Wolfe Island kill rates concern retired engineer

Read the post construction monitoring reports

By Paul Schliesmann The Whig-Standard

A retired computer network engineer has been crunching the latest bird and bat kill numbers from wind turbines on Wolfe Island and he doesn’t like what he sees.  “They’re very large,” said Wayne Gulden, who maintains a website called Wind Farm Realities from his home in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  Adjusted figures provided in the most recent report to the island wind farm owners show 2,327 bats killed in 2010. The number of birds killed was estimated at 1,207.

Gulden said the bird numbers make the 86-turbine Wolfe Island wind farm the second deadliest in North America. It’s owned and operated by TransAlta, based in Alberta.

Gulden has an interest in what happens on Wolfe Island. Ten years ago, he and his wife bought property on nearby Amherst Island, where another wind farm is proposed for construction.

He said he’s removed himself from the increasingly rancorous community battle on Amherst to concentrate on overall wind farm policy and examination of how they affect people and wildlife.

What bothers Gulden most is that no one, including government agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources, is considering whether the mortality rates are sustainable for the bird and bat species on Wolfe Island.

“Eight raptors killed (in the second half of 2010) doesn’t sound like a lot,” he said. “My concern in the meantime is the raptors are no longer there. So, of course, the kill rates go down.

“You can’t tell me you can cull 2,300 bats out of Wolfe Island and not affect the population.”

Gulden argues that even the comparators used to determine whether kill rates at particular wind installations are acceptable appear to be flawed. Invariably, he said, the worst-case facilities are used to set the standard for maximum number of kills.

“They should have a rate that’s sustainable,” he said. “Does it endanger the overall criteria? That’s not even a passing thought. It’s absolutely arbitrary.”

After analyzing the numbers, Gulden is even skeptical about the claims governments and industry make about how green energy will reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

That’s because wind farms rarely generate electricity at more than 30% of capacity.

“At Wolfe Island, they’ve got the turbines packed too closely together,” he said. “They tried to jam too many into there. Wolfe Island has been lower (in generating power) than it should have been.

“I would like them to be effective, but the evidence doesn’t point that way.”

Personally, Gulden doesn’t believe wind turbines are unpleasant to look at. He’s mostly concerned about the noise they produce, how that affects humans, and how they’re using up wilderness habitat.

“The government is so wedded to this idea of green energy they don’t look at the consequences,” he said.

16 thoughts on “Wolfe Island kill rates concern retired engineer

  1. Nice to see some negative press, but this looks like another half-hearted kinda’ sleepy and understated article that mentions (kind of in passing) a few of the downsides of IWT’s …..why is the title (in the Kingson paper) not screaming:

    “WOLFE ISLAND WIND FARM SECOND DEADLIEST IN NORTH AMERICA !!!”

    Quote from the article; “They should have a rate that’s sustainable,” he said…(referring to number of birds and bats killed). Here’s a rate that’s sustainable… ZERO !! Where’s the interview with the TransAlta rep. pathetically try to wiggle out of these FACTS.

    Let’s see…IWT’s;
    – kill wildlife (check)
    – cause health problems (check)
    – ruin the environment (check)
    – increase hydro bills (check)
    – destroy real jobs through higher energy costs and taxes (check)
    – work less than 30% of the time and rarely when needed (check)
    – have virtually no impact on CO2 emissions (check)
    – divide communities (check)
    – over-ride municipal planning controls (check)
    – encroach on neighbouring land use and destroy property values

    Have I missed anything ? What does it take to get people up in arms about this ?
    (and thanks for listening – had to vent)

    • Rule # 1 – It’s always about the money!

      American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia to force the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to release ethics records for taxpayer-funded global warming activist Dr. James Hansen – specifically records that pertain to his outside employment, revenue generation, and advocacy activities.

      ATI seeks to learn whether NASA approved Hansen’s outside employment, which public financial disclosures and other documents reveal to have brought him at least $1.2 million in the past four years. This money comes in addition to – and, more troubling from an ethics and legal perspective, is all related to – his taxpayer-funded employment. Dr. Hansen’s outside employment commenced when he increased his “global warming” activism from his perch at NASA.
      http://heartland.org/node/30237

  2. Hey Mr. Gulden,

    [excerpt from above]
    A retired computer network engineer has been crunching the latest bird and bat kill numbers from wind turbines on Wolfe Island and he doesn’t like what he sees.

    “They’re very large,” said Wayne Gulden, who maintains a website called Wind Farm Realities from his home in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

    I wanted to thank you!
    Keeping a watchful eye on Ontario!
    I noticed – you touched a nerve among the ‘cry baby green snots’ –
    [comment section of newspaper]

    My compliments!

  3. “What bothers Gulden most is that no one, including government agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources, is considering whether the mortality rates are sustainable for the bird and bat species on Wolfe Island.”

    No one in the Ministry of Natural Resources is allowed to publicly speak out as all media releases have to go through the Minister’s office. Why should one industry knowingly kill so many bats and raptors? What good is monitoring if it is the only action taken? Is the government waiting until the populations go down so the kill rates look better? The government and industry knew high bird and bat mortalities were expected at Wolf Island and yet closed their eyes and ears to the facts. Wolf Island is not an isolated case. For example Prince Farm IWT development in the Sault does not disclose kill rates which are expected to be high. Greenwich IWT development is being built next to peregrine nesting territory and what was documented as one of North America’s largest known bat hibernacula at Cavern Lake. The bat population at Cavern Lake is at a very low level so this should just about do it for the bats there. There are no successful techniques to mitigate bird and bat kill rates other than shutting IWTs down temporarily and that makes IWTs even more useless; if that is possible. Decommissioning is the only solution. Environmentally and economically.

    • Hey zen2then,
      You make an interesting point.
      What screams out at me is:
      ‘knowingly kill’ (without disregard)

      McGuinty Liberal Legacy!

  4. We don’t even need wind turbines… HRH Prince Phillip will rescue the bats and the birds and the bees…

    Quote by Prince Philip, royal billionaire, married to Queen Elizabeth II, and large CO2 producer: “If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”

    Someday…. and assisted by:

    Ted Turner, billionaire, founder of CNN and major UN donor, and large CO2 producer, who said: ‘Global warming’ will kill most of us, and turn the rest of us into cannibals.”

    ..and we can eat the Turbine kill too! Yum, fresh bat carcass!

    No Problem!

  5. What are the total populations of bats and birds on Wolfe Island?

    By only presenting part of the facts you are allowing the article to be distorted (or are intentionally trying to distort it).

    2327 out of a population of 100,000 isn’t that much (2.3%), out of 1,000,000 even less (0.23%), but 2327 deaths out of a population of 10,000 is a lot (23.3%). So which is it?

  6. Cliff – Do you know how small Wolfe Island is??

    It is directly located on one of the major migratory routes in North America therefore your question is irrelavent.

    Birds are mostly migratory anywhere, not permanent residents. I fail to understand your reasoning or your lack of concern.

    • MA, if you fail to understand such clear reasoning by Cliff S, maybe you should re-do some math books from elementary school. Or just simply re-read his reply, it’s very clear and logical – unlike downright rude and illogical response of for i.e. ‘concernedresident’. Wow!
      When you try give some additional info – that Wolfe island is ‘small’, or it’s or that it’s located “major migratory routes in North America” it adds some, but very little – because for it to become fact, you need to give numbers and references.

      • Perhaps I need to spell this out in very, very simple language.

        He asked for “the population” of birds on Wolfe Island. I replied that the number is irrelavent because of the migratory nature of the bird population. It is constantly changing, depending on the season and what birds are passing through.

        Understand? Clear enough for you? It’s not simple math as he claims because there is no such thing as a “population” number as it is constantly changing. We’re talking MIGRATORY birds.

        Have you read the actual report put out by the consultant? If you care about this issue perhaps you should do that first.

        http://www.transalta.com/facilities/plants-operation/wolfe-island/post-construction-monitoring

  7. The problem with wind farming isn’t the wind, it’s the farming. Renewable energy is not well suited for centralized production.

    We are trying to fit new ways of generating energy in to the old paradigm. We are trying to take what is essentially a non-local resource and localize its refinement and distribution. This is stupid, and of course it creates problems. Centralized energy production creates problems whether it’s coal, wind, solar, or nuclear. This is because centralized energy production and grid-based distribution is not efficient.

    Naturally, centralized energy production is not supposed to be efficient. It’s supposed to be profitable. That’s the real point: profit. And herein lies the problem. So long as we keep trying to generate useful energy AND profit out of a given resource, the handling of that resource will laden with harmful inefficiencies.

  8. MA – I don’t know, but after googling it, it looks like the it’s about 8-10km across, so approx 80-100km². Wikipedia says 124km² – so I was close, but low.

    The population – even if it is not static, in this case migratory – isn’t irrelevant if you are trying to justify your argument.

    If I said there were 30 murders (It’s a lot, and a huge problem!) In a town of 1,400 (2.1%)- it’s definitely a problem, in a city of 1,400,000 it’s almost nothing (0.000021%) and not worthy of discussion.

    I’m not saying that I have no concern, but arguments without facts are no better then hearsay in my books. When I make an argument I back my statements with FACTS – you should to.

    • And at what point in time do you say –OK, we’ll call this “the population”. Today? December 21st? March 8th? May 28th?

      Mr. Gulden is not just making this stuff up. Please read the reports themselves. I’ve added a link to the top of the page.

      • I suppose they’re looking for ‘Woody Wood Pecker’ –
        – to pull up in a U – Haul……….
        start unpacking – with an attached sign to his wing…………..
        that says,
        “Here to stay” – add ‘1’ to population, and, I have the scientific report to prove it.

        Mr. Gulden produced an excellent report, and observation.

      • Sorry but I have little patience with people who come onto this site with an accusatory tone and try to “debunk” things when they haven’t the first clue as to what they’re even talking about….then fly away…just like the birds.

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