Extremely High turbine kill rates were what company expected

Bill Evans, Ornithologist

Posted By Paul Schliesmann    Today’s Farmer

An American bird specialist says no one should be surprised by the numbers of bats and birds being killed by wind turbines on Wolfe Island.

“Environment Canada ranked the site as their highest level of concern for raptors. It’s an internationally recognized site for waterfowl,” said Bill Evans, an ornithologist with Old Bird Inc. in Ithaca, N.Y.

“This was probably not a good place to build and that was said before it was even started.”

Evans was invited by Wolfe Island Residents for the Environment to sit in on a meeting with various government officials as well as representatives from TransAlta, the company that runs the 86-turbine wind farm.

TransAlta environmental services manager Scott Hossie said all parties agreed Tuesday that six more months of testing will give everyone a better idea of what’s happening to birds and bats around the facility.

“The results we’re seeing (are) within the range we’re seeing elsewhere,” said Hossie. “The consensus is we’re looking forward to gathering another six months of statistics.”

TransAlta hired a consulting firm from Guelph to run the study for three years.

Several weeks ago, a six-month report was released showing mortality rates of nearly seven birds per turbine and 14.7 bats per turbine. The same report, by the conservation group Nature Canada, said studies at other wind farms have turned up kill rates of one to two birds per turbine annually.

Bird deaths

A total of 100 bird carcasses were found beneath the turbines from July 1 to Dec. 31 of 2009. The total number of bird deaths was estimated to be 602.

The actual number of bat carcasses collected was 180, which was adjusted to 1,270.

Evans said he went into the June 15 meeting with some new information from a radio tracking study about Indiana bats, an endangered species in the U.S., that may be using Wolfe Island for a “maternity colony.”

If that’s the case, Wolfe Island could be important for the bats’ survival. But Evans said he was told by the testing company that only bat carcasses that are in good shape get sent away for testing.

Hossie said the Indiana bat has no official status in Canada because it isn’t a native species and evidence of one tracking is not conclusive.

“It does not appear that Wolfe Island plays any role,” he said.

Hossie said the wind farm “is fitting in with the ecology of the island” and that the field monitors are finding no evidence of habitat disturbance because of the turbines.

But Evans said the next six months could provide more bad news for birds and bats.

“It’s suggested it’s going to be the highest mortality rate in North America per turbine. The first six months suggest this is going to be on the higher end,” he said.

The Maple Ridge wind farm project in New York, where Evans has also done research, is the only project registering a higher kill rate at nine birds per turbine.

Evans said the data gathered on Wolfe Island should be used by provincial and federal government agencies in Canada to prevent similar situations.

“Everything’s just going full steam ahead,” he said. “You have an area like Wolfe Island and other shoreline areas that are unique habitats. It’s like the wind companies are building in these sensitive areas first. There doesn’t seem to be a plan. It’s learn as you go.”

On his way back to Ithaca, Evans was stopping in Cape Vincent, N.Y., to present the information from the Wolfe Island meeting to a group of people concerned about wind farm proposals in their area.

“There’s a tendency to sweep these things under the rug,” he said. “I’m all for wind power and green energy. The siting is a big issue. What is missing here is co-ordination between the Canadian and U.S. governments on siting of wind turbine projects.”

7 thoughts on “Extremely High turbine kill rates were what company expected

  1. More Eco-Terrorism by the Ontario Liberal Government from their FAKE Green Energy Act…

  2. When we talk Biodiversity, simple logic dictates that no one gets a right to pick and chose, simple logic dictates why were the wildlife protection laws put in place?

    Since 2006 both Federal and Liberal governments were/are doing everything they can to circumvent these laws, why, for the CASH.

    If one really and truly to understand what this is all about and why the “tards” of the world just don’t get it. Then just think about ENRON, everyone well all most everyone bought in to them, a whole lot of countries are just figuring it out now, however McGuinty doesn’t care?

  3. He’s willing to sell out our crown lands for these lame machines. McGuinty is ready to sell off all ofOntario for his “vision”. That includes the wildlife as well, simply “collateral damage”.

  4. Here is an article worth a read…

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    http://www.counterpunch.org/bryce09112009.html

    A few days ago, I contacted Lee, who is now retired and living in Lubbock, to get his view on why wind companies aren’t being prosecuted despite the fact that they are in obvious violation of the MBTA and Eagle Protection Act. He responded by saying that solving the problem in the oilfields “was easy and cheap.” The oil companies only had to put netting over their tanks and waste facilities, or close them. When it comes to wind turbines, “The fix here is not easy or cheap,” he said.

    Nor does Lee expect to see any prosecutions of the politically correct wind industry. “It’s economics,” he said. “The wind industry has a lot of economic muscle behind it.”

    While that may be true, it’s also apparent that for America’s lead environmental groups – Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Audubon Society, Sierra Club – the issue of global warming trumps nearly everything else. Those groups are remaining largely silent on the bird kill issue because, in their view, the wind industry’s claims that it reduces carbon dioxide emissions are more important that the unlawful killing of birds.

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    Of course turbines do not reduce CO2 — nor do they provide cheap reliable electricity.

    Wind Turbines provide expensive, unreliable dirty electricity and increase CO2 emissions.

    At least CO2 is plant food. The turbines will only be good for land fill.

  5. Why does it matter that Evan’s is “all for wind power and green energy” as his expertise is obviously in birds and not energy production. Why would anyone support the poor quality and questionable production of power? Any industry as inefficient as wind in providing a low grade product should not get public funds for support even if it could be shown to be green. Industrial wind is not green. Industrial wind does not provide much of a product to justify killing anything even a viewscape.

  6. Its not about the wind, its not about Green renewable energy it’s all about the cash.

    Just prior to 2006 is when both the Federal and Provincial governments, well in Ontario I can not speak for the rest of the provinces, started to break their own wildlife protection laws in order to justify the means of big business.

    In 2007 the Endangered Species Act was passed. When you start to read this piece of legislation you might think “WOW” pretty good stuff, well it is not and do not listen to anyone that tells you anything different.

    Long story short, it allows the provincial government to issue approval (see Section 17) permits to wind turbine companies to install their turbines (which by the act is considered an activity) where they can kill the least amount of wildlife based on pre-construction guidelines. Then it gets worse from there, these guidelines come in two forms; Guidelines for Potential Impacts to Bats and Bat Habitat a working Draft from 2006 to 2010 and Guidelines for Potential Impacts to Birds and Bird Habitat a working draft 2006 to 2007 that you can download from the net.

    If you’re really interested in doing some background reading on who pushed for new Endangered Species Act, please download the following PDF document titled “THE MAKING OF ONTARIO NEW ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT”

    http://www.ivey.org/news/EndangeredSpecies_v7.pdf

    Then when you have completed reading the aforementioned document, I have yet another for you to read titled; “THE LAST LINE OF DEFENCE” please pay particular attention to Section 7;

    http://www.eco.on.ca/eng/uploads/eng_pdfs/2009/ESAreport.pdf

    Please keep in mind the dates of these documents.

    It is apparent the Liberal government does not care about the health of those who elected them to their respective positions so why would they care about Ontario’s wildlife population, look at the Wolfe Island report, it self explanatory that both the Federal and Provincial governments that they do not care.

    If you’ve read the The Last Line of Defence, then think about Wolfe Island. Oddly enough when you go to the Government of Ontario web sites on anything to do about Biodiversity, one would think that Ontario government cares, they do not and that a fact when it comes to wind turbines.

    When it comes to Biodiversity one does not get to chose who stays and who does not. If you’ve read the Ivy League document, ask yourself about the S.O.S. did they know what was taking place? If they did, well what can I say if such was the case, other than to say the S.O.S. does not have any problem taking $$$$$ from the Ontario Governments pocket and if they did not know, what was taking place with the rewrite, then what are they going to do about it in 2011?

    Ask yourself about the Environmental Commissioners of Ontario report and the way things stand presently, do the Liberals care about what they are doing, no.

    I believe if the Liberals were taken to court for violating Provincial and Federals protection laws, they would loose.

    Those that have read and are going to read the aforementioned documents, any comments?

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