Wednesday, July 12, 2006

War Against Wind

In case we haven't noticed, there is a civil war going on over industrial wind power. While it might appear to be a local issue, it is not. It is a worldwide issue. It is a highly political issue. And it is a personal issue to each and every one of us who cares about our planet and the other beings who share it with us.

As a wildlife advocate and the Founder and President of Wildcare Inc./Hudson Valley Raptor Center (est. 1982) I have intimately witnessed the horrendous effects and suffering of man's impact on wildlife and the environment.

Injured eagles, hawks, owls and other raptors have come to me unjustifiably injured and dying from gunshot wounds, pesticides and collisions with our man made buildings, vehicles and power lines. They have been entangled in barbed wire, smothered in soot and oil, trapped in leg-hold traps, attacked by our domestic pets and injured and/or orphaned when their nest trees have been cut down or destroyed by tractors. Seventy to ninety percent of birds of prey die in their first year. So the ones that manage to beat the odds are incredibly strong and fit to survive to old age. But even so, 99% of the injuries and deaths I have seen were either a direct or indirect result of their innocent encounters with man.

Working in a wildlife emergency ward for over twenty-five years, attempting to save these beautiful lives and release them back to the wild from whence they came has been an enormous struggle, frustration and heartbreak.

Just as in the human community, it is often the emergency room doctors who are the first to see the causes of human mortality, abuse and injury, the wildlife emergency 'doctors' see the same early warning signs in their patients and attempt to sound the alarm.

Industrial Wind power plants kill birds. And they are decimating endangered populations of eagles, bats and birds.

White-tailed Eagle population devastated by Norway Wind Farm


"Wind farm 'hits eagle numbers' Wind farm turbine blades are killing a key population of Europe's largest bird of prey, UK wildlife campaigners warn. The RSPB says nine white-tailed eagles have been killed on the Smola islands off the Norwegian coast in 10 months, including all of last year's chicks.Chick numbers at the species' former stronghold have plummeted since the wind farm was built, with breeding pairs at the site down from 19 to one.

Scientists fear wind farms planned elsewhere could also harm birds.

And there are fears Britain's small population of the birds could be adversely affected.

Fewer chicks

The number of chicks born each year at the site has fallen from at least 10 to three last year, with births outside the borders of the site falling too.The impact of wind farms has long been a concern or ornithologists Only one chick is expected to fledge from the site this year.

Smola, a set of islands 10km (six miles) off the north-west coast of Norway, was designated an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International in 1989 because it had one of the highest densities of white-tailed eagles in the world.Scientists now fear wind farms planned for the rest of Norway could have a similar impact on the birds.

RSPB conservation director Mark Avery told BBC News more care needed to be taken when choosing a site for wind farms. He said: "The problem is if wind farms are put in stupid places where there are lots of vulnerable birds and lots of vulnerable rare birds."

Rest of story HERE

There are those who say that it is worth the sacrifice of eagles to curb our dependency on foreign oil, fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions in the environment. There are those who say birds suffer greater mortality at the claws of cats than they do the blades of wind turbines. And there are those who say the wildlife sacrifice now will help the wildlife later.

But there are also those who say we do not need to destroy our precious wildlife, habitats and breath-taking mountains, plains and shores in order to save them. I am one of them

The lead photo, courteousy of Andy Chapman of Australia, is of a fatally injured Wedge-tailed Eagle (click on photo for larger image and/or go to the Industrial Wind Action Group for this full description reprinted below):

Wedge-tailed Eagle Mortality at Starfish Hill
Credits: Parawa Ag. Bureau via Ammun Luca of the Eagle Hawk Action Group

"This Wedge-tailed Eagle was found by a group on a visit to the 23 turbine Starfish Hill wind farm in September 2003. It was taken to a Vet who discovered it had so many broken bones and internal injuries that it had to be put down. Two weeks later a second Wedge-tailed Eagle was killed at the same wind farm. This one was found with its head cut off. A third Wedge-tailed Eagle has since been killed. A Wedge-tailed Eagle was killed at Woolnorth in Tasmania and another at Codrington in the western district. Numerous other birds have been killed at these wind farms. The following link is to a related Eagle Hawk Action Group press release"

Please join us in stopping the killing.

There are so many more effective ways to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions in our environment. All we need to do is to care and to have the political will to let our voices be raised, heard and heeded.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


CAA highlights wind turbine perils

By David Learmount in London

Wind turbines, especially many grouped in a wind farm, can wipe out the effectiveness of primary and secondary radar surveillance systems and radio navigation aids, says the UK Civil Aviation Authority. In a report, the agency calls on the government to require those responsible for siting wind turbines to consider aviation safety as well as other issues.

“The development of wind turbines has the potential to cause a variety of effects on aviation,” says the CAA report. “These range from physical safeguarding [turbines as tall obstacles], generation of unwanted returns on primary radar, affecting the performance and propagation of secondary surveillance radar [SSR], navigation aids and communication facilities, through to consideration of [air] turbulence. It should be noted that wind turbines do not in themselves cause electromagnetic interference.”

There are multiple ways in which wind turbines can interfere with radar surveillance, especially if they are in groups, in radar line of sight, and located within 28km (15nm) or less of the radar head. According to the CAA the types of interference include:

Swamping the receivers: this refers to primary radar, and occurs when “the bulk of the wind turbine structure may reflect sufficient energy to swamp any reflected energy of aircraft in the same area”.
Defeating moving target processing: “If the rotating wind turbine blades are within or close to the radar line of sight, then the Doppler shift in reflected energy from the blades may defeat any moving target processing and display the blades as targets or tracks that could be mistaken for aircraft.”
Presenting an obstruction: “If the wind turbines are within radar line of sight and aircraft are required to be detected at longer range behind the wind turbines then the following two effects may occur: obstruction – aircraft detection is lost in the shadow of the wind turbines; and diffraction – partial obscuring of the aircraft radar reflections by the wind turbines causes azimuth errors at the radar [so] the aircraft can be displayed in a skewed position, or appears to jitter in position as it passes behind multiple blades.”
SSR reflections: “SSR energy may be reflected off the structures in both the uplink and downlink directions. This can result in aircraft, which are in a different direction to the way the radar is looking, replying through the reflector and tricking the radar into outputting a false target in the direction where the radar is pointing – in other words, at the obstruction.”
Navigation aid signal effects: depending on the relative position of the wind farm, it “can affect the propagation of the radiated signal from instrument landing systems. As a result, the integrity and performance of these systems can be unacceptably degraded.”
The CAA says it is researching all these effects more closely and will promulgate further advice.


11:27 AM  
Blogger Magical said...

Well bat sonar obviously doesn't function in wind farms either. Bats are being killed in alarming numbers all across the ridges of this country.

Why is it that radar interference is questioned so cynically in this country? The proponents to wind says there is a simple software solution. If that were so there would already be one. But there isn't.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The immediate threat posed by wind energy developers is the potential inappropriate siting of the Cape Wind industrial scale facility. To site wind towers in Nantucket Sound, and in the path of migratory birds or in this flyway is not in concert with the DOI FWS siting guidelines. We have federally protected birds present in Nantucket Sound. Economic hardship due to shut downs occurs when towers kill birds. MA Audubon's staff scientists have testified that "up to 6,600 birds per year would be killed" in Nantucket Sound by Cape Wind.

The DOI/US Fish and Wildlife recommendations for siting WRA’s, May 13, 2003:

Avoid placing turbines in documented locations of any species of wildlife, fish or plant protected under the ESA.

Avoid locating turbines in a known local bird migration pathways or in areas where birds are highly concentrated, unless mortality risk is low (e.g. birds rarely enter the rotor-swept area). Examples of high concentration areas for birds are wetlands, State or Federal refuges, private duck clubs, staging areas, rookeries, leks, roosts, riparian areas along streams, and landfills.

Avoid known daily movement flyaways (e.g. between roosting and feeding areas) and areas with a high incidence of fog, mist, low cloud ceilings, and low visibility."

According to ornithologist Ian Nisbet, “tens of millions of land birds migrate through the Cape Cod area each fall. About a third of the East Coast's piping plover population nests on Nantucket, the Vineyard, and adjacent islands.” And Joe Eaton, “It's because of the roseates, along with the state-listed common tern and the threatened piping plover, that the American Bird Conservancy has designated Cape Cod and the nearby islands as an Important Bird Area.”

Barbara Durkin

8:34 AM  

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