Save the Eagles International (STEI) and the World Council for Nature (WCFN) denounce the use of ineffective mitigation to prevent bird and bat collisions at wind farms. Developers claim that their radar systems will detect birds and bats, and shut off wind turbines to avoid collisions. STEI and WCFN warn that this new mitigation scheme will actually increase bird and bat mortality worldwide.
For instance, an “avian radar” will be installed in the middle of the proposed Ocotillo wind farm in Southern California, which will stand in a migration flyway for golden eagles and other protected birds (1), while overlapping local golden eagle breeding territories and the habitat of some endangered species. The 112 wind turbines of 2.3 MW each will reach 456 feet into the sky with a combined rotor sweep equal to that of all the eagle-killing turbines of Altamont Pass. The blades will have a faster tip speed at 174 mph when rotating at 16 rpm, and STEI notes that it has been proven larger turbines kill more eagles than smaller ones (2).
The developer predicts that his wind farm may kill five golden eagles over 25 years, but STEI points out that the obvious conflict of interest renders his prediction worthless, and that such forecasts have proven wrong in the past by a factor of 10 to 50 times. Accordingly, real mortality could be “anywhere between 50 and 250 golden eagles”, says its president Mark Duchamp, “...and possibly more. Who would have thought that the Altamont Pass wind farm would have killed 2,900 golden eagles to date?”
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