It has only taken Lillian “Lilli” Coker, 6-year-old kindergartener from Gadsden, Ala., three days to get almost 600 Alabamians to sign a petition encouraging the Alabama legislature to “Say ‘no’ to wind turbines,” a spurt of political activism that was brought on by a memory she shared with her late father.
Her mom, Cara Coker, explains:
On March 12, 2014, I picked Lilli up from school and as we were walking out of the door she handed me a piece of notebook paper with “Partition” written in kindergartener handwriting across the top. She asked, “Will you please sign my petition, Mama?”
My previous profession of 14 years was education so I asked, “What’s a petition?”
Lillian quickly replied, “A petition is something you get people to sign if you want someone to do something or stop doing something. Ok…like say somebody is going to tear down my favorite playground. I would start a petition for them not to tear it down and if I got enough signs they would stop.”
I was quite impressed with her thorough definition and clever example and proceeded with, “Well, what are you petitioning?”
Without skipping a beat, Lillian said, “I want to stop those people from building windmills on top of our beautiful mountain! You know the one where we hike and climb? If they put windmills up there then we won’t be able to go there anymore and windmills won’t work here anyway…we don’t have enough wind, Mama! When they build them they’re going to be big and dangerous and they’ll have to tear up the rocks and land. It’s just not a good idea! We HAVE to stop them!”
Powerful words coming from a six year old!
Through social networking and word of mouth, Lillian’s petition has traveled fast and she has been asked to hand deliver her petition in Montgomery Wednesday, March 19, 2014.
When I asked her if she wanted to go to Montgomery and do this her response was, “I have to do it, Mama! Somebody has to stop them from building the windmills on my beautiful mountain!”
Cara and Lillian Coker
Yellowhammer has covered in-depth a bill currently making its way through the Alabama legislature that would provide basic oversight for wind energy companies seeking to operate in the state.
Sen. Phil Williams, who is Lilli’s senator, is sponsoring the bill, but it is currentlybogged down in the Alabama House Commerce Committee, where lobbyists representing the wind energy companies are hoping it will die. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday.
Wind energy providers have proposed wind farms in 8 different Alabama counties, but there are currently no laws on the books to protect citizens and communities when it comes to wind energy production. For instance, while regulations on coal mining require an almost unimaginable amount of research, proposals, permits, reclamation plans, insurance and numerous other safeguards overseen by independent government entities, wind farms are largely free to do as they please without any real oversight to speak of.
That has caused citizens in areas of the state where wind farms are being proposed to seek help from their legislators. Two citizens groups have even filed lawsuits asking for a judge to block the proposed project, at least until the state creates a regulatory framework to protect the local community.
But Lilli’s petition may be the most effective maneuver yet, because it shows that the issue is starting to catch on with citizens all over the state in an election year.
Yellowhammer caught up with Lilli over the weekend to find out what compelled her to launch her petition. She said one of the areas where wind farms are being proposed reminds her of time she spent with her father, Jeff Coker, who passed away in 2012.
“Hiking there reminds me of my daddy,” Lilli said. “There are lots of people who go there to hike and I don’t know why they would want to build windmills on Cherokee Rock Village. They’re not going to work because there’s not enough wind. People at my school taught me about petitions and I started one because I want to stop them from building them there.”
Lilli said she’s excited to go to Montgomery this week and personally deliver the petition to her elected officials.
“I’m going to tell them Good afternoon, My name is Lilli. I started this petition to stop you from building windmills on my mountain,” she said. “I love to hike there and if you build them the animals that live there will have to find somewhere else to go and there’s not really anywhere else for them to go.”
And it sounds like this may be only the beginning for Lilli. She says she plans to continue pushing causes she believes in, even when she “grows up.”
“I want to be a helper for all the animals that might lose their homes because of stuff like windmills,” she said in conclusion.
If you would like to help Lilli reach her goal of 1,000 signatures before she presents her petition to the Alabama legislature on Wednesday, CLICK HERE TO SIGN, and take a moment to SHARE this story with your Facebook, Twitter and email friends.
Wildlife-smart wind power may be as close as it gets to "green energy." But over vast swaths of America, the "smart" part is still more hot air than reality--especially when it comes to raptors. Essayist Ted Williams provides an important review of wind energy and its impact on birds.
All wind projects, no matter where they are, kill birds. The question is become how many, what kinds, and is the mortality 'acceptable'?" So declares wind developer Christian Herter, president of the Massachusetts-based Linekin Bay Energy Company. If the word "acceptable" sounds provocative, bear in mind that a project Herter's company helped plan for northern Maine called Aroostook Wind Energy may well represent the best approach for the planet and, in the long run, for birds as well.
An accomplished birder himself, Herter also has impeccable credentials as an environmentalist. Before the wind-industry boom, he served as an environmental educator for the National Park Service, then a public affairs agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, then executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and finally Audubon's New England regional rep. So it's no surprise that Aroostook Wind Energy is wildlife-smart. Turbines will sit on old clearcuts near flat land already disturbed by potato farming. Of course birds reside and migrate throughout the footprint, but relatively few compared with, say, Wyoming's Shirley Basin or the northern Everglades or the... more
“There are serious concerns that the Obama Administration is implementing these laws in an arbitrary fashion based on an undefined definition of ‘cooperation’ from affected parties. The Administration has repeatedly chosen to only prosecute select violations of these strict liability acts and our goal is to gain a better understanding of how and why these enforcement decisions are made and what defines ‘cooperation’ to the Administration."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a Full Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday, March 26th entitled, “Collision Course: Oversight of the Obama Administration’s Enforcement Approach for America’s Wildlife Laws and Its Impact on Domestic Energy.” The hearing will examine the Obama Administration’s approach for enforcing wildlife laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act as it relates to U.S. energy producers, and the Administration’s failure to fully respond to repeated requests from the Committee for documents.
For nearly ten months, the Committee on Natural Resources has been conducting oversight into the enforcement policies and practices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning these laws. Multiple letters have been sent and the majority of the Committee’s requests remain unanswered. While the Administration has produced some documents, including a production received yesterday, the Committee’s requests for several categories of documents that would explain how policies have been developed or implemented or specific cases investigated and prosecuted have largely gone unfulfilled.
On January 16, 2014, the Committee voted 26-14 to authorize the Chairman to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony for several ongoing oversight matters, including the investigation into the implementation and enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. In advance of the hearing, a subpoena was issued today to the FWS seeking unredacted copies of emails and other internal documents that were previously made available to the Committee in redacted form, as well as documents about specific enforcement cases, internal policies, and regulations that the Committee had previously requested and not yet been provided voluntarily.
“There are serious concerns that the Obama Administration is implementing these laws in an arbitrary fashion based on an undefined definition of ‘cooperation’ from affected parties. The Administration has repeatedly chosen to only prosecute select violations of these strict liability acts and our goal is to gain a better understanding of how and why these enforcement decisions are made and what defines ‘cooperation’ to the Administration. I look forward to hearing from Director Ashe on these issues and hope to gain clear answers on the Administration’s actions,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “The issuance of this subpoena is necessary to ensure compliance with legitimate Congressional oversight and to end the Department’s deliberate, ten month long slow roll in fulfilling Committee requests for documents and answers.”
Click here for more information on the Committee’s oversight efforts as well as correspondence between the Committee and the FWS and DOJ.
WHAT: Full Committee oversight hearing on:
“Collision Course: Oversight of the Obama Administration’s Enforcement Approach for Wildlife Laws and Its Impact on Domestic Energy”
Witness: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe
WHEN: Wednesday, March 26th 2014 10:00 AM
WHERE: 1324 Hearing Room in the Longworth House Office Building
Visit the Committee Calendar for additional information, once it is made available. The meeting is open to the public and a live video stream will be broadcast at /live.
This six year old girl is wearing her Hello Kitty headphones to bed in July 2013 because the wind turbines operating on the adjacent farm property is making too much noise.
This photo was taken at 10:43 PM after being in bed since 8:00 PM.
The closest wind turbines are 1665’ and 2225’ away, they are 495’ tall GE 1.6 mW nameplate capacity, and they are owned/operated by InvEnergy in Vermilion County Illinois.
This scenario repeated for so many nights during each week that, within six months after this photo was taken, the parents and both children abandoned her home and moved into a doublewide trailer eight miles away in order to get away from the nighttime noise.
Now, she asks her parents on regular occasions, “When can we move back into our old house?” and “ I want to have a normal life and get to have my old bedroom back again because I don’t like living here because there’s not enough room for my stuff and there’s no place to keep my things.” Her parents have gently reminded both kids that they love them very much and that their health is way more important than having material things such as a nice big house with all the toys and things.
Good parents know when they have to set priorities, and this family is making the right decision to inform the public so that other families do not have to suffer the grief and life changing setbacks caused by improper wind turbine siting.
Are there children who live in your county? Are there any families who live near wind projects proposed for their rural community? Have you seen the letter from the Armstrong Grade School Superintendent?
If not, please take a few minutes to learn more by visiting www.fairwindenergy.org and www.edgarcountywatchdogs.com and search “Vermilion” to see what can happen to your friends or family if wind turbine siting is overlooked and decisions are made by misinformed government leaders.
A study published by the Renewable Energy Foundation (The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark shows that the economic life of onshore wind turbines in the UK and Denmark is between 10 and 15 years, not the 20 to 25 years projected by the wind industry itself, and used for government projections.
According to the Renewable Energy Foundation:
"The results show that after allowing for variations in wind speed and site characteristics the average load factor of wind farms declines substantially as they get older, probably due to wear and tear. By 10 years of age the contribution of an average UK wind farm to meeting electricity demand has declined by a third.
"This decline in performance means that it is rarely economic to operate wind farms for more than 12 to 15 years. After this period they must be replaced with new machines, a finding that has profound consequences for investors and government alike.
"Specifically, investors expecting a return on their investment over 20-25 years will be disappointed. Policymakers expecting wind farms built before 2010 to be contributing towards CO2 targets in 2020 or later must allow for the likelihood that the total investment required to meet these targets will be much larger than previous forecasts have suggested. As a consequence, the lifetime cost per unit (MWh) of electricity generated by wind power will be considerably higher than official estimates."
The study also notes that the performance of Danish offshore wind turbines has been even worse.
According to the study:
"This has worrying implications for the very large investment being made by the UK in offshore wind."
Obviously, this has dire implications regarding the economic viability (and the ultimate cost to electricity consumers) for on- and offshore wind installations everywhere -- including Cape Wind.
Here is a link to the Renewable Energy Foundation website and the study, which was anonymously peer reviewed:
Wear and Tear Hits Wind Farm Output and Economic Lifetime
The Renewable Energy Foundation  today published a new study, The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark, showing that the economic life of onshore wind turbines is between 10 and 15 years, not the 20 to 25 years projected by the wind industry itself, and used for government projections.
The work has been conducted by one of the UK’s leading energy & environmental economists, Professor Gordon Hughes of the University of Edinburgh, and has been anonymously peer-reviewed. This groundbreaking study applies rigorous statistical analysis to years of actual wind farm performance data from wind farms in both the UK and in Denmark.
The results show that after allowing for variations in wind speed and site characteristics the average load factor of wind farms declines substantially as they get older, probably due to wear and tear. By 10 years of age the contribution of an average UK wind farm to meeting electricity demand has declined by a third.
This decline in performance means that it is rarely economic to operate wind farms for more than 12 to 15 years. After this period they must be replaced with new machines, a finding that has profound consequences for investors and government alike.
Specifically, investors expecting a return on their investment over 20-25 years will be disappointed. Policymakers expecting wind farms built before 2010 to be contributing towards CO2 targets in 2020 or later must allow for the likelihood that the total investment required to meet these targets will be much larger than previous forecasts have suggested. As a consequence, the lifetime cost per unit (MWh) of electricity generated by wind power will be considerably higher than official estimates.
Other important findings are:
a. The decline in the performance of Danish offshore wind farms is greater than that of UK onshore wind farms. This has worrying implications for the very large investment being made by the UK in offshore wind.
b. Analysis of site-specific performance reveals that the initial load factor of new UK onshore wind farms, normalized for wind availability and size, declined significantly from 2000 to 2011, especially in Scotland. It seems that progressively worse sites are being developed.
c. Larger wind farms have a systematically worse performance than smaller ones. Since the average size of wind farms has increased, this has reinforced the deterioration in the performance of new wind farms.
The author, Professor Hughes, said: “The study has three important implications for policy towards wind generation in the UK:
1. Some investors will be aware of the decline in performance, but nevertheless continue to invest, suggesting that the subsidies are so generous as to compensate for the fall in output. Therefore this is probably room for further subsidy reductions to cut cost to the consumer.
2. The structure of contracts offered to wind generators under the proposed Electricity Market Reform (EMR) should be modified since few wind farms will operate for more than 12–15 years.
3. Meeting the UK Government’s targets for wind generation will require a much higher level of wind capacity and capital investment than current projections imply.”
Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, commented: “This study confirms suspicions that decades of generous subsidies to the wind industry have failed to encourage the innovation needed to make the sector competitive. Bluntly, wind turbines onshore and offshore still cost too much and wear out far too quickly to offer the developing world a realistic alternative to coal.”
As a lifelong Democrat, environmental activist and renewable energy advocate, I commend Gov. Paul Le Page’s recent criticisms of the huge taxpayer-funded industrial wind power scam, which will ruin Maine unless it is stopped.
Though initially a proponent of industrial wind, I’ve learned it’s a catastrophe on every level — environmental, fiscal, social and economic. And now with Maine’s southern neighbors halting industrial wind in their states, they’re paying to build thousands of turbines in Maine, to devastate every magnificent Maine ridge, pinnacle and mountain with howling machines more than 50 stories high, some so tall they’ll be the third-tallest structures in New England.
Industrial wind projects have been clearly proven to slaughter millions of birds and bats, destroy scenic beauty, lower property values and tourism, sicken people and drive them from their homes, increase erosion and raise electric rates. But they make billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies for the investment banks that develop them.
Yet the biggest trouble with industrial wind is it doesn’t lower greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use. Not one molecule. The reason is that winds (particularly in Maine) are erratic, and as a result, industrial wind “farms” have to be backed up constantly by “fixed” generation, e.g, fossil fuel plants. This problem, called spinning reserve, basically invalidates any claim that wind projects lower fossil fuel use or carbon dioxide generation.
Online one can find numerous scientific, utility and environmental studies showing that, despite nearly three decades of huge federal subsidies, industrial wind projects don’t lower greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use, and in some cases even increase them. In Germany and Britain, for instance, development of wind projects has led to an escalation in coal use.
This is without even considering the extensive greenhouse gases produced by constructing these huge towers, shipping them across the ocean, trucking them to wherever the wind industry has overridden the local folks and imposed a wind farm and building them.
Consider a typical Maine wind farm advertised as 100 megawatts, about 35 turbine towers. Because Maine winds are poor, turbines run at a low rate, sometimes as little as 4 days a month. Even industrial wind developers admit the capacity of wind projects in Maine is only 25 percent of their advertised amount. Thus a 100MW project creates only 25MW.
Even when the turbines are turning, however, the power can’t always be used, such as at night, so utilities curtail or dump it. In Maine, this reduces our wind projects used power to barely 17MW. And because most wind electricity will be transmitted out of Maine to Connecticut or Massachusetts, the transmission loss could exceed 5 percent, lowering this to 16.6MW.
One also has to deduct the fuel to run the spinning reserve, which means the real power provided to electricity consumers by a 100MW industrial wind project is barely 8 percent of advertised capacity — 8MW, not 100MW.
This 8MW is disastrously low for a project that could cost taxpayers $300 million. By comparison an 8MW gas-fired power plant could be built for less than $15 million and would create far less carbon dioxide. Or, for the same $300 million, we could equip 20,000 Maine homes and businesses with rooftop solar, and significantly reduce Maine’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Ever noticed the turbines turning when there’s no wind? To keep them from seizing up, they have to be turned by buying electricity. This is why three of the largest electricity consumers in Maine are wind projects. They each use more power than Maine’s largest pulp mill.
I may not agree with LePage about everything, but he has clearly enunciated an absolute truth for Maine. If we care about the beauty of our precious state, the superb individuality of our Maine people, and the enormous economic engine that this beauty and cohesion represents, then we must all, Democrats, Republicans and independents stand for what is right for Maine, and reject what is wrong.
We hear a lot of pro-wind commercials on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and a lot of pro-wind talk from groups such as Maine Audubon, the Sierra Club of the Maine and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Guess why? Many such organizations get major funding from industrial wind developers.
Years ago, I learned a lot about life as newspaper boy, delivering it sometimes in a blizzard at 30 below, but I made sure my customers got their papers. That’s a spirit Maine inculcates: fairness and reliability. Industrial wind projects have neither.
Mike Bond of Winthrop is an environmental activist, renewable energy advocate and author of a wind industry exposé, “Saving Paradise.”
Some people living in the shadows of wind turbines say they’re making them sick. Almost as upsetting: Their neighbors don’t feel a thing.
(Photo: Christopher Griffith/Trunk Archive)
On May 4, 2012, at around 8:30 a.m., air-traffic controller Mark J. Cool put two planes on a collision course over Cape Cod. “Runway 14” is what Cool heard the Coast Guard controller say when he okayed a Falcon jet for takeoff from the airport. “Runway 23” is what the controller actually said. That set the jet directly in the flight path of a twin-prop Cool had just released from another airport. On his radar display, two green splats lurched ever closer as he made a series of frantic radio contacts to set them on a corrected course. Cool’s supervisor and colleagues crowded behind him in a crescent of worry. The planes came within two thirds of a mile and 500 feet of altitude of one another. A few seconds later, they would have crashed.
Cool was immediately taken off duty, and before he could return to the boards, his supervisors flew in a guy from California to counsel him in sleep and stress management.
The cause of his near-fatal mistake, Cool insists, was the 40-story wind turbine a third of a mile behind his home in Falmouth, Massachusetts. For two years, he had been suffering from insomnia and headaches, which left him fatigued, distracted, and stressed out. It wasn’t the turbine’s noise that woke him or made his head hurt; he believes some intangible mechanism was at work, an invisible and inaudible wind turbulence. And it was all he could talk about.
“Everybody at work was like, ‘Ah, jeez’—ya know, every time I walk in, ‘Cool is talking about wind turbines,’ ” he says. “So it had pretty much captured my life.”
A 55-year-old former Navy man, Cool says his annual flight physicals, which include an EKG and a vision test, have always shown him to be “healthy as a horse.” But he started getting mysterious headaches in April 2010, almost two weeks after the turbine was turned on behind the sprawling Colonial he shares with his wife, Annie, who began battling sleep loss around the same time. He was out tending his garden when his ears started popping as though he were gaining altitude in an airplane. That turned into head congestion, which became a relentlessly painful pressure behind his ears, at the base of his head. “Not like put-your-finger-in-a-socket pain, just a dull constant,” he says. The headache didn’t go away until he left home four hours later on an errand.
For the next few weeks, the headaches hit when he was in the yard working. Cool went to see his doctor, who prescribed allergy medicine, but that didn’t help. And then he heard from a couple of neighbors who were suffering from ear popping and headaches, too, and had trouble sleeping. “It was kind of a relief,” he says, to realize he was not the only one. “I came back and started talking to my wife about it: ‘What’s new in the neighborhood? The wind turbine.’ ” It was a quick-and-dirty calculus.
Then his symptoms got worse. In June, he began waking up in the middle of the night and could only get back to sleep if he took refuge in the basement. When his headaches became more painful, he resorted to doing “all these weird scientific verifications,” touring the neighborhood and gauging how the severity of the pressure in his head correlated with his distance from a wind tower. He also kept track of how his symptoms were affected by wind direction and logged all of his data into a spreadsheet. The result: He only gets headaches and has trouble sleeping when he’s within a third of a mile of a turbine and the winds are blowing from the north or northwest. “I’ve done a lot of legwork on this,” he says. “I’m not a medical guy, but I know what I’ve experienced.”
Though wind turbines have long dotted mountain ridges like California’s Altamont Pass and wide-open spaces like the Great Plains of central Texas, as wind power has taken off (in 2012, it became the No. 1 source of new energy in the U.S.), many are now being placed in residential areas like Falmouth to save on transmission costs and land use. For the first time, people can see them from their lawns, driveways, and bedrooms, to the frustration of many who find them disturbing—their hulking visual presence, the threat they pose to birds and bats and other wildlife, and their purported effects on human health.
In the past decade, hundreds of people who live near wind turbines in places like Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, and Japan have reported that the windmills are giving them a litany of ailments. The first complaints were recorded in 2003, when a British physician wrote an unpublished report about 36 people in the U.K. who said the turbines made them sick. Then, in 2004, a physician in Victoria, Australia, distributed questionnaires to 25 people living near local turbines, and three of them wrote back about severe stress, insomnia, and dizziness. Even some Scottish Buddhist monks have complained of symptoms, including dry retching and crying. Last summer, Tharpaland International Retreat Centre sold its land to Scottish Power after its monks found they were approximately 70 percent less able to meditate.
GENE M. MARCHAND/ENTEREPRISE - Two of Falmouth's wind turbines, one at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility (left) and the other at the Falmouth Technology Park, as viewed from the Chapoquoit Beach parking lot.
The issue with Falmouth’s turbines has put the town in the national spotlight in the last few months.
On September 15, New York Magazine published a 4,000-word story titled “Never Stops, Never Stops. Head Ache. Stop.” The article investigates the affects of turbines on abutters. At the core of the article were Falmouth residents, including an opening paragraph about Mark J. Cool of Fire Tower Road, Falmouth, and the health effects he has experienced since the turbines have been in operation.
A little over a month later, in October, ABC’s “Good Morning America” broke with a four-page article, featuring an attached video, called “‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ Blamed for Mysterious Symptoms in Cape Cod Town.” The author, Susan Donaldson James, began her article with the story of Suzanne C. Hobart, who had moved from her Blacksmith Shop Road because of the Notus turbine in the Technology Park.
And, within the past week, news has been circulating that ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer,” a daily show with an average reach of nearly 8 million viewers per week, will air a segment on the town’s turbines. Word was that the segment was to air on Monday, December 9, but although some watched the program that day, it never came.
J. Malcolm Donald, Ambleside Drive, West Falmouth, had distributed an e-mail announcing the show on the day ABC reporter Linzie Janis told him that it would air.
Mary Godfrey, producer of the show, said in a phone interview recently that the turbine story was halted after Nelson Mandela died, dominating national headlines for special programming.
Ms. Godfrey added that she was not free to comment on when the turbine story might run and could not say that it would ever do so. She did, however, confirm that “World News” had footage for a segment on the turbines and that local Falmouth residents had been the subject of it.
For Mr. Andersen this recent national news coverage has been uncomfortable. “I hate the publicity,” he said. “I’m a private person.”
Also interested in the story is The New York Times. Katharine Q. Seelye, the New England bureau chief for the Times, said she has researched the topic and worked on an article but has not yet been able to publish anything.
She attended public hearings in Falmouth and interviewed a number of residents who were voting during the May town election in which voters opted to keep the turbines erected.
“What has happened in Falmouth, the sharp divide in the community over possible health implications, the locating of the turbines, the financial burdens and gains, is a cautionary tale for the rest of the country,” Ms. Seelye said. “With the national push for more alternative energy, other towns could be confronting these same issues.”
Mixed Reaction to National Attention
The reactions from Falmouth residents to the recent attention have been mixed.
Mr. Cool is both glad that national news has taken to the story, but remains committed to the cause here in Falmouth.
“I did it more to heighten the sense of urgency felt by the neighborhood to the selectmen,” he said. “If it is going to take national media coverage to make selectmen come to a decision, than so be it. That was my point in standing in front of ‘ABC News’,” he said.
“I’ve gone so far as to support other communities in their interest of gathering information, before or after a wind energy project has been put in, but my focus at this point in time has been purely Falmouth.”
“It’s a shame that it takes attention from national media but if that is what it takes to move on to some sort of acceptable way to get through this wind problem, I’m all for it,” he said.
In the ABC interview, Mr. Cool said that he only spoke of the health effects he has experienced in Falmouth. “I’m not going to talk about the town, I’m not going to talk about the lawsuit or the recent verdicts in court. I will talk strictly about my health and how it affected me,” he had said to Ms. Godfrey before the interview.
Neil P. Andersen of Blacksmith Shop Road, another abutter and outspoken critic of the turbines, was mentioned in e-mails about the possible ABC segment, although he said Ms. Janis did not interview him for “World News.”
For Mr. Andersen this recent national news coverage has been uncomfortable. “I hate the publicity,” he said. “I’m a private person.”
There is a silver lining to the recent news however, he said, in that it could bring hope to others affected, he said.
He added that Falmouth could be attracting national attention because of the recent success some of the residents have had. “We’ve had some success here,” he said. “This is a big problem worldwide and I hope I can help out."
“It exposes the problem,” said Mr. Donald. “Some reporter is going to get a Pulitzer for this story. They’ll uncover this whole thing, all the health concerns and the health issues that are associated with wind turbines and the money involved with all the government and all these private companies.”Kristen French, author of the article that appeared in New York Magazine in September, said what first struck her interest in the subject was a documentary called “Windfall,” produced in 2012. The film discussed the experiences of some abutters but did not delve into the science behind it with any depth. “I was curious about this one element of this documentary that seemed very odd. It seemed strange and mysterious,” she said.
She began by getting in touch with as many people involved with turbine complaints as she could, which led her to Fairhaven and then eventually to Falmouth.
Mr. Cool became the lead to her story, she said, because he seemed like a member of the community who was well liked. “There was a real life that was impacted, that could be measured. Something clearly went wrong and he was obviously losing sleep whether it was the turbines or not. Something dramatic did happen,” she said.
To the Joint Standing Committee on Energy Utilities & Technology THANK YOU
Six years ago, the nation was at war and in a deep recession. While the nation was in a panic over oil prices, Maine declared an energy emergency. The Expedited Wind Law, which paved the way for a massive buildup of grid-scale wind power to “get us off oil” was our solution. At the time, the law seemed like a good idea.
The law actually spent only 15 days in the Legislature from the time the bill was presented until it was signed into law. It turned out to be one of the worst mistakes in Maine’s history. Nobody in the Legislature discussed that the law would require more than 300 miles of mountain ridges lined with turbines as tall as Boston skyscrapers, or that the noise emissions would affect the health of nearby residents. They didn’t know that miles of turbines on Maine’s ridges would alter the landscape on a scale never seen before. Nobody discussed the thousands of birds, bats and raptors that would be sacrificed to the spinning blades. And they didn’t calculate that their goal to erect thousands of turbines would yield less than five percent more electricity to our grid, with CO2 savings of only 1%.
As the first turbine projects began operating, nearby residents realized they had been misled about the noise and intrusive nature of the massive machines. But as the wind industry quickly targeted mile after mile of Maine ridges, the majority of Mainers continued to believe that wind power was necessary, sustainable, and useful. Relatively few citizens understood the truth.
Six years later, thousands of Mainers have become aware of the false promises of wind power in Maine. Citizens from all walks of life and every corner of the state have testified to the legislature about the unforeseen consequences of the Expedited Wind Law.
Two years ago the legislature allocated tax dollars for an exhaustive and impartial study of Maine’s wind power law by Steve Ward, the former State Public Advocate. That study has been delivered to the hard-working members of the Energy, Utilities & Technology Committee, with 25 recommendations for changes to the Wind Law.
Because of this comprehensive report, our Legislators now see the high impact and low benefit of grid scale wind power. They know that despite what Maine had hoped, wind power does nothing to get us off oil, or to fight climate change. They have learned that 99% of Maine’s electricity generation already comes from clean sources other than oil and coal. They know wind power is siphoning billions of precious dollars out of Maine’s economy by requiring ratepayers and taxpayers to pay the high cost of undependable wind turbines. They understand how much Mainers will need to pay for unnecessary transmission infrastructure that is only being built to satisfy political mandates in other states.
They also now know that the cumulative effects of 3000 megawatts of wind power will destroy Maine’s scenic beauty as we know it, and that it is just not worth it.
These dedicated citizen legislators have learned the facts. Now they are ready to put people over special interests. Of course, lobbyists for special interests will be in Augusta, pressuring Legislators to ignore their constituents, so... Mainers - Please contact these legislators today. Urge them to finish this important work. With your support, they will restore citizen rights, promote sustainable clean energy policy, protect Maine’s signature scenic resources and our famous quality of place, and fix the Wind Law’s unrealistic assumptions and goals.
For a single link to their contact info visit: www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/eut.htm
Check out the blog post 'Here Comes the Sunlight - It Seems Like Years Since It's Been Here'
The following ad appeared on page 4 of the 12/17/13 Bangor Daily News, juxtaposed with a continuation of the lead cover story on propane....
At Last the National Audubon Society is starting to realize the harm wind turbines are doing!
PROTECT AMERICA'S BALD AND GOLDEN EAGLES
Unless we act quickly, Bald and Golden eagles face 30 years of death
and injury at the hands of wind power companies. Instead of protecting
our national symbol, the Interior Department is preparing to knuckle
under to industry lobbyists and sanction the killings.
Tell Interior Secretary Jewell the issuing of a 30-year incidental
take permit for wind farms is unconscionable-and must be
At issue is a permit Interior is granting the wind industry that lets
them kill Bald and Golden eagles despite little if any certainty that
the permitting regime can protect eagle populations. Wind farms are
often placed in the path of eagle migration routes and dozens perish
every year as they collide with invisibly whirling blades and high
Newer technology and siting information is available that could pose
less risk to birds, but the Interior's action has given the wind
industry every reason to dawdle. As a result hundreds of eagles will
sustain horrible injuries and death.
Those deaths could be averted.
Wind energy is an important piece of moving America beyond fossil
fuels. But it is possible for wind farms and birds to co-exist more
peacefully. Sadly, if Interior's plan goes forward, that will
not be the case.
Please act now-America's eagles deserve better than this.
'George Osborne finances a tiny group of extremely wealthy men to let someone else put up wind turbines on their land, or at least he did until Thursday.' Illustration: Satoshi Kambayashi
Is it fair for the chancellor to cut pensions for the poor while offering a million pounds a year to the Duke of Roxburghe for letting the wind blow? Is it fair to offer half a million to the Earl of Moray, a third of a million to the Earl of Glasgow, and a quarter of a million to the Duke of Beaufort, Sir Alastair Gordon Cumming and Sir Reginald Sheffield, the prime minister's father-in-law? Is it fair to promise a reported £1bn to Charles Connell over the next 25 years?
I am not particularly egalitarian. I support austerity in the public finances and accept that this may require a bit of smooth with the rough. But George Osborne is going beyond smooth.
British energy policy is chaotic. It is intellectually incoherent, lurching from fashion to fad with each lurch breeding a pile of taxpayer cash and a carnival of lobbyists out to protect it. Never in the history of public subsidy can so much have been paid by so many to so few.
I have sympathy with the wind lobby in one respect. Its members are trying to turn an honest penny and must plan ahead. Just a couple of years ago they were told by wind's most fanatical subsidiser, Chris Huhne, to plan for 10,000 onshore turbines. Contracts were promised. Public money was unlimited. Offshore wind alone would "generate 20,000 British jobs". It was rubbish. The giant Sheringham field is so Norwegian that the country's crown prince was invited to declare it open.
There are almost no British jobs. The German firm Siemens makes most British turbines and sensibly does not rely on British government policy for its investment. It builds on the continent. Its competitor Vestas has pulled the plug on a plant in Kent, and South Korea's Doosan has done likewise in Glasgow. The energy required to mine the turbines' rare minerals and build, import and erect them makes a mockery of their "greenness".
The industry lobby, RenewableUK, on Thursday deplored what it suspected was a "political decision" to cut subsidy, and it was right. The switch reeked of Downing Street's obsession with Ukip, which has shrewdly opposed wind turbines. But an industry that is effectively a state subcontractor must accept such whims. The golden goose would never last.
I have spent two years traipsing Britain in search of the finest views. It is hard to convey the devastating impact of the turbines to those who have not seen them, especially a political elite that never leaves the south-east except for abroad. Fields of these structures are now rising almost everywhere. They are sited irrespective of the wind, since subsidy is paid irrespective of supply, even if there is none. It makes EU agricultural policy a paragon of sanity.
Turbines are to surround Cornwall and stretch along the north Devon coast. They will form a wall off the Dorset shore. They will line Offa's Dyke from Gwent to Shropshire, with a single giant on Clyro Hill looking down the Wye Valley like Rio's Christ the Redeemer. The once desolate Cambrian Mountains are on the way to being an estate of 840 turbines filling views in every direction.
The shires of Northampton, Nottingham and Cambridge are already gathering turbines. Heckington Fen in Lincolnshire may have ones higher than Lincoln cathedral. They are to appear in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, in the Brontë country of Yorkshire and on Spurn point off the Humber.
The wildest coastline left in England, in Northumberland, is being flanked by 70 turbines. In Scotland the Roxburghe array of 400 turbines has turned the once lovely Lammermuir Hills into a power station. Inverness and Caithness are to lose their open vistas, as are the Shetlands and the islands off Argyll. Scottish aristocrats have not seen such a turn in fortune since the Highland clearances.
Britain's landscape has never before been subject to such visual transformation. Human hands have always refashioned the country, urban and rural alike, but they have not industrialised its appearance on remotely this scale. Roads, railway lines, quarries, even towns and cities, are inconspicuous compared to wind turbines. Few of Britain's greatest views will be free of the sight of them.
Mostly the gain is footling. Turbines seldom produce their declared capacity. The one that towers over the M4 at Reading generates just 16% of its capacity. What they really generate is money, up to £30,000 a year each in subsidy. The billions poured into wind would have been far better spent – as energy professor Dieter Helm, the consultants KPMG and others have long argued – in pursuing lower emissions through energy efficiency and cleaner carbon.
Yet the myth that wind is "free" has driven politicians mad. They have chased the length and breadth of the land showering quantities of public money on a tiny handful of the rich. Britain's modern landscape is their memorial.
Builders of proposed wind farm drop plans(Near Everglades)
By Andy Reid, Sun Sentinel7:26 p.m. EST, November 26, 2013
Developers of a disputed energy-producing wind farm have dropped their plans to build 500-foot-tall turbines on the edge of the Everglades, a project representative confirmed Tuesday.
Environmental groups long opposed allowing the Sugarland Wind project to be built on western Palm Beach County farmland. Opponents argued that its towering, whirling blades posed too great a risk to endangered wood storks, Everglades snail kites and other migrating birds.
Despite the risk to birds, the Palm Beach CountyCommission last year allowed the Sugarland Wind proposal to move forward. And this month the Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved a state environmental permit that the wind farm needed for construction.
But with federal regulators were still reviewing the Sugarland Wind proposal, representatives for the Wind Capital Group — the company proposing the wind farm — this week notified the state that they no longer planned to proceed.
"They are no longer pursuing the Sugarland Wind project," Geoff West, the former environmental manager for the project, said Tuesday. "It's sad to see."
West said "market issues" and changes to state law favoring other forms of renewable energy stopped the project, not the bird concerns.
"The environmental issues you can work around," West said. Audubon of Florida and the Sierra Club were among the environmental groups that opposed the Sugarland Wind project, saying its proposed location was too risky for birds drawn to the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee.
"Alternative energy is critical for our future needs, but it must be in the right place. This large-scale project would have posed unreasonable risks to our treasured wildlife," said Jane Graham, Audubon's Everglades policy associate.
The obvious finally is happening after all the greenies mocked the those saying that wildlife killing renewable power like wind and solar weren't up to the task and that we should be utilizing Nuclear power for CO2 free inexpensive power.
Wait -- pro-nuclear environmentalists? Isn't that an oxymoron? Apparently, not so much anymore.
Embracing nuclear is the only way, the scientists believe, to reverse the looming threat of climate change which they blame on fossil fuels. Depending who you ask, they're either abandoning -- or leading -- traditional environmentalists who for a half-century have rejected clean-burning nuclear power as too expensive or too dangerous. Opponents cite disasters at Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile island.
The fear is that time is running out. Without nuclear, the scientists believe global energy consumption will overtake the planet's ability to reverse the buildup of carbon dioxide pollution from burning oil, coal and other fossil fuels. At risk, said Hansen, are disintegrating polar ice sheets and rising sea levels which will threaten coastal regions.
Nuclear power is burgeoning in some parts of the world and shrinking in others. Asia is embracing it -- except Japan -- which is still struggling to figure out how to safely deal with the dangerously radioactive Fukushima nuclear power plant.
"We've got four top guns in the environmental movement telling [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel, 'You're wrong to shut down nuclear,'" said Richter. "I think that's a relatively big deal."
Are we witnessing the birth of a mutiny within the environmental movement? Will typical 21st-century environmentalists eventually embrace the power of the atom? A leading environmental group opposed to nuclear power says no.
"I don't think it's very significant that a few people have changed their minds about nuclear power," said Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Nuclear fuel may burn cleaner, the NRDC says, but comes with too many safety issues and too high of a price tag.
The letter admits "today's nuclear plants are far from perfect." However, "... there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power."
The four scientists say they have no connection to "Pandora's Promise," which blames resistance to nuclear energy on groundless fears rooted in the Cold War, Chernobyl in 1986 and 1979's Three Mile Island.
Nuclear power is dying a slow death in the market place.
Ralph Cavanagh, Natural Resources Defense Council
In the documentary, which debuts on CNN Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, climate change activist and author Mark Lynas says he knew publicly supporting nuclear energy would put his entire career at risk. "I'd have been much better just to keep my mouth shut," he admits in the film. "But I couldn't do that."
Cavanagh said the "movie attempts to establish the proposition that mainstream environmentalists are pouring into nuclear advocacy today. They aren't. I've been in the NRDC since 1979. I have a pretty good idea of where the mainstream environmental groups are and have been. I've seen no movement."
Selling nuclear energy to environmentalists is a tough pitch. Hansen acknowledged that many of them won't easily buy into it. Parts of the community operate like "a religion of sorts, which makes it very difficult," Hansen said. "They're not all objectively looking at the pros and cons."
The NRDC hasn't rejected nuclear power out of hand, Cavanagh said. It constantly evaluates nuclear power and "everything else," he said. "I think that's our obligation." Is it possible to be both an environmentalist and a supporter of nuclear power? "You can be," Cavanagh said.
Hansen has been spreading his message to the community's top influencers.
He tells of a recent meeting with Al Gore where he tried to sell the former vice president on how advanced nuclear technology might stabilize climate change. Gore invited two anti-nuclear advocates to the meeting, Hansen said, and by the time it was all over, Gore was unmoved. "I mean, Al essentially understands that we had better try to develop safer, better nuclear power," said Hansen, "but he won't come out and say that."
Here's what Gore did say publicly about it during a recent Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat: nuclear energy "will continue to play a limited role, and IF the ongoing [research and development] produces cheaper, safer, smaller reactors, they may yet play a more significant role."
Among nuclear energy supporters, France remains a hero nation. In the 1970s, it chose to invest heavily in nuclear power creating a system that boasts some of the cheapest energy and cleanest air on the planet.
Germany puts out about 18% of its power with nuclear. But with the upcoming nuke phase-out, there are doubts about whether Germany can offset its nuclear output with wind and other clean energy sources.
Michael Limburg, vice president of the European Institute for Climate and Energy, told CNN in September that the government's energy targets are "completely unfeasible."
"Of course, it's possible to erect tens of thousands of windmills but only at an extreme cost and waste of natural space," he said. "And still it would not be able to deliver electricity when it is needed."
"Nuclear power is dying a slow death in the market place, which is what matters in determining its future," said Cavanagh.
As an alternative, the NRDC is touting efficiency. Energy-saving technology is becoming so successful, according to a new NRDC report, that efficiency has "significant potential to dramatically reduce power plant emissions." Total U.S. energy use peaked in 2007 and has been trending downward ever since, the NRDC says.
On the other hand, scientists in "Pandora's Promise" claim energy consumption globally could double by 2050 -- and perhaps triple or quadruple by 2100 -- as growing nations like China, India and Brazil start to want more energy.
A United Nations report released last month re-confirmed Hansen's fears. The study concluded that the planet is heating up, the oceans are rising and there's more evidence that neither development is natural.
Hansen, who was among the initial wave of scientists warning about climate change in the 1980s, said Friday he fears most its "irreversible effects."
"Once we get to a certain point and the ice sheets start to disintegrate, then you can't stop it."
Then Hansen paused. "And we're getting very close to that point."
If we stay on the current path, he said, "those are the consequences we'll be leaving to our children. The best candidate to avoid that is nuclear power. It's ready now. We need to take advantage of it."
The photograph, taken at BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah plant in east San Bernardino County, has raised the stakes for a similar project in Riverside County. Months from final state and federal approvals, the Palen solar thermal power system could put two 750-foot-tall solar towers and thousands of reflecting mirrors near two of the region's key wildlife refuges and stopping points for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
The project is roughly 50 miles from both the Salton Sea to the southwest and the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona to the southeast.
"A migrating bird has to be in top form, having the flight feathers in really good shape," said ornithology collections manager Kimball L. Garrett of the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County, who has not seen the picture from Ivanpah but has been concerned about bird deaths at large solar projects.
"If some of its flight feathers are damaged, what does that mean for the rest of the bird's migration?" he said. "It weakens feathers. These are things people don't study because — how can you?"
Trying to estimate how many birds could be injured or killed because of large-scale solar projects and what might be done to prevent deaths has become a pressing concern for solar developers and environmental agencies as these projects multiply. Developers hope to have the Palen project online in 2016.
Of 34 birds reported dead or injured at Ivanpah in September, 15 had melted feathers. Dozens of other bird carcasses, not singed but with critical injuries, have been found in recent months at two solar projects about to go online on public land between Joshua Tree National Park and Blythe, Calif., a town of 20,800 on Interstate 10 near the Arizona border.
Last month, 19 birds, 16 of them water fowl or marsh birds, were found dead at Desert Sunlight, a 550-megawatt photovoltaic plant about 50 miles east of Indio, Calif. The carcass of a Yuma clapper rail, a federally endangered, medium-sized marsh bird, was found at the project in May.
Environmentalists aired their concerns about potential bird deaths at Palen at a recent public hearing on the project, and days later, state officials issued a call for more information on how to minimize chances of birds being singed or burned. A key question the California Energy Commission raised in a Nov. 1 memorandum was how to measure when bird deaths might be excessive enough to consider a temporary shutdown of a plant.
BrightSource, federal, state and local agencies, and environmental and tribal groups are invited, but not required, to provide answers to the commission's questions as part of legal briefs typically submitted during a permitting process for large solar plants.
The problem is the intense radiation — called solar flux — from the project's 170,000 reflecting mirrors that will surround two 750-foot-tall towers that would become the tallest structures in Riverside County.Sunlight from the mirrors will superheat liquid in boilers at the top of the towers, creating steam that in turn will power a turbine.
Pacific Gas & Electric has contracts with BrightSource to buy the electricity from the plant, which could power up to 200,000 homes.
BrightSource declined to comment for this story, and company representatives consistently have avoided discussing bird mortality.
Before a public hearing, the company submitted a presentation on possible methods for scaring birds away. Barking dogs or trained falcons might be effective, depending on the species, but the methods need more research, the report said. Radio-controlled airplanes or water-cannon or shotgun blasts also might prove effective, but only with sustained onsite monitoring. Fake owls might prevent mortality, but only until the birds get used to the statues.
Experts are dubious about most of those methods.
"Owls won't work, barking dogs, cannons making a series of booms — birds tend to habituate to those things," said Robert McKernan, director of the San Bernardino County Museum, who in the 1980s did some of the first studies on bird deaths at an early solar tower project.
"You've got to look at the relative width of that envelope that's off the tower," he said, referring to the solar flux coming off the mirrors that will surround the towers in concentric circles, spreading out over the project's 3,800-acre footprint.
At the same time, both McKernan and Garrett said the bird deaths at solar projects need to be seen in the larger context of mortality rates for migratory birds in general, which are already high from natural and other man-made causes. Millions of birds die yearly flying into windows and buildings.
"A few golden eagles killed by wind turbines is significant — they are large, long-lived birds that don't have high reproduction rates — whereas a dozen mallards or ruddy ducks probably on a population level is pretty insignificant," Garrett said. "The problem is gauging cumulative impacts."
Many migratory bird species are now in decline because of climate change, drought and habitat loss, McKernan said.
The Riverside East solar zone, as the public land between Joshua Tree and Blythe has been designated, is a solar-industrial corridor along I-10 that federal officials once envisioned would have up to 80% of its 148,000 acres in panels or mirrors.
Today, that seems unlikely. Industry trends are toward smaller solar projects and the U.S. Department of Energy's loan-guarantee program has ended. Still, the region could see a significant number of projects.
The first phase of Genesis, a 250-megawatt solar thermal project, using large parabolic troughs instead of solar towers, is scheduled to go online by the end of the year, as will Desert Sunlight, which Next Era Energy owns with GE Energy Financial Services and Sumitomo Corp. of America. The 750-megawatt photovoltaic McCoy project is approved, and its first 250 megawatts are likely to begin construction next year, company officials said.
If approved, Palen would be the second solar tower project in the region. Santa Monica, Calif.-based SolarReserve also expects to break ground on a 150-megawatt project. Two other photovoltaic projects also are earlier along in the pipeline.
Predicting the number of birds at risk if all the projects were to go online is impossible, said Eric Davis, assistant regional director for migratory birds and state programs at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Bird migration studies have to wait for bird migrations," he said. "It's not like we're going to have the answers in two weeks. This is going to be months and years of trying to better understand the problem and then make better management decisions as we gain more scientific understanding."
Along with radiation injuries, scientists are concerned about bird deaths linked to confusion because of the shimmering expanses of solar panels in the desert. At photovoltaic projects such as Desert Sunlight, dark, flat solar panels are spread out over hundreds of acres in what may look like a big lake to migrating birds flying overhead.
Water or shore birds attempting to land on the panels either could hit them with enough force to injure themselves or, stranded on dry land, be unable to take off again.
Autopsies have shown the cause of death for many birds at Desert Sunlight has been blunt force trauma when the animals collide with panels mistaken for water, Davis said.
"With power towers, it's different," he said, referring to Ivanpah. "The solar flux has singed some birds. The heat has denatured the protein in their feathers, and they can't fly."
First Solar, the Arizona company building Desert Sunlight, has downplayed the possibility that the panels draw the birds. More than 60% of carcasses on the site have been found away from panels, said Steve Krum, director of global communications.
The quote from below sums it up well " at the present time, no post-construction remedies, except “curtailment” (i.e., shut-down), have been developed that can “render safe” a wind turbine placed in a location of high avian collision risk"
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 22, 2013
Utility Company Sentenced in Wyoming for Killing Protected Birds at Wind Projects
Duke Energy Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. This case represents the first ever criminal enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unpermitted avian takings at wind projects.
Under a plea agreement with the government, the company was sentenced to pay fines, restitution and community service totaling $1 million and was placed on probation for five years, during which it must implement an environmental compliance plan aimed at preventing bird deaths at the company’s four commercial wind projects in the state. The company is also required to apply for an Eagle Take Permit which, if granted, will provide a framework for minimizing and mitigating the deaths of golden eagles at the wind projects.
The charges stem from the discovery of 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows by the company at its “Campbell Hill” and “Top of the World” wind projects in Converse County between 2009 and 2013. The two wind projects are comprised of 176 large wind turbines sited on private agricultural land.
According to the charges and other information presented in court, Duke Energy Renewables Inc. failed to make all reasonable efforts to build the projects in a way that would avoid the risk of avian deaths by collision with turbine blades, despite prior warnings about this issue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). However, the company cooperated with the USFWS investigation and has already implemented measures aimed at minimizing avian deaths at the sites.
“This case represents the first criminal conviction under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unlawful avian takings at wind projects,” said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. “In this plea agreement, Duke Energy Renewables acknowledges that it constructed these wind projects in a manner it knew beforehand would likely result in avian deaths. To its credit, once the projects came on line and began causing avian deaths, Duke took steps to minimize the hazard, and with this plea agreement has committed to an extensive compliance plan to minimize bird deaths at its Wyoming facilities and to devote resources to eagle preservation and rehabilitation efforts.”
“The Service works cooperatively with companies that make all reasonable efforts to avoid killing migratory birds during design, construction and operation of industrial facilities,” said William Woody, Assistant Director for Law Enforcement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “But we will continue to investigate and refer for prosecution cases in which companies - in any sector, including the wind industry - fail to comply with the laws that protect the public’s wildlife resources.”
More than 1,000 species of birds, including bald and golden eagles, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The MBTA, enacted in 1918, implements this country’s commitments under avian protection treaties with Great Britain (for Canada), Mexico, Japan and Russia. The MBTA provides a misdemeanor criminal sanction for the unpermitted taking of a listed species by any means and in any manner, regardless of fault. The maximum penalty for an unpermitted corporate taking under the MBTA is $15,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense, and five years’ probation.
According to papers filed with the court, commercial wind power projects can cause the deaths of federally protected birds in four primary ways: collision with wind turbines, collision with associated meteorological towers, collision with, or electrocution by, associated electrical power facilities, and nest abandonment or behavior avoidance from habitat modification. Collision and electrocution risks from power lines (collisions and electrocutions) and guyed structures (collision) have been known to the utility and communication industries for decades, and specific methods of minimizing and avoiding the risks have been developed, in conjunction with the USFWS. The USFWS issued its first interim guidance about how wind project developers could avoid impacts to wildlife from wind turbines in 2003, and replaced these with a “tiered” approach outlined in the Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines (2012 LBWEGs), developed with the wind industry starting in 2007 and released in final form by the USFWS on March 23, 2012. The Service also released Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance in April 2013 and strongly recommends that companies planning or operating wind power facilities in areas where eagles occur work with the agency to implement that guidance completely.
For wind projects, due diligence during the pre-construction stage—as described in the 2003 Interim Guidelines and tiers I through III in the 2012 LBWEGs—by surveying the wildlife present in the proposed project area, consulting with agency professionals, determining whether the risk to wildlife is too high to justify proceeding and, if not, carefully siting turbines so as to avoid and minimize the risk as much as possible, is critically important because, unlike electric distribution equipment and guyed towers, at the present time, no post-construction remedies, except “curtailment” (i.e., shut-down), have been developed that can “render safe” a wind turbine placed in a location of high avian collision risk. Other experimental measures to reduce prey, detect and deter avian proximity to turbines are being tested. In the western United States, golden eagles may be particularly susceptible to wind turbine blade collision by wind power facilities constructed in areas of high eagle use.
The $400,000 fine imposed in the case will be directed to the federally-administered North American Wetlands Conservation Fund. The company will also pay $100,000 in restitution to the State of Wyoming, and perform community service by making a $160,000 payment to the congressionally-chartered National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, designated for projects aimed at preserving golden eagles and increasing the understanding of ways to minimize and monitor interactions between eagles and commercial wind power facilities, as well as enhance eagle rehabilitation and conservation efforts in Wyoming. Duke Energy Renewables is also required to contribute $340,000 to a conservation fund for the purchase of land, or conservation easements on land, in Wyoming containing high-use golden eagle habitat, which will be preserved and managed for the benefit of that species. The company must implement a migratory bird compliance plan containing specific measures to avoid and minimize golden eagle and other avian wildlife mortalities at company’s four commercial wind projects in Wyoming.
According to papers filed with the court, Duke Energy Renewables will spend approximately $600,000 per year implementing the compliance plan. Within 24 months, the company must also apply to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a Programmatic Eagle Take Permit at each of the two wind projects cited in the case.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and prosecuted by Senior Counsel Robert S. Anderson of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Conder of the District of Wyoming.
BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) — The town of Falmouth was ordered by a judge on Friday to limit the hours two town-owned wind turbines operate after neighbors blamed them for a series of health problems.
Effective immediately, the energy-generating turbines at the Cape Cod town's wastewater treatment facility are only allowed to operate from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on every day of the week except Sunday, and are not allowed to operate at all on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse wrote in the decision.
Neil and Elizabeth Andersen, who live about a quarter of a mile from the turbines, said they caused "continuous insomnia, headaches, psychological disturbances, dental injuries, and other forms of malaise" they had not suffered prior to the turbines' construction.
"The court finds the Andersens claims that they did not experience such symptoms prior to the construction and operation of the turbines, and that that each day of operation produces further injury, to be credible," the judge wrote.
Continued operation of the turbines at previous levels put residents at risk of "irreparable physical and psychological harm," he judge wrote.
The environmental group Wind Wise Massachusetts called it a landmark decision.
"This is believed to be the first time that a court in the U.S. has ruled that there is sufficient evidence that wind turbines near residential areas are a health hazard to families living nearby," said Virginia Irvine, president of Wind Wise Massachusetts.
The decision has repercussions in other Massachusetts towns where wind turbines are being blamed for health problems, Neil Andersen said.
"It's torture," he said of the turbines' noise and pressure effects. "But this decision is a victory. It gives us some relief."
The 1.65 megawatt turbines were erected about 3½ years ago to power the treatment plant and to create revenue for the town by selling electricity back to the grid.
They ran 24/7 at first, but more recently have been running from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, he said.
Each turbine is almost 400 feet tall from the ground to the tip of the blade at its highest point.
They have been the subject of disagreements and lawsuits between town boards and townwide votes on whether to dismantle them entirely.
The town argued against restricting the hours of operation, saying shorter hours would reduce revenue from sales of energy back to the grid. The judge rejected that argument.
The town's lawyer was not immediately available to comment on the judge's decision.
The judge told the sides to work on a mitigation plan and submit it to the court in 75 days.
Wind turbines blamed in death of estimated 600,000 bats in 2012
BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Wind turbines killed at least 600,000 -- and possibly as many as 900,000 -- bats in the United States in 2012, researchers say.
Writing in the journal BioScience, the researchers said they used sophisticated statistical techniques to infer the probable number of bat deaths at wind energy facilities from the number of dead bats found at 21 locations.
Bats, which play an important role in the ecosystem as insect-eaters, are killed at wind turbines not only by collisions with moving turbine blades but also by the trauma resulting from sudden changes in air pressure that occur near a fast-moving blade, the study said.
Study author Mark Hayes of the University of Colorado notes that 600,000 is a conservative estimate -- the true number could be 50 percent higher than that -- and some areas of the country might experience much higher bat fatality rates at wind energy facilities than others.
Hayes said the Appalachian Mountains have the highest estimated fatality rates in his analysis.
SPEAK OUT on Wind Turbines! The State of Massachusetts is asking for you opinion on wind turbine siting! Please send this to anyone anywhere with an opinion or experience with wind turbines. Also send us a copy at email@example.com so we can publish it. DEADLINE for the state is Dec. 6 2013....so act now! SAVEOURSEASHORE
NOTICE OF VOTE AND ORDER OPENING INVESTIGATION
D.P.U. 13-165 October 31, 2013
Investigation by the Department of Public Utilities on its own Motion into Best Practices for the Siting of Land-Based Wind Energy Facilities
On October 31, 2013, the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) on its own motion opened an investigation into best practices for the siting of land-based wind energy facilities. The investigation will result in the development of wind energy facility siting guidance based on sound scientific, technical, and policy information. Specifically, the Department will examine the following topics related to land-based wind energy facilities: design, environmental and human health, safety, construction impacts, socio-economic impacts, decommissioning, and the review process for wind projects.
Any person with an interest in the matters discussed above is invited to submit written comments to the Department by December 6, 2013 in response to the questions posed by the Department in its Order opening this investigation, available on the Department’s website: http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/siting-division-of-the-dpu/siting-division-dockets.html. Any person desiring further information regarding this notice should contact M. Kathryn Sedor, Hearing Officer, Department of Public Utilities, at Kathryn.Sedor@state.ma.us or (617) 305-3525. Following receipt and review of the comments, the Department anticipates holding public hearings beginning in January.
A WINDFARM has been ordered to demolish ten turbines and pay compensation and finesafter it was successfully sued by a couple.
Speaking to Le Figaro newspaper, the couple's lawyer, Philippe Bodereau, said: “This decision is very important because it demonstrates to all those who put up with windfarms with a feeling of powerlessness that the battle is not in vain, even against big groups, or authorities who deliver building permits, that legal options are available to everyone, that we have a right to live in peace and that people can do other things than suffer.”
The couple bought their 18th century listed property, the Château de Flers, in 1993.
A tribunal in Montpellier ruled that the couple had suffered due to the “degradation of the environment, resulting from a rupture of a bucolic landscape and countryside”. It also agreed the couple had suffered from the noise of the turbines and from the flashing lights.
“The situation, instantly out of place, permanent and quickly unbearable, created a problem that went beyond the typical inconveniences of neighbours and constituted a violation of property rights,” ruled the judgement.
The value of the property had no bearing on the ruling.
The wind farm owners, Compagnie du Vent, have been given four months to take down the turbines, which were erected in 2007 on two sites next to the property in Nord-Pas-de-Calais. It has appealed the decision.
“Our projects are in the general interest, following the Grenelle de l'environnement and not in the interest of individuals,” said the president of Compagnie du Vent, Thierry Conil. “However, it's right that democracy should allow people to take action.”
The two sites are a €20m investment and produce enough electricity for 22,000 people according to the company.
We the undersigned are Wellfleet registered voters, tax payers, non-resident tax payers, visitors and tourists. We strenuously oppose the proposed construction of one or more wind turbines at the Massachusetts Audubon Society (MAS) Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (WBWS). We formally request that MAS and WBWS cease any and all activities related to any further action regarding a proposal to construct any wind turbine/s at the WBWS and publicly announce their intention to do so.
It is very important that every adult who is 18 and over sign the petition individually. There is an option to list yourself and any comments you may choose to write as anonymous.
In Wellfleet, 61% of the land in the town is Cape Cod National Seashore, a US National Park. If you know Wellfleet, you know it is a uniquely beautiful slice of heaven on earth. If you have not visited, Wellfleet is a place I think is a must on your list of places to visit. Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Wellfleet. Unfortunately Mass Audubon wants to construct a wind turbine in their sanctuary. Please sign the petition to help stop this wind turbine proposal.
We are asking everyone to sign. People who live & vote in Wellfleet, please sign. It is critical that your voice be heard. Please also let everyone you know about this outrageous situation. People who own property in Wellfleet but do not vote in town, please sign with Wellfleet listed as your town. People who are frequent visitors to Wellfleet and love this town it is so very important for you to sign the petition and to let people know you oppose this wind turbine. People who are tourists, your signature on this petition will help it be seen that tourists will not visit the town if there are wind turbines. Most people in Wellfleet depend on the tourist industry in order to make a living in Wellfleet.
Thank you all very much. Every signature is important & is sincerely appreciated.
Were you told that Wind Turbines can survive Hurricane and strong winds? You are familiar with storms in your area over the years? Hurricane Bob 1991? 125mph in Truro… 1938 Hurricane 186mph gusts? Sandy 90 plus mph, Hurricane Carol 1954 135 mph, then there is the Pre Global Warming Great Colonial Hurricane 1635 with estimated 140mph winds …don’t want to bore you with recounting all the storms over the years? Do you know the survival speed of your turbine? Wind Turbines are new technology that are not time tested and regularly fail well below their specifications. That is if the wind don’t go above the specification, which they most certain can. Any money spent on a wind turbine is most definitely a GAMBLE on survival! Ever heard of a hydro plant destroyed in a wind storm? Then there is the gamble of killing birds and bats at a WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, but we assume you are ok with that.
Chinese typhoon knocks out 17 of 25 Vestas wind turbines
CHINA: Eight wind turbines have blown down by typhoon-strength winds in south China's Guangdong Province.
Typhoon Usagi, the most powerful this year, also broke off blades of another nine wind turbines when it hit the Honghaiwan Wind Farm in coastal Shanwei City, Guangdong.
According to Windpower Intelligence, Honghaiwan consist of 25 imported Vestas V47 600kW turbines. The remaining wind turbines need maintenance to see whether they can operate normally.
According to the manager of the wind farm, the typhoon has led to nearly CNY 100 million ($16 million) loss to the wind farm. The wind farm was hit by a similar typhoon in 2003, with 13 out of 25 turbines damaged causing 10 million yuan loss.
The wind farm was developed by Guangdong Jihua Wind Energy Company in 2000 in Honghaiwan (Honghai Bay). The first stage project went into operation in 2003, totaling 16.5MW. It was expanded with another 20.4MW in 2004.
Energy and Environment Policy Adviser and Parliamentary Assistant to Struan Stevenson MEP at the European Parliament in Brussels
Posted: 23/09/2013 11:18
Another week, another plethora of news reports attacking wind farms. The latest headlines include; November date for Trump's wind farm challenge", "Approval for wind turbines sparks protest at 'ring of steel'" and "Wind turbines may be killing bats by 'exploding' their lungs", to name but a few. Yet will the stories about Donald Trump, exploding bats and Scotland's version of the Iron Curtain help to stem the spread of mammoth turbines across our land and seas?
Still, it was only two years ago that anyone who publicly opposed wind turbines was considered a social pariah and practically ostracised from society as if they were modern-day lepers. Things have changed. Not a day goes by without a new story slamming wind energy or highlighting the increasing wind farm opposition across the UK. Just as it was once popular to support wind energy, it has almost...almost...become fashionable to oppose wind turbines.
The problem is that many of the news reports are nothing more than filler. If they are printed on a Tuesday, they are forgotten about by Wednesday; such is the nature of the fast-paced, up-to-the minute, 24-hour news cycle that is available to us. Despite the constant barrage of anti-wind press, the spread of massive industrial wind turbines continues unabated.
In the last year alone we have seen news reports outlining how wind farms have surrounded some of Britain's most untouched landscape and blighted some of our most bucolic and treasured towns and villages. We have heard horror stories about planning departments ignoring guidelines and forcing homeowners to live next to monstrous whirling steel turbines. We have been warned that property values have plummeted due to the inappropriate placement of wind farms and we have seen hundreds of anti-wind protest groups spring up across the nation, incensed at the lack of democracy in the planning system.
We have read how turbines impact human health and after years of mockery from pro-wind groups, we now have the first peer-reviewed, science-based report confirming that turbines do have harmful impacts on humans.
We have watched videos of turbines exploding in high winds and crashing to the ground in storms. We have witnessed precious habitats and ecosystems torn apart to make way for turbines and we have seen stories about birds being chopped to bits. We have heard how offshore wind farms will destroy precious undersea carbon stores, affect aquatic animals and close important fishing grounds.
We have been told that the tourist industry will be damaged and the golf industry will take a hit. We read explanations of how sailing routes will be impacted and even how Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent could be hampered. The Ministry of Defence has objected to many wind farms which will affect radar systems and we have even seen how turbines could prevent the detection of secret nuclear weapons tests.
Mountaineers, ramblers, cyclists, equestrians, aviation enthusiasts and bird-watchers have protested. Celebrities have come out to support anti-wind campaigns. Members of every political party, except the Greens, have spoken out against turbines. Over 100 MPs petitioned David Cameron to stop the madness. Members of the European Parliament have repeatedly urged the European Commission to get involved. The Scottish Government has received 10,000 objections from people who oppose wind farms - and that was just for large developments (>50MW).
We have read that schoolchildren are being utilised as pro-wind propaganda tools and we have even seen how the United Nations has ruled that the UK is in breach of international law regarding public participation and the right to receive information in regard to wind farm developments. In the last few weeks, we have heard how IPCC climate change projections, which formed the basis for renewable energy targets, have been called into question by leading scientists.
We have watched as turbines have had to be shut down in high winds and how consumers foot the bill when they are. We have seen their minimal contribution the UK energy supply, even when they are needed most. We have been affected when energy bills have skyrocketed thanks in part to a misguided focus on wind energy. Unfortunately we have also heard how millions of households have been forced into crippling fuel poverty, now having to choose between food and fuel.
We have read about noise abatement orders and residents' legal challenges. We have seen some communities torn apart by wind farm proposals and others handed bribes in return for their silence. We have read how landowners pocket exorbitant amounts of cash in return for housing turbines and we have seen developers reap vast profits from the UK's subsidy regime. We have heard how peat bogs have been ripped up and forests torn down to make way for wind farms. We are now being told that wind energy has not made even the slightest difference to carbon emissions.
We have even seen those who peddle ridiculous pro-wind arguments about green jobs debunked and refuted. There is enough credible evidence and enough of an opposition to end a policy of support for industrial wind energy. Yet still we see wind farms popping up all around the country.
Isn't it about time that we looked at all the evidence cumulatively? Isn't it about time that we just chalked it up as a loss and tried something else?
Massachusetts Has 21 Confimed Wind Turbine Health Locations
By LILLI-ANN GREEN
September 26, 2013
Many families and communities throughout Cape Cod and our commonwealth are being severely affected by land-based wind turbines. Individuals have developed health problems. Real estate prices have dropped. Otherwise peaceful towns are in an uproar over existing and proposed turbines.
There are concerns on both sides. Some people say that those living near wind turbines have become ill or can't sell their homes, and that solar energy is more fiscally responsible and better for the environment.
Others say wind energy will save communities money and provides an appropriate source of renewable energy.
However, the fact is there are 21 confirmed locations in Massachusetts where people living close to wind turbines are reporting health problems they did not have before construction of nearby wind turbines.
The symptoms they report include sleep disturbance and deprivation, headaches, ringing in the ears, tachycardia (fast heart rate), dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, panic and loss of concentration.
We need to know why these people are experiencing health problems. Over three years ago, I and other Massachusetts citizens requested that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health conduct a comprehensive study of the public health and safety impacts of the land-based wind turbines.
More than a year later, a panel was appointed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Following the department's release of what it characterized at the time as preliminary findings were more than 500 comments with more than 4,600 pages. Most comments were highly critical of the limited literature review, the panel and the process. All meetings were held in secret with no public participation. No meeting minutes or accounts of any of the proceedings have been released.
State Rep. Sarah Peake has introduced a bill (H. 2048) that calls for the commonwealth to convene a health commission to study the health impacts from land-based wind turbines. This legislation is about conducting honest scientific and medical research, developing educational materials and developing training for health care professionals. Massachusetts citizens deserve no less.
H. 2048 is modeled after the highly successful Lyme Disease Commission bill, for good reason. In the early days of Lyme disease, just like the situation today with wind turbines, people who became sick and health care professionals did not have enough information to understand the problem. Many medical professionals told those who complained of health problems that the symptoms were psychosomatic. This assessment proved wrong.
It is time to quiet the rhetoric and make decisions regarding wind turbines by finding the real facts about the health impacts of the turbines.
Lilli-Ann Green of Wellfleet is CEO of a health care consulting and quality improvement company and a board member of Wind Wise — Massachusetts, a statewide organization, and Windwise — Cape Cod, a regional organization, both being alliances of grass-roots environmental groups and individuals
The recently reported comments of Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Director Robert Prescott regarding Mass Audubon's proposal to install a 142-foot wind turbine in the sanctuary are disingenuous and untrue.
Mr. Prescott says the proposed wind turbine is "no different than a half-dozen smaller turbines that already exist in several neighboring towns." He is also quoted as saying that it's "not about the project, it's about the process," and that if the townspeople don't want it, Mass Audubon won't pursue the project.
In fact, as Mr. Prescott knows, there has been vigorous opposition to the proposal and the townspeople do not want the wind turbine.
The proposed wind turbine would be much larger than ones in neighboring towns. And none of those other wind turbines have been erected in the heart of a wildlife preserve — which is one of the chief objections to the radical Mass Audubon proposal.
Mass Audubon has been dishonest with its members, the town of Wellfleet, the Cape Cod Commission and the general public at every stage of the process — relentlessly spinning the wind turbine proposal. Such deceit is unworthy of Mass Audubon — and fooling no one.
28.73 birds and bats killed per turbine so far this year ("per season") at Sheffield, VT Wind Turbine....and they had the turbine using different cut in speeds during some of the monitoring!!! It seems like the numbers will be much higher on a normal yearly basis!
13.17 birds killed per turbine. But this during "operational mitigation study"...read theychanged the cut-in speed of the turbine...so the number would be lower!!!
14.65 bats killed per turbine ....But again..."The operational mitigation study was conducted during Period 2, at which time
half of the turbines at the project site were curtailed. As such, the bat fatality estimates for the
project site are actual fatalities observed rather than estimates of fatalities had the wind facility
been fully-operational during the summer and fall season. As a result, it is possible that the
estimated bat fatalities during Period 2 are lower than would have occurred otherwise.
Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus)
Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis)
Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
We found a total of 35 birds of 12 species from 1 April–31 October. Bird carcasses were found
at 13 of the 16 turbines. A total of 34 birds were used in bias trials. Overall searcher efficiency
was estimated to be 45%, with 100% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 100, 100), 38% (95% CI:
21, 56), and 33% (95% CI: 19, 47), for Easy, Moderate, and Difficult/Very Difficult visibility
classes, respectively. Carcass persistence was estimated to be 12.51 days (95% CI: 5.26, 32.73).
Total bird fatality estimates for the project site for the entire season was 211 (95% CI: 147, 321),
with an estimated 13.17 birds killed per turbine (95% CI: 9.20, 20.05) and 5.27 per MW (95%
CI: 3.68, 8.02). The operational mitigation study was conducted during Period 2, at which time
half of the turbines at the project site were curtailed. As such, the bird fatality estimates for the
project site are actual fatalities observed rather than estimates of fatalities had the wind facility
been fully-operational during the summer and fall season. As a result, it is possible that the
estimated bird fatalities during Period 2 are lower than would have occurred otherwise.
We found a total of 87 bats of three species from 1 April–31 October, all of which were
migratory tree-roosting bats; no cave-roosting species were found during the study. Hoary bat
(Lasiurus cinereus) consisted of 54% of the bat carcasses found, while eastern red bat (Lasiurus
borealis) and silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) made up 30% and 16%, respectively.
Bat carcasses were found at all 16 turbines. A total of 73 bat carcasses from the project site were
used in searcher efficiency trials. Overall searcher efficiency was estimated to be 48%, with
100% (95% CI: 100, 100), 43% (95% CI: 25, 61), and 37% (95% CI: 23, 54), for Easy,
Moderate, and Difficult/Very Difficult visibility classes, respectively. Sixty-one fresh bats were
used in the carcass persistence trials, which was estimated to be 6.92 days(95% CI: 4.85, 10.53).
Total bat fatality estimates for the project site for the entire season was 235 (95% CI: 160, 361),
with an estimated 14.65 bats killed per turbine (95% CI: 10.06, 22.56) and 5.86 per MW (95%
CI: 4.02, 9.02). The operational mitigation study was conducted during Period 2, at which time
half of the turbines at the project site were curtailed. As such, the bat fatality estimates for the
project site are actual fatalities observed rather than estimates of fatalities had the wind facility
been fully-operational during the summer and fall season. As a result, it is possible that the
estimated bat fatalities during Period 2 are lower than would have occurred otherwise.
Would you be willing to share with us the wind turbine post construction Avian & Bat Monitoring Reports for Mass Maritime Academy, Falmouth, Kingston, Hull, Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Mount Wachusett Community College or other Mass based wind turbines? Each of the projects is very open providing pre-construction estimates of avian & bat impact and promise to perform monitoring. We even saw where Mass Audubon Society requested monitoring reports. We would assume with your due diligence concerning wind power you would have carefully studied the actual impacts? Public disclosure of deaths from wind turbines in Mass. seems to be a bit opaque. We request that you publicly disclose these reports especially to your membership, of the actual real world deaths of bats and birds in Massachusetts from Wind Turbines. We hope that these reports are not purposely hidden, to deny the public actual impact information? Below are couple reports from others states. Since you are experts in Massachusetts Wildlife seeking to build your own fleet of wind turbines in sensitive habitat, we would naturally assume you are aware of these reports and honest enough to share them. We would love for you to assuage our concern that wind turbines would kill high numbers of birds and bats at Wildlife Sanctuaries with lots of flying creatures. We believe you have quoted the lobbyist American Wind Energy Association claim that 1-2 deaths per turbine per year. We believe those number are not based on any evidence and would be extremely subjective to location. Is the AWEA your only source?
Attached you will find a letter from The Supervising Zoologist at the DEP in NJ concerning the Atlantic City Wind Turbines which were built in proximity to a Salt Marsh. Note Atlantic City’s wind turbines are not in a Wildlife Sanctuary. Here Is what she said: “ If the Atlantic City array had been proposed today, the DEP would have denied the project due to its location.”
Here are a collection of letters to Massachusetts Audubon Society Director Bob Prescott asking to not build a bird and bat killing wind turbine in the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
July 9 2013
Dear Mr. Prescott:
I am surprised to hear that you are considering construction of an industrial wind turbine at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. I am sure you must be aware that these machines kill bats and birds. I seems so out of place to locate such a machine at the sanctuary. You may not be aware of what a poor source of energy wind turbines are. I suggest that you google "John Droz" and peruse his writings. He is an engineer who has critically evaluated wind turbines and explains why they ARE NOT THE ANSWER to our energy issues.
Please consider solar, geothermal, and energy conservation measures more carefully.
Our membership depends on your decision.
Al and Kathy Weyman
July 9 2013
Dear Mr. Prescott,
At your open house I explained to many of your colleagues how studies are now showing that wind turbines don’t do much if anything to reduce greenhouse gases. Since you have decided to erect an industrial machine that kills birds to which your facility should provide sanctuary, one can only assume that you think you are fighting climate change by installing your turbine. You are mistaken.
I am a chemical engineer and understand efficiency of facilities like power plants. They are designed to run at the same capacity (steady state) and not to be cycled up and down. If wind turbines are put in the mix, the energy from the turbines must go in the grid first, forcing power plants to cycle to lower capacity. This cycling up and down (due to variation in the wind) is highly inefficient and generates carbon dioxide at rates near what would happen at steady state. Think about an Indy race car driving in Manhattan to improve gas mileage. I am sure you also know that wind energy generator require 100% backup from conventional power plants in case there is no wind.
I did promise your colleagues that I would provide some reports to back up these claims. I have done so here with three reports. There are numerous more. I am sure you will say that these highly scientific studies are not “peer reviewed,” but I would challenge you to find “peer reviewed” studies that refute these cases.
Below you will find the titles of the reports with abstracts and links to the reports online:
Windenergy in the Irish power system.
This article describes the influence of wind energy on the CO2 output of the fossil-fired generation of electricity in Ireland. Where most available publications on this subject are based on models, the present study makes use of real-time production data. It is shown, that in absence of hydro energy the CO2 production of the conventional generators increases with wind energy penetration. The data shows that the reduction of CO2 emissions is at most a few percent, if gas fired generation is used for balancing a 30% share of wind energy.
The impact of wind generated electricity on fossil fuel consumption.
Wind turbines produce electricity which is delivered to the grid. Variations in wind velocity cause yield variations. Conventional power stations are forced to compensate these variations by adjusting their output. This has a negative effect on the efficiency of the latter stations. Using data provided by CBS, the Dutch Institute for Statistics, an estimate is made of the so called “turning point”. This is the point where the efficiency reduction of conventional power stations balances out the fuel saving of the wind turbines, and where the CO2 emission reduction turns negative as well. In the Netherlands the data for the year 2007 show this to be the case at an efficiency reduction of all power stations of about 2 %. The Dutch government uses an incorrect formula for calculating the fuel and emission saving from wind energy. On this subject parliament has been incorrectly advised by government. In addition, fuel costs required for initial installation of wind turbines are substantial.
Application of wind energy without adequate buffer and storage facilities serves no green purpose.
How Less Became More: Wind, Power and Unintended Consequences in the Colorado Energy Market
Wind energy promises a clean, renewable resource that uses no fossil fuel and generates zero emissions. Careful examination of the data suggests that the numbers do not add up as expected. The “must take” provisions of Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standard require that other sources of generation, such as coal plants, must be “cycled” to accommodate wind power. This cycling makes coal generating units operate much less efficiently…so inefficiently, that these units produce significantly greater emissions. This study reviews the data that supports this conclusion, outlines mitigation measures which can be used to realize the full potential of wind generation, and provides recommendations for policy makers.
We are aware that you will have received numerous communications with respect to the turbine proposal for the Mass Audubon Society Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
We add our voices from the North American Platform Against Wind Power to the local protest. Our organization works with many other groups around the world, and we are closely tied with EPAW, the European Platform Against Wind, which has more than 600 member groups. All of these groups variously work to educate on the foibles of wind power. (There are an estimated 2,000 plus groups now.)
Wind turbines are not green, but massively impact wildlife, birds, bats, and habitat. They do not assist with climate change at all, but evidence shows that the effects are incredibly damaging to all aspects of the environment. Wind turbines do not even create meaningful energy. With about 140,000 turbines, world wide, there is less than 1/2 of one percent of the world's energy produced. We need to emphasize that this "system" is one of fraud and tightly woven with government incentives that increase power rates for consumers of every description, which contributes to job losses.
Industrial wind factories are facing universal condemnation now. Germany calls wind power a fiasco. The UK is mired in thousands of turbines, which are widely seen as a scam. For a quick read, please consult Dr. John Etherington's short essay dealing with 30 years of experience with wind: The Wind Farm Scam.
It is extremely problematic to have an "emblematic" turbine at a wildlife Sanctuary. Actually, it is problematic everywhere, but especially lacking in integrity in this instance. Please consider a recent victory over a proposed 9 turbine installation at Ostrander Point in Ontario. This was overturned after a lengthy legal battle called the Environmental Review Tribunal, because it was ascertained that the habitat for the rare Blanding's Turtle would be irreparably harmed. It is well known that the Cape Cod National Seashore houses an incredible array of life, also rare plant life, and this must be protected in perpetuity.
We append some recent articles for your perusal. The death rates of birds and bats from wind turbine installations in the USA is now estimated to be between 37 and 42 MILLION per year. Some species are now slated for extinction.
Please do not add Audubon to this machine of destruction. It is only the developers who get rich.
"Dennis O’Connell, an opponent of the turbine, said he and Jim Rogers, another critic of the project, visited the turbines at Vinalhaven, Maine, and Newburyport. “What I saw furthered my resolve that there are going to be negative impacts from this project,” O’Connell said. He challenged the selectmen to visit Vinalhaven “and then go to your proposed site in the heart of the Cape Cod National Seashore and see if that is what you want to do to this property.”
You are charged with an important mission. Please visit: http://www.massaudubon.org/about/mission_and_vision.php for a refresher.
I have to question your vision when I hear that you are considering erecting a wind turbine in the midst of a wildlife sanctuary. No doubt there are serious concerns about our species impact on our environment, but aren't you making things worse? Wind turbines are just plain threatening to birds. Imagine if some benevolent entity purported to create a safe peaceful environment just for you, and then he puts a giant food processor in your path.
Why don't you consider a passive solar array or put your effort (and our money) into conservation and education?
I've always respected The Audubon Society, but this move makes me question whether I've been putting my faith (and money) into the wrong organization.
July 8 2013
Dear Mr. Prescott,
I'm a resident of Martha's Vineyard where two 55kW 140' turbines were installed a couple years ago. Their installation was a big mistake. They've ruined their neighborhoods and caused some individuals sensitive to the menacing character of the visual spin and flicker to move from the island, others not to return seasonally to their properties which they'd treasured for generations. Many neighbors are just miserable being within sight and earshot of them. The character of our south shore beaches have totally changed from bucolic to stupid, since these things are absolutely worthless, grand protrusions into the sky which proclaim 'so-good, so-good,' altho' they're anything but.
I've sailed into your beautiful town and found it one of the few remaining unspoiled treasures even in the whole Cape and Islands area. I recently drove there for Preston's funeral, and its isolation and natural beauty took my breath away.
How could anyone be so blind to truth and beauty, so dismissive of all that so many have worked to protect for generations upon generations as to even propose such a thing as a 142' high worthless, destructive intrusion into that area? I'm appalled. I trust wiser heads will save Wellfleet, WBWS and the surrounding coastal communities from such idiocy.
July 10 2013
Mr. Bob Prescott, Director
Massachusetts Audubon Society
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Dear Mr. Prescott,
As a birder with ties to Cornell University and other ornithology organizations world-wide, I am shocked at the position that you have taken in support of the industrial turbine proposed to be erected at the Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary. As a resident of a neighboring Cape community, I have visited the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary many times to study and enjoy the birds, as well as bats and other wildlife. It is inconceivable to me that you and MAB would endorse erection of an industrial turbine to dominate this pristine landscape and to disrupt the natural environment with man-made noise, vibrations and visuals that are disturbing to humans and wildlife and pose a deadly threat to bird-life and bats. With many energy alternatives to consider, we should not be sacrificing the sanctity of WBWS to the interests of big wind energy.
In your role as Director, you are vested with a duty to uphold the mission of the Massachusetts Audubon Society and to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife for all time. I share your commitment to the environment and to finding smart, efficient alternatives to produce necessary energy. But the myths about the benefits of industrial turbines for small coastal communities are unraveling daily around the world. I urge you to please work with our community to find a different solution that will not compromise the mission of MAS or the sacred trust that the community has put into your hands.
This projects a new light on wind turbines, which have turned to become ecological traps instead of planet savers. You may thus forget about "siting wind turbines carefully": it's useless,
as many bird and bat species are attracted to them from miles away, often to their death. Even small turbines seem to attract them.
This is a whole new ball game, and by placing a wind turbine in your bird sanctuary, however "small" the machine, you will be committing a crime against birds, bats, and biodiversity.
Your wind turbine would please the wind industry, which I predict would use it as "proof" that wind turbines pose no danger to bird populations - since the "prestigious" Audubon Society approves of a wind turbine in a wildlife sanctuary.
As you have been warned of the dangers to wildlife, your going ahead with this project would evidence a collusion on your part with the wind industry, which could only further damage your reputation.
I came to know that there are plans for placing a wind turbine in an area where wildlife is highly valued and taken care of and where people are living close by ( the Massachussets Audubon Society Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary). It is my sincerely concern that the building of this windturbine will damage the health of the people and the animals.
The responsibility for such a big impact on the inhabitants of our mother earth should not be taken lightly.
I know that the people who earn the big money will tell about the advantages of the so called 'green' energy of windturbines. I can tell you, this is a lie. A lie that is traveling over the world like a malign virus and is infecting the people who are greedy and blind.
I advise you to contact Lilli Green, who is very well documented about the aspects of windturbines when it comes to the side effects, especially when it comes to health. And I wish you much wisdom in the decision to place this windturbine or not.
Member of Platform Storm in the Netherlands Specialised in the health effects of windturbines
July 11 2013
Dear Mr Prescott
I am writing to you from England to protest most strongly against the application to erect a wind turbine at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
My name is Marion Fitzgerald and I am the chairperson of an organisation called Friends of Rural Cumbria's Environment (FORCE). Our group was formed in 2003 in opposition to inappropriate wind energy development in this country. It is important to emphasise that we are not opposed to all wind energy. However, we have learned over the years that inappropriately sited wind turbines can impact on the health and wellbeing of local residents, injure and displace bird and bat populations and affect property values.
There are also a number of studies produced in England and Scotland which demonstrate that the presence of wind turbines can deter tourists from visiting an area which, in turn, will impact on the local economy. I have first hand experience of this as an accommodation provider just outside of the much celebrated English Lake District, an area which has suffered much in recent years from the over development of wind energy. You may be interested to note the following research from Scotland which indicates that approx 20% of tourists would be inclined to avoid an area with wind turbines.
The prospect of losing one fifth of the local tourist economy should be a major consideration in any proposal to erect wind turbines. Even more disturbingly, the Conservation charity, John Muir Trust, has published the results of a poll revealing that 43% of people in Britain who visit scenic areas in the UK for their natural heritage and beauty would be less likely to visit a scenic area where wind turbines are present.
Friends of Rural Cumbria's Environment wish to formally object to the application for a wind turbine at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary for the reasons above given.
Marion Fitzgerald (Chair)
July 11, 2013
To: Bob Prescott, Director
Massachusetts Audubon Society
From: Marie Stamos,
Re: Proposed Industrial Wind Turbine Project at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Center
Mr. Prescott and those copied, on July 9, 2013, I attended a public hearing held by The Joint Committee On Public Health at the State House. I attended in support of H.2048 proposed by Representative Sarah K. Peake. In essence, the Bill would establish a commission to study the health impacts from wind turbines and to protect the health of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Below is a letter I wrote yesterday to the Joint Committee and, also, those who supported Representative Peake's Bill.
Each of you should have been there. Attendance would have given you insight into the truths of the industrial wind turbine and reason to question your industrial wind turbine project.
I must ask why you would intentionally disrupt or deface a place of such beauty, peace, quiet, solitude, a refuge for humans and beasts and birds?
Would you place an industrial wind turbine at the Grand Canyon, or at the reflection pool opposite the Washington Monument? Well, it is no more appropriate in a designated Wildlife Sanctuary.
Has any one of you read The Massachusetts Audubon Mission and Values statement lately. If this is not your Mission, your values, your vision, perhaps, each of you should step down from your commitment to the Mass Audubon. I call your attention to "Vision":
" Our Vision A Massachusetts in which nature — whether found in a city park or deep inside the forests of western Massachusetts or within an urban greenway, or along the 1,500 miles of Massachusetts coastline — is valued as essential to quality of life in the Commonwealth, and people live with appreciation and respect for the complex ecological systems that sustain life on earth, working together to ensure that they are protected. "
Your proposal to bring an industrial wind turbine to a wildlife center and what is written in your mission statement are at totally opposite purposes. The industrial wind turbine is a destructive, toxic invasion of what you claim to be important and, please do not fall back on the "conservation" word; the industrial wind turbine is not about conservation. From the mountains to the shoreline, and including your wildlife center, this agenda is about destruction not conservation.
I am inspired by your Mission Statement, your never changing commitment. Read it and fall back on it when you refuse to allow this 14-story building, this killer of birds, this distraction to the beauty of the location, this high maintenance noisy, invasive machine (think a machine in a wild life sanctuary) to be foisted upon you in the name of conservation.
I have read or heard that if the industrial wind turbine causes problems you would remedy the problems. Once built, there is no remedy as you will see and understand. My letter, the other side of the story follows:
July 10, 2013
To: The Joint Committee On Public Health and Legislator Supporters of H.2048
Yesterday, I attended the Joint Committee On Public Health Environmental Health hearings.
There were many concerns expressed by many people from nuclear plant safety and evacuation to flame retardants. My specific reason for attending was because I, my community, Quincy, were spared the misfortune of becoming industrial wind turbine agenda victims because of a decision our Mayor, made in February 2012 to not approvc the proposed industrial wind turbine project in Quincy.
I must add here that from 2010 when a community meeting in Quincy produced very favorable response to the proposed industrial wind turbine project to 2012 when, and after, the people of the community researched the industrial wind turbine and found that there were world-wide health complaints and questions about the safety, the economic and the environmental benefits, many new statistics and facts were produced by highly qualified scientists and researchers to make the technology questionable. Since 2012 there has been even more information forthcoming. Based on newer safe distancing information, it was later determined that 28 streets would have been impacted by the project after completion.
On July 2, 2008 when Governor Patrick signed the "Green Communities Act", we, all, were enthusiastic about a green future; greenwashing had begun and we overlooked the common sense aspects; cities and towns started to reshape and eliminate protective zoning with the people's support; we gave license to build 50-story machines in areas formerly protected by residential zoning and towns where no 50-story building would ever be allowed were accepting of this addition to the community in the name of green and renewable. Many lessons were learned and have been learned since then and, tragically, through personal experiences such as those expressed before you at the Public Health Hearing yesterday.
Because we were spared, a group, at times large, at times small, but always watchful and supportive has followed closely the experiences of other cities and towns which did not escape the industrial wind turbine. Various of us have tracked the progress of Falmouth, Scituate, Fairhaven, Plymouth, Kingston, the Hoosac project, Peru, to mention a few and there are those who have attended various Board of Health meetings and Selectmen's meetings to show support. We follow the WindWiseMA site for constantly updated material and information. We have been overwhelmed, at times, knowing that we could have been those people.
I was present at one Board of Health meeting when a stoic police officer, with a pregnant wife, both sadly in need of sleep, broke down crying recounting the story of his two-year old daughter standing at a window visually flinching each time the turbine blade dropped and caused flicker. I suspect the natural instinct of fight-or-flight response, referred to yesterday, kicked in and protected this two-year old child from who knows what perceived danger.
I feel that in order for each of you to truly understand the ordeal the people who commented yesterday have gone through, you must obtain minutes and video and newspaper accountings of the various meetings, most particularly of the Kingston, Scituate, Falmouth, Fairhaven town meetings. For those who testified, this has been a three-year up-hill fight for the return of their quality of life with many promises, little action, with no success.
The town fathers were for the most part, as expressed by those victimized, dismissive and insulting with traumatic results. The "replays" will give you an idea of why yesterday's hearing was more like the baring of one's soul; you listened, you took note, you commented. Representative Sanchez actually asked people who spoke to share their personal experiences and "speak from the heart" and Representative Lyons asked what the Committee could do. All of the Committee members appeared to have genuine concern.
Perhaps, the first thing to do is for each of you to determine a way to convince, the local Boards of Health that it is o.k. to exercise their rights and assume their responsibilities and shut the turbines down because they are unhealthy and, they would stay down, until every fact possible is known about the health impacts of the industrial wind turbine. This would be, in fact, enacting a moratorium on the present and proposed industrial wind turbines projects until H.2048 is reviewed, addressed, implemented, and results of health impact studies are known. This seems the humane thing to do. These turbines cannot remain active through this process.
I, personally, believe the town fathers fear law suits by developers because of commitments made through ill-conceived and not thoroughly researched contracts they were complicit in creating and entered into with developers. These contracts were entered into because the town "fathers", and we, knew little about the industrial wind turbine other than the promised benefits; so, like lemmings, we followed the agenda. Perhaps, MACEC, who has been instrumental in delaying resolution to this problem, will part with some of their millions and pay off the developers and, also, dismantle the turbines.
I should have said, by the way, that I am writing to support Representative Sarah K. Peake's Bill H.2048 and this is my 3 minute "comment". However, better than establishing another commission, through H.2048, and ground rules for more testing and investigation and further abuse of the victimized's quality of life, would be that it becomes clearly understood, through testimony such as that given yesterday and supported by many others not present, that the industrial wind turbine in not acceptable in any residential location whether rural residential or urban residential.
I, like Roxanne Zak from Sierra Club of Massachusetts, firmly believe that the industrial wind turbine is not appropriate in all places or all states. The Commonwealth is the 4th most densely populated state in the country. It hardly seems the appropriate place for the industrial wind turbine. The State of Massachusetts is a remarkably self-contained unit, from its western mountain ridges to its eastern shoreline. One can choose just how close or far away they wish to live from their neighbors and how rural or urban within this state's borders; the coast dwellers vacation in the Berkshires and the Berkshires dwellers come to the shore; others vacation in place 365 days a year.
So many people have fought for so long to maintain and improve Massachusetts' pristine character and along has come destructive 62-ton, 50-story machines to disrupt all we have ever lived or worked for. One must question why anyone would deface or destroy this natural beauty. Why would you destroy a millions and millions years old mountain ridge to place 9 (with more to come) 50-story machines with a 15-20 year life expectancy and 15% to 26% production efficiency of unproven and questionable technology in its place?
I do believe we can create a "green" world and survive without the intrusion of the invasive industrial wind turbine in places where the industrial wind turbine is inappropriate, not just here, but across the country and around the world.
I know that the Committee on Public Health and its concern and charge is about public health; perhaps, however, this Committee may be instrumental and the first step in making the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the first State to "Just Say No To The Industrial Wind Turbine" in the name of public health.
We were all greenwashed in the early 2000's, now it is time to do it right, because we now know better and enough people have been and continue to be hurt. I sincerely hope your concern about the public's health (and, safe to assume, well being) brings to reality an Energy Plan or policy specifically suited to the Commonwealth and not based on a quota system or politics and one which may not necessarily include the industrial wind turbine.
As you know, while all of these people are suffering and begging for relief, the Governor and the Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary have brought in yet another layer of information seeking experts to "solicit input on wind turbine sound policy" in form of the recently formed "Community Wind Energy Initiative". If the Governor and the Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary are so concerned, where were they yesterday. They would have heard and seen first hand what their industrial wind turbine agenda has created.
In my opinion, the Community Wind Energy Initiative is, in essence, a state takeover strategy leaving cities and towns voiceless and powerless to protect themselves from the industrial wind turbine agenda. The oft repeated promise to provide the best technical and policy support to the many communities "hosting" wind energy projects are just words and a continuation of inhumane treatment of the people who have been subjected to the industrial wind turbine agenda.
What good will "best technical and policy support" do for the people who testified before you yesterday? They, you, we all know there is a problem. Those people and many, many more were the human testing ground for an experiment gone wrong. And, this must be stopped.
First step, the offending industrial wind turbines must be silenced. Each of you who reads this must be instrumental in accomplishing the silence and dismantling of the offending industrial wind turbines.
July 14 2013
Director, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Dear Mr. Prescott,
I have lived full-time in the town of Brewster since 1990 and prior to that we had a vacation home in Hyannisport. I love the town of Wellfleet the way it is, without industrial wind turbines, and I consider the Cape to be the most wonderful place on this earth. Part of this reason is due to the peace, quiet, lack of industrial development and noise, the aesthetics, the healthy environment, and the values of the people in our close community where we help each other when any one person has a crisis.
I am shocked and disappointed that you have proposed to take a path at the Massachusetts Audubon Society (MAS) Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (WBWS) that I believe is misguided. Constructing a 142’ high industrial wind turbine that you are proposing, the Gaia Wind 11-kW Wind Turbine, is just not appropriate for the town of Wellfleet or any wildlife sanctuary anywhere in the world. This industrial machine, as defined by industry standards as such, is the same height as a 14 story building in a town where one can only build two story structures.
I firmly believe that if constructed, this wind turbine will cause great harm. The most egregious harms from my standpoint are to the environment, to the health of people nearby, to property values and to our cohesive and caring community.
A wildlife sanctuary is not the proper place for an industrial machine with industrial noise that will kill birds and bats and cause adverse health impacts to people. Please consider my request to keep Wellfleet the way it is, without industrial machines.