[BCNnet] BCNNet: Bad news about wind plants and bat kills
Birdchris at aol.com
Birdchris at aol.com
Sun Feb 19 20:57:20 CST 2006
from a Sierra Club list serve I'm on. These turbines aren't located along a
major migrations route. And I have to confess that I don't know what the
designs are like, but the point is, if bats are dying, birds likely are, too.
_birdchris at aol.com_ (mailto:birdchris at aol.com)
I've pasted below an abstract of the story about the large number of
bats that were killed last fall at a new windplant in Alberta, Canada -
the full article appeared in the Feb. 2006 issue of Windpower Monthly.
I would be willing to send a low resolution scanned copy of this 2 page
article to anyone who requests it (about 400 KB in size).
Although the full article indicated that 532 bat carcasses were found,
presumably the actual mortality estimate would be far larger since
researchers would have to account for the bat carcasses that were
removed by scavengers and those missed by searchers. For comparison,
only 475 bat carcasses were found under the 44 turbines in WV during
2003 - and the total mortality at that facility was estimated to
involve between 2000 and 4000 bats.
The Summerview wind project has 39 turbines, so besides
misunderstanding that the carcasses found do not indicate total
mortality, the author of this article must have trouble with math in
stating that the per turbine bat kill was 7.7. Also, she wrongly cites
the mortality rate at the Mountaineer (WV) windplant as only 38 bats
killed/turbine when it exceeded 50 bats/turbine/year in 2003 according
to the biased "lowball" estimate reported by the windplant owner's
consultants (who failed to follow their own research protocols).
As Dr. Merlin Tuttle has indicated in Bats magazine, the actual bat
mortality at Mountaineer in 2003 was close to 100 bats
Apparently the author of the Windpower Monthly article also was
confused about the mortality estimate of 38 bats per turbine for the WV
windplant in 2004 - which represented the estimate of the number killed
during just a 6 week study conducted by Bat Conservation International.
However, it was very good that the owner of the Alberta windplant
immediately funded some research involving a knowledgeable and
independent expert, which included withdrawing some of this windplant's
turbines from production. It will be interesting to see what the data
shows about their effort to shut down half of Summerview's turbines for
a short period to test whether that action would reduce bat kill.
Apparently it wasn't 100% effective since they indicated that dead bats
were found under "locked" turbines.
Industrial wind turbines currently are adding only a small fraction of
the destruction of Alberta's wildlife and landscape caused by another
energy source - oil sands (which is being mined in an absolutely
horrendous manner). Still, the cumulative threat to bats from
industrial wind energy development has increased with this evidence of
high bat mortality at a facility that is not located near forested
habitat. Unfortunately, the government of Alberta apparently is adding
insult to injury by selling off ecologically important and
publicly-owned grasslands to wind developers - see:
For current update about bat and wind turbine situation, check out 2
recent publications by Bat Conservation International -
http://www.vawind.org/Assets/Docs/Battered.pdf (see box on p. 3)
and http://www.vawind.org/Assets/Docs/Key%20Issues%2001-06-06.pdf .
Investigating mystery bat deaths in Canadian wind farm
A leading Canadian power producer is launching two bat research
programs after site monitoring at a southern Alberta wind farm revealed
hundreds of bat mortalities. About 90% of the bodies were found during
the fall migration in August and September. The mortalities were
largely silver-haired and hoary bats, neither of which is a species at
risk. The company is funding research to track bat behaviour and hopes
the findings can be used to identify potential issues at other sites.
Bat experts say to Windpower Monthly they are as surprised and baffled
by the deaths at the Alberta site as the wind industry is.
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