Entries in wind turbine wildlife (5)

3/15/12 Bird and bat killers called out: Environmental groups put the heat on wind developers and the US Fish and Wildlife service


By Robert Bryce,

Source www.huffingtonpost.com 

March 15, 2012 

In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that the domestic wind turbines are killing about 440,000 birds per year. Since then, the wind industry has been riding a rapid growth spurt.

But that growth has slowed dramatically due to a tsunami of cheap natural gas and hefty taxpayer subsidies. Even worse: that cheap gas looks like it will last for many years, and Congress has, so far, been unwilling to extend the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy for wind operators that expires at the end of this year.

And now, the wind industry is facing yet another big challenge: increasing resistance from environmental groups who are concerned about the effect that unrestrained construction of wind turbines is having on birds and bats. Ninety environmental groups, led by the American Bird Conservancy, have signed onto the “bird-smart wind petition” which has been submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

It’s about time. Over the past two decades, the federal government has prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and electricity producers for violating some of America’s oldest wildlife-protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Eagle Protection Act. But the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — has never prosecuted the wind industry despite myriad examples of widespread, unpermitted bird kills by turbines. A violation of either law can result in a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for two years.

But amidst all the hoopla about “clean energy” the wind industry is being allowed to continue its illegal slaughter of some of America’s most precious wildlife. Even more perverse: taxpayers are subsidizing that slaughter.

Last June, Louis Sahagun, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, reported that about 70 golden eagles per year are being killed by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, located about 20 miles east of Oakland. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks — as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treat Act — are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.

A pernicious double standard is at work here and it riles Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who wrote the petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service for the American Bird Conservancy. He told me, “It’s absolutely clear that there’s been a mandate from the top” echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.

Glitzenstein comes to this issue from the left. Before forming his own law firm, he worked for Public Citizen, an organization created by Ralph Nader. But when it comes to wind energy, “Many environmental groups have been claiming that too few people are paying attention to the science of climate change, but some of those same groups are ignoring the science that shows wind energy’s negative impacts on bird and bat populations.”

That willful ignorance may be ending. The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife recently filed a lawsuit against officials in Kern County, California, in an effort to block the construction of two proposed wind projects — North Sky River and Jawbone — due to concerns about their impact on local bird populations. The groups oppose the projects because of their proximity to the deadly Pine Tree facility, which the Fish and Wildlife Service believes is killing 1,595 birds, or about 12 birds per megawatt of installed capacity, per year.

The only time a public entity has pressured the wind industry for killing birds occurred in 2010, when California brokered a $2.5 million settlement with NextEra Energy Resources for bird kills at Altamont. The lawyer on that case: former attorney general and current Gov. Jerry Brown, who’s now pushing the Golden State to get 33 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

Despite the toll that wind turbines are taking on wildlife, the wind industry wants to keep its get-out-of-jail-free card. Last May, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed new guidelines for wind turbine installations. But the American Wind Energy Association quickly panned the proposed rules as “unworkable.”

Billions of dollars are at stake. And the wind industry is eager to downplay the problem of bird and bat kills. But the issue, which clearly has the Obama administration in a tight spot, is not going away. The Sierra Club now favors mandatory rules for wind turbine siting.

And while wildlife protection is essential, the broader issue of equitable treatment under the law may be more important. For years, says Glitzenstein, the Interior Department has been telling the wind industry: “‘No matter what you do, you need not worry about being prosecuted.’ To me, that’s appalling public policy.”

Disclosure: Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, which over the past ten years, has obtained about 2.5 percent of its budget from the hydrocarbon sector.

11/8/11 400 foot wind turbines VS two-ounce songbirds. Guess who wins.


By Peter Shoenfeld, The Highlands Voice,

SOURCE West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, wvhighlands.org

November 7, 2011 

On October 1st and 2d, approximately 500 birds were killed in an accident at the new Laurel Mountain industrial wind facility, according to Division of Natural Resources Ornithologist Rich Bailey. The fatalities occurred by collision and exhaustion at the Laurel Mountain substation, where the lights were left on during foggy weather. Over thirty species of mixed migratory songbirds were included, primarily blackpoll warblers. A Green Heron was also a victim and is mentioned here to emphasize the general nature of this avian threat. DNR may recommend that lights be turned off there in the time period August 1 through November 1, or an even broader length of time.

The birds were found October 3 by AES staff and reported to contractor Stantec, who took main responsibility going forward, including notification of Division of Natural Resources and United States Fish and Wildlife Service that day.

DNR expects to have a press release on this matter in early November, five weeks or more after the actual event. A detailed report from Stantec to USFWS is available on the incident, subsequent recoveries, and mortality from the USFWS field office in Elkins as we go to press November 1. This is the most thorough narrative currently available. Developer/Operator AES has chosen to remain directly silent about the event, as has the Elkins Intermountain who was notified weeks ago. The story was covered by the Charleston Gazette.

A similar event occurred at the nearby Mountaineer Wind Facility on May 22-23, 2003. Unusually heavy fog enshrouded the region the night of the 22d and persisted until the afternoon of the 23d. Bright sodium vapor lights were left on at a substation and an estimated 33 songbirds were killed by collisions.

There was also a major bird kill due to excess lighting in fog at Tucker County High School, just down the road from Mountaineer on September 29, 2008. About 500 birds were killed, most of them warblers.

Other similar events have been documented in West Virginia at least twice in the not too distant past.

Through their short collective memory and other failings, the wind facility operators are fast earning a reputation as unfit stewards of the little bit of nature left after their developments are complete.

Early on the morning of September 29, 2008, a large bird kill at the Tucker County High School near Hambleton, West Virginia, was reported to Division of Natural Resources personnel. DNR Wildlife Resources Section (WRS) biologists, along with conservation officers, representatives from the Tucker County Health Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the report and found evidence of a large bird strike at the school.

Officials recovered 501 birds representing 31 species at the site. Seven birds recovered and were released alive. The remaining 494 specimens were collected and identified by WRS biologists. More than 80 percent of the birds were warblers. Bird banders from the Allegheny Front Migratory Observatory and Powdermill Nature Reserve verified the identifications.

Officials collected the majority of the birds along or near the outside walls of the school and from the school roof. Some specimens were also collected from the adjacent parking areas and athletic field. All evidence was consistent with a large scale collision event. Initial speculation suggested that disease and/or poisoning caused the deaths, but no evidence supports this claim.

Additionally, as part of standard procedure, officials from the West Virginia Department of Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture tested sample specimens for both West Nile Virus and Avian Influenza. All samples tested negative for both diseases. An additional sample was sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Athens, Georgia, for necropsy. All specimens examined at this facility exhibited trauma consistent with a bird strike, including extensive hemorrhage, and fractured skulls, wings and legs.

Officials from the WRS and the USFWS are working with the Tucker County School Board of Education and Allegheny Power to remedy the situation at the Tucker County High School. They will modify existing lighting to make the site less attractive to migratory birds. The site will be monitored for additional mortality for the remaining 2008 migratory period and this monitoring effort is planned to continue into future years.

In the case of bird kill at Laurel Mountain industrial wind facility it is unclear what the response will be. Because of the public silence of the Developer/Operator AES it is unclear what steps it has taken or will take to investigate the kill as well as what steps it plans to prevent future incidents.

The peak of neotropical songbird migration occurs in late September and early October and is concentrated along mountain ridges. Large bird strikes like the Tucker County High School event are not uncommon throughout North America during this time frame.

Events like these occur when several environmental conditions occur simultaneously in proximity to a lighted man-made structure. These conditions typically include dense fog, southerly winds and a dome of artificial light surrounding a structure. The event can be further amplified by a period of rain prior to the event that concentrates birds by delaying migration.

This was the case with the Tucker County event. Three days of rain prior to September 29 were followed by a passing cold front that generated southerly winds and ideal migration conditions. These birds headed south, encountered dense fog along Backbone Mountain, were attracted by the dome of light surrounding the school, became disoriented, and began to circle the structure, crashing into windows and the outside walls. Some birds may have died from exhaustion from constant circling.

Similar events have been documented in West Virginiain the past. Forty birds of 14 species died on October 5, 1999, in Monterville in Randolph County; and at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County on October 15, 1985, officials collected 1,336 birds of 30 species.

7/26/11 Wind developers VS Eagles in Minnesota: How green is a Eagle killing machine?




July 26, 2011

By Trisha Volpe

GOODHUE COUNTY, Minn. -- Next to the crops, an environmental debate is growing in Goodhue County farm country - green energy on one side and saving wildlife on the other.

"Like a lot of farmers in the area, it's pretty deep in tradition," says local dairy farmer Bruce McNamara.

The McNamara farm has been in the area for 60 years. Bruce and his wife Marie are now worried about what could happen to their land and the birds they share it with, when a wind turbine project moves forward.

"Energy facilities should be sited in an orderly manner and they're clustered right over eagles' nests," says Marie, who is also a member of a local citizens group against a project to build wind turbines in the area.

The developer, AWA Goodhue Wind, plans to build 50 to 60 wind turbines over several thousand acres. Some residents and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are concerned the turbines will interfere with eagles nesting and feeding. There are at least four confirmed nests in the area according to fish and wildlife officials.

"The issue we're more concerned about is the birds flying into them and being killed," says Mags Rheude of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The developer says it's done everything possible to protect the eagles and doesn't believe their travel patterns bring the birds in the path of the turbines. The company has conducted several environmental studies, many still ongoing.

"We're probably 150 hours field time watching and monitoring eagle movements," says Ron Peterson, Director of Environmental Services for Westwood, the environmental consultant working with Goodhue.

Company officials say the issue may be about more than just eagles. Many landowners have bought into the project and turbines will be located on their farms.

"People who aren't participating or benefitting financially... don't want to look at them or listen to them if they're close enough to them," says Peterson.

The project has the go-ahead from the Public Utilities Commission, but in order to receive its permit Goodhue Wind has to conduct more studies and come up with a bird and bat management plan.

Goodhue hopes to start construction on the turbines by the end of the year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recommending a two mile buffer zone between turbines and the eagles.


 The photo below was found on the Westwood Land and Energy Development Consultants website where the 'company biologist' Ron Peterson (mentioned in the previous article) is said to work. Wind companies often employ the services of one-stop-shopping 'consulting' firms like Westwood. The caption for the photo below reads: "We've been dancing through the years!"

Photo from Westwood Land and Energy Website

5/13/11 Hello Windmills, Bye Bye Birdie, Dirty Shame: What happened to those woods when the turbine came? AND Not THAT kind of green, the other kind: Buying the right to kill, harm and harass endangered species AND Another problem for wind developers to laugh about AND Say no to turbines and see how fast the word NIMBY comes at you

Short-eared owls disappearing from island


May 13, 2011

By Paul Schliesmann

The short-eared owl, listed as a species of special concern in Canada, has all but disappeared from the west end of Wolfe Island.

A noted Kingston-area birder says the decline has everything to do with the construction and startup of wind turbines on that part of the island two years ago.

"They're definitely avoiding the area," said Kurt Hennige, who has been watching and documenting the short-eared populations on Wolfe Island for more than 25 years.

The owls specifically congregated on the northwest corner of the island because of an abundance of their favourite food — meadow voles. As well as being a favourite hunting ground, short-eareds also winter there.

"Now we see that where the most windmills are, we hardly see any short-eareds," said Hennige.

"We weren't studying this specific to windmills … the area where they were common, the short-eared owls were displaced from the heavy area where the windmills are. They've moved to the east end.

"That's a threatened species."

Two years ago, an 86-turbine wind farm opened on the western half of Wolfe Island, built on leased properties.

The facility is owned and operated by Calgary-based Trans­Alta, which purchased it from Canadian Hydro Developers.

Hennige said that part of the island, along with Amherst Island, has consistently offered one of the most important hunting and nesting grounds available to short-eareds in all of North America.

"I have seen up to 30 birds feeding in a small area," he said. "They're very social birds. Up to 30 or 40 can roost in one area."

Hennige is affiliated with the Kingston Field Naturalists, a volunteer organization that has been documenting bird sightings in the region for decades.

Two years ago, he began assisting Kristen Keyes, a student from McGill University, with her thesis on short-eared owls.

The absence of the birds on Wolfe Island became instantly apparent to Hennige.

He insists, however, that the disappearance of the owls should come as no surprise. For several years, birder friends in Mexico have documented similar findings where turbines have been installed in large numbers.

"They learned years ago it's not the migrating birds that get killed, it's the residential birds that can no longer use the feeding area," said Hennige.

A report released by TransAlta in January showed about 22 raptors were killed by wind turbines on Wolfe Island from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.

The company pledged to find ways to reduce the raptor death count.

In the same time period, an estimated 1,151 birds were killed along with 1,720 bats.

Hennige said that from his recent observations, it appears all 10 of the resident red-tailed hawks were victims.

Despite all of the information gathered over the years by the Kingston Field Naturalists, he said, none of it was used by the companies that sited the wind turbines.

Hennige suspects that the staggered alignment of the 80-metre towers, with their 93-metre diameter blades, has contributed to the large hawk kill numbers.

"If the whole population is gone, to me that's pretty bad. Maybe with good placement of the windmills it could have been avoided," he said.

Hennige believes it's possible for industry and scientists to work together to avoid similar environmental degradation.

He holds up his own special project, reclaiming habitat in the Napanee area for the endangered loggerhead shrike, as a case in point.

When it was learned that solar electricity company SunEdison wanted to install a massive panel project in that area, Hennige and Wildlife Preservation Canada pushed the company to consider the shrikes' needs.

By avoiding a certain area of the property critical to its survival, the shrike appears to be thriving — growing from four pairs last year to seven this year.

"You can have solar farms and you can have shrikes," said Hennige. "It took a bit to get them convinced. We had to explain why they should not build on the front of the property.

"They often buy more land than they're using anyway."

Hennige said it will take further study to determine if the east end of Wolfe Island can sustain the short-eared owl population.

His concern is that Amherst Island, the other popular spot for the owls in this area, could also be threatened by a proposed wind farm there.

The eastern end of Lake Ontario, encompassing Kingston and the islands, is considered a globally significant migratory route.

"If you put a lot of windmills there, where can they go?" he asked.

"We have sensitive habitat that needs protecting. I have no issue with green technology, but it needs to be scientifically done."


READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE: The Chronicle, vdigger.org

May 13, 2011 by Chris Braithwaite of

Calling it “an obscene abuse of our environment,” Vermonters for a Clean Environment says erosion at the Sheffield wind energy development is threatening sensitive streams and their fish populations.

The group has posted dozens of photos, taken at the site over the past nine days, which it says document violations of a storm water runoff permit obtained by the developer, First Wind, from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The state says First Wind has not violated its permit. The developer is in the middle of constructing 16 turbines in Sheffield.

First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne says that when state inspectors visited the site Friday, May 6, “they were happy with the site and said it was in compliance with the permit.”

David Mears, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, said he had a quick briefing Monday morning with department officials who inspected the site on Friday. He said the section of the site where gravel roads had been completed to wind turbine sites that had been cleared and leveled “appears to be fully compliant with the permit.”

In a second part of the site, Mears said, “they’re still doing forestry work, cutting the trees.”

That portion is subject to a lower level of storm water runoff regulation, Mears said, “the same as any forestry project.”

There are some deficiencies in that area, Mears said. “But none appeared to have resulted in any harm to the waters of the state.”

Some areas which posed a risk to streams were pointed out to a First Wind representative, who agreed to correct them, Mears said.

“We’ll continue to monitor and evaluate the site,” the commissioner added. But at the moment, he said, DEC plans no further action.

Annette Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment said the photos show “hundreds and hundreds” of feet of roads that were never stabilized when the site was shut down last fall.

“We’re talking about multiple failures here,” she added. “The sediment is running off into trout streams.”

Paul Brouha of Sutton, a member of the Ridge Protectors, a group that opposed the wind project and fought the storm water runoff permit in the state Environmental Court, accused Mears of splitting hairs by distinguishing between First Wind’s finished site work and the logging portion of its operation.

Ridge Protectors is currently appealing the permit to the state Supreme Court.

“What we’re after here is natural resource protection,” Brouha said. “I would say there’s been a large amount of erosion, and water has carried that soil into the streams, especially the tributaries of Calendar Brook.”

“We’ve got resource damage,” Brouha continued, “and more will occur if the site is not stabilized. That sediment flows into the Calendar Brook Wildlife Management Area.”

Calendar Brook is a native brook trout fishery, Brouha said. “It will be affected by that sediment. Fish and vertebrate habitat will be reduced in quality and quantity.”

Smith said First Wind should be subject to the sort of fine imposed on Jay Peak in 2007, after heavy rains washed pollution into streams from a golf course the resort was building. After considerable negotiation with the state, Jay Peak agreed to a fine of $105,000.



May 13 2011

By Mike Crawley

What the company is applying for is a permit that would allow it to “kill, harm and harass” two endangered species — Blanding’s turtle and the whippoorwill.

A Toronto-based wind power company is proposing to build a green energy project on the shores of Lake Ontario, but building the project could threaten two endangered species.

Gilead Resources would have the legal right to kill the two species — if the province approves the new proposal.

What the company is applying for is a permit that would allow it to “kill, harm and harass” two endangered species — Blanding’s turtle and the whippoorwill.

Gilead wants to build a wind farm on the shoreline in Prince Edward County. But the location is designated an “important bird area” and the endangered turtle nests there, as well.

Anne Bell of Nature Ontario says her group supports green energy but only so far. “We have to keep good projects out of bad locations,” said Bell, “and this is exactly what we’ve got here.”

The final decision rests with Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey who says that “for the most part we can find ways to mitigate around endangered species reasonably, so that the species continues, and continues to thrive.”

But Myrna Wood, a resident in nearby Picton says she “just cannot believe the government will do this. None of us here can, we’re all astounded.”

But Jeffery counters that the “ministry has to find a balance between protection and allowing economic development — no matter what the species.”

In an email statement the company says it will do its best to mitigate the harm to the birds and turtles. It says it will create new nesting habitat and will build the project in winter, when the wildlife aren’t around.

Next Story


READ ENTIRE STORY AT SOURCE: New Scientist, www.newscientist.com

May 12, 2011 J

Jeff Hecht

Sonar’s effect on marine mammals has been a hot-button topic for years, and recent research shows that loud sounds damage the balance organs of cephalopods.

But we also should worry about the potential effect of lower-level, constant noise on fish, Arthur Popper of the University of Maryland in College Park will warn the Acoustical Society of America at a meeting in Seattle, Washington, later this month.

Navy sonar, acoustic guns used in seismic exploration and pile driving can produce sound levels of 180 decibels in water. These sounds can seriously affect nearby marine animals. For instance, injuries or distress caused by such intense sounds have been blamed for the beaching of cetaceans. They can also drive whales from their feeding grounds. But the loud noises don’t last long, so uninjured individuals can swim away until they stop.

But what if they don’t stop? This is Popper’s concern: the constant lower levels of noise from shipping or offshore wind farms can increase background noise by 10 decibels over a very large area. Although this noise is less intense than sonar, Popper says that long-term exposure to this constant rumble stresses fish. Experiments have shown that exposure to recorded ship noise increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in fish.

The constant din may have other repercussions. Another experiment showed that recorded ship noise blocked Lusitanian toadfish from hearing sounds produced by others of their species. The extra noise can also prevent fish from hearing natural sounds that alert them to predators or prey.

Imagine living near a busy highway to understand how a busy shipping lane or an offshore wind farm might affect fish. Like highway noise, low-level machinery noise can be relentless.

The effects have not been well studied, but Popper suspects they may be serious. “It’s very hard to do experiments in the lab,” he told New Scientist, because the laboratory environment itself stresses fish enough to obscure the effects of several decibels of noise. He’s giving his talk primarily to increase awareness, he says. “We need to be doing some very critical experiments to understand long-term effects on animals on the wild.”

[Also see:  "Low-frequency sounds induce acoustic trauma in cephalopods" by Michel André, Marta Solé, Marc Lenoir, Mercè Durfort, Carme Quero, Alex Mas, Antoni Lombarte, Mike van der Schaar, Manel López-Bejar, Maria Morell, Serge Zaugg, and Ludwig Houégnigan, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2011, doi:10.1890/100124]


READ FULL STORY AT THE SOURCE: Citizen's Neews, www.mycitizensnews.com

May 12, 2011

by Laraine Weschler

NEW BRITAIN – After months of research and over $100,000 spent on legal fees and experts, the hard work has finally paid off for members of Save Prospect who fought to protect what they saw as their quality of life.

The Connecticut Siting Council voted 6-2 on May 12 to deny BNE Energy’s petition to build two 1.6 megawatt commercial wind turbines in Prospect.

Despite health and safety concerns from the project’s opponents, the decision turned on visual impacts.

The two, 463 foot turbines would be visible from 50 residences year-round and 248 residences seasonally.

“Given the mass of the turbine towers, the height of the turbine hubs, the height and rotation of the blades and lack of an effective means of visual mitigation, the Council finds a substantial adverse visual impact sufficient to deny the proposed project,” wrote the council in its opinion.

After the vote, opponents of the Wind Prospect project in the audience applauded.

“We’re very happy,” said Fred Bonyai, who lives near the proposed site. “I didn’t believe it would ever happen because I thought it was a done deal. I guess the council listened to us and the made the right decision.”

Tim Rielly, President of Save Prospect Corp. said the council did the right thing.

“It’s nice to see a small group of people who fight for their cause against big government and end up winning,” Reilly said.

He said he looked forward to being able to hang out in his back yard and leave the windows open at night without having to worry about the noise and sight of the turbines.

“To us now, the American dream is still alive,” Reilly said.

Rich Sargeant, who lives about 1,700 feet away from the site on Radio Tower Road, said it was astonishing to see a simulation of how big the turbines would look from his front door.

“We’re not looking to stop wind energy in Connecticut. We just want to have it done correctly so people aren’t adversely affected,” Sargeant said.

Even though the council sited visual impact as the main reason they denied the petition, Reilly said he still believes that noise could have a health impact.

Sargeant agreed that the noise was still a big concern. He said he didn’t believe BNE’s noise studies were very accurate, especially at night, when the wind blows the hardest and people are trying to sleep.

Sargeant said the site tour and listening to residents at public hearings in Prospect had a big impact on the council’s decision.

Representatives from BNE said they were disappointed with the council’s decision.

“It’s troubling that the Siting Council would shoot down a wind project because people don’t want to see them off in the distance,” said BNE Chairman Paul Corey.

BNE President and CEO Gregory Zupkus said the council’s decision was a major blow to the future of wind energy in Connecticut.

“This is a real bad message sent to renewable energy,” Zupkus said.

Even though the Prospect project was denied, Zupkus said he is still optimistic that his company’s two other petitions for wind projects in Colebrook will be accepted.

“There’s no denying that wind energy is the right energy source for the future. The question just becomes is whether Connecticut can accept it and make it a part of Connecticut’s future.”

After over 250 fact findings in favor of the project, Zupkus said it was a shame it was rejected because people don’t want to look at the turbines.

Zupkus, who lives in Prospect, said many of his neighbors supported the project.

“This is just a small NIMBY anti-wind crowd that disagree with it,” Zupkus said.

BNE representatives said they didn’t want to comment on whether they would appeal the case.

Several members of the council expressed their understanding of the complexities of the issue and difficulty in making a decision.

They said their decision only applied to the unique characteristics of the Prospect proposal.

“I don’t want this to be an end of wind turbine projects in Connecticut,” said council member Daniel Lynch.

Brian Golembiewski, designee of the Department of Environmental Protection, said a smaller scale project could still be viable on the site.
One of two dissenting voters, Ken Braffman, designee of Department of Public Utility Control, said the proposal is in accordance with the law as it is now, even if it’s not how the council wished it would be.

The other dissenting vote, Council Chair Robert Stein said that the issues and resident’s concerns have to be balance against legal requirements.

“I feel this project should be approved,” he said.

He said he looked at whom and what the Council was trying to protect, how serious the issues were, how many people would be impacted, how frequently, and what mitigation was possible.

In the case of ice throw, Stein said that although it was a potentially serious threat, mitigation made the likelihood of it hurting anyone highly improbable.

The council found that the project would not produce any air emissions or greenhouse gas, have no adverse impact on water quality, would not disturb wetlands and would not adversely impact birds. In the council’s opinion, shadow flicker is a potential annoyance rather than a health threat and could be mitigated using greenery and blinds.

The council’s opinion did state that noise is a serious concern, but that the project would meet Connecticut DEP allowable limits. However, the council noted that some health professionals are challenging the adequacy of state regulations and that mitigation of noise issues would be difficult and costly.

After brushing aside most of the issues brought up in the case, they only one left was visual impact. The council found that the turbines would be visible from many homes and attract attention because of their movement. Although BNE said it would plant trees along the property line to help shield the sight of the turbines from their neighbors, the council found such mitigation would not be effective.

Stein said that even though some people had described the turbines’ size as monstrous, visual impact does not affect health or safety.

On the other side, council member Philip Ashton said he was very worried about the impact of the turbines on surrounding neighborhoods. He said he was very much aware of the precedent the council would be setting in the Wind Prospect decision.

“We all felt an obligation to do it right the first time,” Ashton said.

Council Vice-Chair Colin Tait recused himself from the vote as per BNE’s request because he is involved in a group opposed to the wind projects in Colebrook. He said he had been impartial, but wanted to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Another request for Council Chair Robert Stein to abstain because he came into the process late, replacing former Chair Daniel Caruso, was denied. Stein said he’d done his homework, read all the transcripts, and did not have any pre-judge position.

5/6/11 The 'rare' occurance that keeps happening: Shattered turbine blade in DeKalb IL wind project AND Down Under it's the same as Up Over: Wind turbine health concerns AND Wind Turbines are (NOT) for the birds AND Dirty green deal: Lawsuit filed against major turbine maker



May 6, 2011

By Caitlin Mullen

SHABBONA – Officials with NextEra Energy said a broken blade on a wind turbine has been removed and the cause of the shattered blade will be investigated. With weight limits on county and township roads this spring, NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel said Thursday that the company had to wait until those weight postings were removed before a large truck with a crane could drive on the roads to get to the blade, at Shabbona Road between Keslinger and Gurler roads.

The DeKalb County Highway Department removed its spring road posting signs for county roads April 8, which had restricted traffic weighing more than 33,000 pounds, County Engineer Bill Lorence said.

Stengel, who said broken blades occur occasionally, with one happening in May 2010, said the blade was removed in the last 1½ weeks. It shattered in mid-March. The company has operated 145 turbines in DeKalb and Lee counties since late 2009. A group of local residents called Citizens for Open Government is opposed to the wind farm and is suing to have it shut down


READ ENTIRE ARTICLE AT SOURCE: Stock & Land, sl.farmonline.com.au

May 6, 2011

Alan Dick

A doctor campaigning on the claimed health impacts of wind farms has called for a halt to construction of wind turbines within 10 kilometres of housing until independent research is conducted.

She said research was needed, particularly on the impact of infrasound – sound below the level of normal human hearing.

Dr Sarah Laurie, medical director at the Waubra Foundation, made the call in her submission to the inquiry by the Senate Community Affairs Committee into the social and economic impact of rural wind farms.

(The Waubra Foundation was formed to generate independent research on the health effects of wind farms, in response to reported problems associated with the Waubra wind farm near Ballarat, Victoria.)

The inquiry has received almost 900 submissions and become a battleground of competing views on the value of and need for wind farms and on health impacts.

Many submissions from landholders speak of negative health effects.

But other landholders, wind farm developers and “green” organisations have talked up the need for wind farms as alternatives to burning of fossil fuels in electricity generation, and some landholders hosting wind turbines have emphasised their benign nature and the importance of the guaranteed income they provide.

Dr Laurie told the committee numerous doctors around the world who had conducted studies on their patient populations had reported health problems since wind farms started operating near their homes.

“There is absolutely no doubt these turbines, particularly at some developments, are making nearby residents very sick, and that their symptoms worsen over time.”

“This is resulting in people abandoning their homes and farms, if they can afford to.”

Dr Laurie said the “strong hypothesis” among concerned doctors, acousticians, physiologists, physicists, psychologists and others around the world was that one of the mechanisms causing ill health was low frequency sound and infrasound.

She said episodes of sleep disturbance and waking in a panicked state were being experienced by people living up to 10 kilometres from existing wind developments in South Australia and NSW.

She said research was needed to measure infrasound concurrent with indices such as sleep and blood pressure in affected residents when turbines were operating, and to compare results when the turbines were not operating.

However, wind farm companies and others, including the Australian Psychological Society, have dismissed suggestions of negative health effects from wind farms.

The latter in its submission said the Senate committee should take into consideration the “robust evidence base” which suggested wind farms did not present any major health risk,

The APS said local opposition to wind farms could be understood in terms of “place protective action”, and recommended use of “psychological principles” to explain and promote the benefits of wind farms.

The NSW Government in its submission said the World Health organisation had concluded there was no reliable evidence that sounds beneath the hearing threshold produced physiological or psychological effects.

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READ ENTIRE ARTICLE AT THE SOURCE: The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk

May 6, 2011

By Charlene Wilson,

A Fife falconry could be forced to close if plans for three wind turbines on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy take flight.

Robin Manson, who works at Elite Falconry, which has been based at Cluny since 1998, said the business would not survive if the plan goes ahead, as the area would no longer be safe for the facility’s 37 birds to take to the skies.

The proposals for three 300ft wind turbines at Begg Farm, on an area of land parallel to the A92, have yet to be submitted to Fife Council but were brought to the attention of Mr Manson and Elite Falconry owners Roxanne Peggie and Barry Blyther by concerned community council members.

Mr Manson said, “We feel quite let down because the company behind the proposal, I and H Brown Ltd, have not given us any information about it or made contact with us about these plans yet they are planning on doing something pretty much on our doorstep that they must realise will be at the detriment of our business.

“Here at our centre we train hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures and owls to fly and behave in a trained and controlled state while retaining their natural instincts and behaviour, however they will simply not be able to fly if there are wind turbines nearby — it would be too dangerous for them because when a bird flies into a turbine, it is sure to either die instantly or suffer a slow, agonising death.

“We take great pride in our work at the centre and when you have birds worth potentially around £6000 it’s simply not an option for them to fly near such a dangerous hazard.”

Mr Manson said although the safety of the birds is his main concern, he also thinks the turbines would be a blight on the town’s landscape.

He said, “I’ve seen a computer-generated image of what they are expected to look like and they completely dominate the skyline of Kirkcaldy and basically just look like an eyesore.

“I am actually a qualified architect and did some investigations into wind turbines as part of my studies and I know that to put three on the site in question would be of no benefit to the community, only the landowner.

‘Hard to recycle’

“I’ve done a lot of research on the issue and when wind turbines first came out 10-15 years ago in places like Germany they were very popular, however now the same people who put them up are taking them down as it has come to light that, ironically, they could be bad for the environment long-term due to the material they are made of being very hard to recycle.”

“Also they only last for around 20 years and are very expensive to manufacture so it takes a long time before any profit is made on each one, which, it could be argued, almost defeats the purpose.

“The bottom line is Elite Falconry has been here for 13 years and we have built up a good reputation in the area but if these turbines go up, we will be forced to close.”

As well as visiting schools and putting on displays, the centre has the responsibility of trying to breed golden eagles by mating its two resident birds — among only a handful in the UK able to breed naturally.

There are also other birds in breeding programmes, with the latest egg hatching being that of a tiny baby falcon, and eight great grey owl eggs due to hatch in a month.

A spokesman for I and H Brown Ltd said they welcomed public feedback regarding their plans and that ornithology would be one of a range of subjects covered and taken into account in their environmental impact assessment.

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READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE: Northern Colorado Business Report, www.ncbr.com

May 6, 2011

By Steve Porter

The lawsuit, filed March 18, alleges that four of Vestas’ top officers – Bent Erik Carlsen, chairman of the board; Ditlev Engel, president and CEO; Henrik Norremark, executive vice president and CFO; and Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas Americas – deliberately made false and misleading statements in press releases and financial reports.

DENVER – Vestas Wind Systems, one of Northern Colorado’s biggest employers with manufacturing facilities in Windsor and Brighton and another in Pueblo, is facing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver over accounting practices.

The suit alleges the company posted misleading information about its 2010 earnings that resulted in financial losses to pension fund investors and others who purchased Vestas stock based on the information.

The lawsuit was filed by the City of Sterling Heights (Mich.) General Employees’ Retirement System and accuses Vestas and some of its chief officers and directors with violations of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The suit alleges that, during the “class period” between Oct. 27, 2009, and Oct. 25, 2010, the defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the company’s financial revenues and earnings, as well as its fiscal year 2010 financial guidance.

As a result of those alleged actions, the lawsuit contends that Vestas’ American Depository Receipts and ordinary shares traded at artificially inflated prices throughout the time period.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to be determined by the court. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking other Vestas investors who purchased securities during the class period to join in the suit.

Those involved with filing the lawsuit, including Darren Robbins of San Diego-based Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd LLP, did not return telephone calls for this story. Walt Hessel, pension fund administrator for the City of Sterling Heights, about 20 miles northeast of Detroit, also declined to comment.
“We have ongoing litigation so it’s not appropriate for us to comment at all,” Hessel said, although he did acknowledge that about 500 active and retired employees are included in the pension fund.

Chief officers singled out

The lawsuit, filed March 18, alleges that four of Vestas’ top officers – Bent Erik Carlsen, chairman of the board; Ditlev Engel, president and CEO; Henrik Norremark, executive vice president and CFO; and Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas Americas – deliberately made false and misleading statements in press releases and financial reports.

“These claims are asserted against Vestas and its officers and chairman of the board who disseminated materially false and misleading statements during the class period in the company’s financial reports, press releases and analyst conference calls,” the lawsuit states.

“Because of their positions with the company, and their access to material non-public information available to them but not to the public, the individual defendants knew that the adverse facts alleged herein had not been disclosed to, and were being concealed from, market participants and that the positive representations being made were then materially false and misleading,” the suit further states.

According to the suit, Vestas failed to implement a new accounting policy that was to go into effect no later than Jan. 1, 2010. It would no longer allow the company to recognize revenues from wind projects that were contracted or under construction but instead must be deferred until the installation was complete.

The new policy, known as IFRIC 15, was not implemented by Vestas until Nov. 22, the suit alleges.

The suit states that on Aug. 17, Vestas issued its second quarter 2010 results and “downwardly revised its 2010 financial outlook for revenue and earnings, admitting that hundreds of millions of Euros of wind systems contracts expected to be recognized in 2010 – particularly in the United States – must be deferred.”

“As such, the company decreased its 2010 revenue guidelines from $7 billion Euros to $6 billion” Euros because “revenue associated with firm and unconditional orders could not be recognized during fiscal 2010,” according to the suit. It also noted that market reaction to the Aug. 17 disclosure was “swift and punitive,” with the value of both its ADRs and ordinary shares dropping by 22.5 percent in one day.

Defendants benefitted?

The lawsuit further alleges Vestas admitted on Oct. 26 that it had failed to implement IFRIC 15 and that its 2010 financial statement would require corrective action.

The suit says that “after defendants’ fraud was revealed and absorbed by the market, investors sold their Vestas securities in mass, reducing the price of the company’s securities by 57 percent from their class period high.”

The lawsuit contends that the actions by Vestas’ officers “allowed the top officers and director of Vestas to obtain millions of Euros in salary and incentive-based compensation during the class period.”

Vestas spokesman Peter Kruse issued a statement saying the company would fight the lawsuit. “The company has reviewed the complaint with its legal and other advisers and believes that the complaint is without merit. The company and the individual defendants intend to defend themselves vigorously.”

When called for a follow-up comment, Kruse said he had “nothing to add to the statement of March 21.”

As of May 2, Vestas had not filed a reply to the lawsuit.

Vestas reported in February that it had received a total of 15 North American orders for wind turbines in 2010, a record for the company that employs about 1,600 people in Colorado.