flyways, freshwater marine life and home to one of the largest human populations in North America on the adjacent shores.

Nation Rise Wind Cancelled

The fight is far from over and ongoing.  Wind Warriors have had some welcomed news with the cancellation of Nation Rise.

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Construction dust from chemicals used to stabilized an access road for Nation Rise wind that triggered complaints

Seaway News|by Nick Seebruch| December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

Province cancels North Stormont wind project

NORTH STORMONT, Ontario – Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek has cancelled a controversial wind farm project in North Stormont.

The nearly complete Nation Rise Wind Farm would have seen 29 turbines producing wind energy once completed, but Yurek has chosen to cancel the project out of concern for the local bat population.

“It is the Minister’s belief that the project is likely to cause serious and irreversible harm to the local bat populations,” wrote Gary Wheeler, Communications Officer with the Ministry. “The Minister has directed ministry staff to review how harm to bats is assessed as part of the renewable energy approval process and related guidelines, and whether any changes might be necessary. Ontario is committed to ensuring that wind turbine facilities are constructed and operate in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.”

Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell had previously called for the cancellation of the project earlier in 2019.

“The Nation Rise Project, like many industrial wind farms across rural Ontario, was a project forced upon the people of North Stormont by the previous Wynne government.  The Liberal Government made it their mission to expand renewable energy at an unsustainable rate, resulting in unaffordable contracts for surplus power,” wrote McDonell in a Letter to the Editor.

READ ARTICLE

Minister’s Letter Revoking Approval of  Nation Rise 2019

Lake Erie Groups Rev Up Opposition

Cleveland.com| By Laura Johnston| April 15, 2019

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Lake Erie Shoreline

Lake Erie groups rev up opposition to Cleveland wind turbine project, as developers negotiate with state

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The project has been on the horizon for a decade and a half: six wind turbines erected in Lake Erie, in the first freshwater wind project in North America.

But fervor over the issue is revving up now among boaters, as the developer, the nonprofit Lake Erie Energy Development Co., works through stipulations with the state.

The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association — made up of boat dealers, clubs and other enthusiasts — opposes the $126 million, 20.7-megawatt project dubbed Icebreaker, planned for 8 miles north of Cleveland. So does the nonprofit Lake Erie Foundation.

Both LEEDCo. and its opponents point to hundreds of pages of documents they say prove their points.

The fight is not so much over the six turbines up for state approval right now – but for the wind farm it could precipitate: thousands of spinning blades the Lake Erie Foundation fears will desecrate Lake Erie.

LEEDCo. CEO Lorry Wagner says there are “currently no plans” for more turbines. “You can have all the dreams and aspirations you want, but until you climb that first hill and see what’s out there, you better focus on that first hill.”

But Icebreaker is a pilot project, with a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. LEEDCo. has partnered with Norway-based Fred Olsen Renewables, and its website says “we can build an industry and supply chain in Northeast Ohio that will creation 8,000 new good paying jobs and pump nearly $14 billion into our economy by 2030… as the industry grows here.”

An expansion would require more studies and more approvals.

Said foundation board member John Lipaj: “You cannot treat this as a six-turbine stand-alone project. We have to be realistic and treat it for what it is.”……

READ MORE HERE

No wind turbines on Great Lakes

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Wolfe Island Wind Turbines

Boating Industry|April 9, 2019

MBIA urges boaters to voice their opposition to wind turbines in the Great Lakes

The Michigan Boating Industries Association, along with environmental groups, boating associations, and property owners are urging boaters to raise their voice in opposition of the proposed Icebreaker wind power turbines in Lake Erie.

Nicki Polan, executive director of MBIA says: “MBIA is not opposed to alternative sources of energy. But, regarding wind farms in our Great Lakes, we find far too many unanswered questions and documented risks to the health and aesthetics of these unique and often times fragile bodies of water. We stand opposed to plans such as the one being considered in Ohio now and we encourage all boaters and boating businesses to join us in communicating this to Ohio.”

Michigan borders on four of the five Great Lakes including a large portion of Lake Erie. Many Michigan residents’ boat on Lake Erie, and many Michigan businesses and citizens live and work along its shores.

Only 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh water, and 20% of that is coming from the Great Lakes.

“Building wind turbines in Lake Erie will threaten clean water, boating access, one of the world’s best perch and walleye fisheries, bird migration, the safety and health of coastal residents, and so much more,” said Polan.

The initial goal of the Icebreaker plan is to place 6 wind turbines, with a final goal of 1,200 wind turbines in Lake Erie, costing an estimated $24 billion.

“Wind power has proved to be very high cost with low return,” said MBIA Board Member Jim Coburn of Coburn & Associated in Macomb, Mich. “Many wind turbine projects in the U.S. and overseas have been abandoned because of this. Why this is even being considered in our Great Lakes is beyond me.”

The case against turbines is extensive, including the fact that exploding and burning turbines can be commonplace. Each turbine contains over 400 gallons of industrial lubricants in their gearboxes.Gearbox seals are known to fail and will leak oil into the waters below. But when they burn there is no way to reach and extinguish them. As the 300-foot turbine blades burn, they create toxic emissions polluting the air and waters below.

Source: Boating Industry

White-Tailed Eagle Collision with Industrial Wind Turbine

A wind turbine located at northern Hokkaido, Japan with a high risk of bird strikes was monitored using a webcam surveillance system that was activated during the daytime every day from December 2013 to March 2014, which was the wintering season for the white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). A collision carcass of the white-tailed sea eagle was observed at the wind turbine on January 29, 2014 at 15:00. On analysis of the recorded data, we found that the moment of the collision was captured by both cameras.”

Turbine strike of White-tailed Eagle January 29, 2014
(Video 13 seconds length)

Unser Dorf hat Zukunft? Oder werden unsere Dörfer zerstört?/Our village has a future? Or are our villages destroyed?
(Video 4:59 minutes)

Avoidance=Habitat Loss

dead birds 3Wind industry in damage control over avian deaths and significant adverse environmental impacts of avoidance of essential ecosystems such as migration corridors.  Reading spin below it begs many questions least is how do dead raptors, birds and bats killed by wind turbines “learn”?

For a sobering reading of industry generated reports (self counted and self reported) of avian kills at wind facilities submitted to a voluntary data base please review:   Bird Study Canada

Freedom of information requests made by citizens in Ontario demonstrate industry reported kill rates are much worse: Bird-Bat-Mortality-SUMMARY

Journal for the Energy Transition|March 5, 2019|Benjamin Wehrmann

global flyways

Many migrating birds have learned to avoid potentially deadly wind turbines, but this behaviour equals a loss of habitat for the animals, researcher Ana Teresa Marques and others write in the Journal of Animal Ecology. “Soaring birds are among the most affected groups with alarming fatality rates by collision with wind turbines and an escalating occupation of their migratory corridors,” the researchers write. They equipped 130 migrating black kites with tracking devices to trace their travel routes at the migratory bottleneck of the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco — an area that is crucial for many bird species and which is also used for wind power production — and found that the animals fly about 700 metres around the turbines, effectively reducing the area available for the birds to migrate by up to 14 percent. “Authorities should recognise this further impact of wind energy production and establish new regulations that protect soaring habitat,” the researchers write.

Wind power in Germany has seen increasing resistance in recent years not least due to its possible negative effects on wildlife. Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) recently said that more attention had to be given to the impact of renewable power development on habitats and species. “An ecologically sound renewable roll-out is possible,” BfN president Beate Jessel said. Environmental NGO Nabu estimates about 100,000 birds in the country could be killed by rotor blades each year. To put this figure into perspective: Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) says that about 18 million birds in Germany die every year by crashing into windows.

Source: Journal for the Energy Transition

Griffon Vulture hit by wind turbine in Crete (Video Duration: 5 minutes 54 seconds)

Wind turbines cause functional habitat loss for migratory soaring birds

First published: 14 February 2019

Abstract

  1. Wind energy production has expanded to meet climate change mitigation goals, but negative impacts of wind turbines have been reported on wildlife. Soaring birds are among the most affected groups with alarming fatality rates by collision with wind turbines and an escalating occupation of their migratory corridors. These birds have been described as changing their flight trajectories to avoid wind turbines, but this behaviour may lead to functional habitat loss, as suitable soaring areas in the proximity of wind turbines will likely be underused.

  2. We modelled the displacement effect of wind turbines on black kites (Milvus migrans) tracked by GPS. We also evaluated the impact of this effect at the scale of the landscape by estimating how much suitable soaring area was lost to wind turbines.

  3. We used state‐of‐the‐art tracking devices to monitor the movements of 130 black kites in an area populated by wind turbines, at the migratory bottleneck of the Strait of Gibraltar. Landscape use by birds was mapped from GPS data using dynamic Brownian bridge movement models, and generalized additive mixed modelling was used to estimate the effect of wind turbine proximity on bird use while accounting for orographic and thermal uplift availability.

  4. We found that areas up to approximately 674 m away from the turbines were less used than expected given their uplift potential. Within that distance threshold, bird use decreased with the proximity to wind turbines. We estimated that the footprint of wind turbines affected 3%–14% of the areas suitable for soaring in our study area.

  5. We present evidence that the impacts of wind energy industry on soaring birds are greater than previously acknowledged. In addition to the commonly reported fatalities, the avoidance of turbines by soaring birds causes habitat losses in their movement corridors. Authorities should recognize this further impact of wind energy production and establish new regulations that protect soaring habitat. We also showed that soaring habitat for birds can be modelled at a fine scale using publicly available data. Such an approach can be used to plan low‐impact placement of turbines in new wind energy developments.

Protecting our children from Industrial Wind Power Emissions is our first priority!

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