Wind Turbine Wildlife Hell
Latest information on the disastrous effects of wind turbines on: wildlife, their habitats, migration routes, livestock, pets, marine animals – and you.
A newly published peer-reviewed study reports U.S. wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats every year, even while producing just 3 percent of U.S. electricity. The numbers reveal that President Obama’s global warming plan will kill hundreds of millions of birds and bats while doing little if anything to reduce global temperatures.
Even if no new wind turbines are ever built, turbine blades will slice 14 million birds and bats to death in mid-flight during the next decade. However, global warming alarmists say we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 or even 80 percent. President Obama’s recently announced assault on climate change appears likely to seek such numbers. Given that most global warming alarmists also vigorously oppose hydro power, natural gas power and nuclear power, reducing emissions by 50 to 80 percent would require increasing the number of wind turbines roughly 25 fold. That means killing 350 million birds and bats in the United States every decade.
Actually, the number of bird and bat deaths would likely be much higher than that. Wind turbines produce power on an intermittent and unpredictable basis, meaning conventional power plants must remain cycling on a constant basis to fill minute-by-minute fluctuations in wind power. That means electricity produced by wind turbines is far from carbon neutral. Also, wind power companies have already cherry picked the best locations to place wind turbines. As wind power companies are forced to build their industrial wind farms on less productive sites, each new wind turbine and wind farm will produce less electricity than its predecessors. Accordingly, producing 25 times as much wind power means building a heck of a lot more than 25 times more wind turbines.
Looking at the direct consequences of all these new wind turbines, it is hard to visualize so many bird and bat deaths. After all, 350 million is a HUGE number. And that is not a one-time number. That is the number of birds and bats that wind turbines would kill every decade. How would bird and bat populations be able to sustain themselves under such an onslaught? The answer is, most bird and bat populations likely couldn’t sustain themselves, and President Obama’s climate plan would initiate an open-ended aviary holocaust the likes of which we have never before seen.
Bald eagles, California condors and whooping cranes would be among the first to go. But it wouldn’t be just endangered and threatened species that would fail to sustain their numbers. Pretty much every kind of bird you can think of would race precipitously toward unsustainability, with many facing a very real threat of extinction.
Bat populations would also be decimated. Bats are already in rapid decline due to white-nose syndrome, a cold-loving fungus that is decimating bat populations in the U.S. Northeast and is spreading westward across the country. Bat populations in the Northeast have declined by approximately 80 percent, and the 888,000 bat kills resulting from wind turbines each year aren’t helping the cause. Ramp up the number of wind turbines and ramp up the pressure on declining bat populations.
Killing off so many birds and bats every year would have profound negative consequences beyond the mere deaths of birds and bats. Birds and bats are vital in keeping insect populations in check. Kill off as many birds and bats as President Obama desires and mosquito-borne diseases will assault Americans with striking ferocity. Crops will suffer under a growing onslaught of insect attack. Farmers will have to employ more and stronger pesticides to secure our food production.
With wind turbines killing off so many birds of prey, infestations of rats and other vermin will also become more frequent and severe.
Moreover, wind turbines require vast amounts of land to produce even a small amount of electricity. Even under optimum conditions, It takes approximately 400 square miles of land to produce as much electricity as a conventional power plant. Ramp up wind power production to replace conventional power plants and watch America’s remaining open spaces turn into whirring killing fields for birds and bats.
If global warming actually threatened to destroy the planet, perhaps we would have to sacrifice so many birds and bats for the cause. But the reality is just the opposite. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author Hans von Storch conceded earlier this month that computer models predicting significant future global warming cannot replicate recent temperatures and likely need to be adjusted downward to predict less warming. A panel of experts convened last week by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer agreed President Obama’s recent assertion that global warming is accelerating is not supportable by real-world facts and data. Hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, etc., are all in long-term downward trends as our planet modestly warms in its recovery from the recent Little Ice Age.
Finally, sacrificing hundreds of millions of American birds and bats would do nothing to impact global temperatures. China alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere. Even if the United States immediately cut emissions by 80 percent, new growth in Chinese emissions would render our reductions moot in less than a decade. Americans would suffer the negative economic and environmental consequences of eliminating conventional power generation, there would be no measurable impact on global temperatures, and Americans would be put at a competitive disadvantage producing goods and services while burdened with immensely high energy costs.
President Obama, you keep your global warming plan, we’ll keep our aviary wildlife and our undeveloped lands.
January 5, 2013
by Clive Hambler – The Spectator – UK
Wind turbines only last for ‘half as long as previously thought’, according to a new study. But even in their short lifespans, those turbines can do a lot of damage. Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. Most environmentalists just don’t want to know. Because they’re so desperate to believe in renewable energy, they’re in a state of denial. But the evidence suggests that, this century at least, renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change.
I’m a lecturer in biological and human sciences at Oxford university. I trained as a zoologist, I’ve worked as an environmental consultant — conducting impact assessments on projects like the Folkestone-to-London rail link — and I now teach ecology and conservation. Though I started out neutral on renewable energy, I’ve since seen the havoc wreaked on wildlife by wind power, hydro power, biofuels and tidal barrages. The environmentalists who support such projects do so for ideological reasons. What few of them have in their heads, though, is the consolation of science.
My speciality is species extinction. When I was a child, my father used to tell me about all the animals he’d seen growing up in Kent — the grass snakes, the lime hawk moths — and what shocked me when we went looking for them was how few there were left. Species extinction is a serious issue: around the world we’re losing up to 40 a day. Yet environmentalists are urging us to adopt technologies that are hastening this process. Among the most destructive of these is wind power.
Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds. This breaks down as approximately 110–330 birds per turbine per year and 200–670 bats per year. And these figures may be conservative if you compare them to statistics published in December 2002 by the California Energy Commission: ‘In a summary of avian impacts at wind turbines by Benner et al (1993) bird deaths per turbine per year were as high as 309 in Germany and 895 in Sweden.’
Because wind farms tend to be built on uplands, where there are good thermals, they kill a disproportionate number of raptors. In Australia, the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle is threatened with global extinction by wind farms. In North America, wind farms are killing tens of thousands of raptors including golden eagles and America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In Spain, the Egyptian vulture is threatened, as too is the Griffon vulture — 400 of which were killed in one year at Navarra alone. Norwegian wind farms kill over ten white-tailed eagles per year and the population of Smøla has been severely impacted by turbines built against the opposition of ornithologists.
Nor are many other avian species safe. In North America, for example, proposed wind farms on the Great Lakes would kill large numbers of migratory songbirds. In the Atlantic, seabirds such as the Manx Shearwater are threatened. Offshore wind farms are just as bad as onshore ones, posing a growing threat to seabirds and migratory birds, and reducing habitat availability for marine birds (such as common scoter and eider ducks).
I’ve heard it suggested that birds will soon adapt to avoid turbine blades. But your ability to learn something when you’ve been whacked on the head by an object traveling at 200 mph is limited. And besides, this comes from a complete misconception of how long it takes species to evolve. Birds have been flying, unimpeded, through the skies for millions of years. They’re hardly going to alter their habits in a few months. You hear similar nonsense from environmentalists about so-called habitat ‘mitigation’. There has been talk, for example, during proposals to build a Severn barrage, that all the waders displaced by the destruction of the mud flats can have their inter-tidal habitat replaced elsewhere. It may be what developers and governments want to hear, but recreating such habitats would take centuries not years — even if space were available. The birds wouldn’t move on somewhere else. They’d just starve to death.
Loss of habitat is the single biggest cause of species extinction. Wind farms not only reduce habitat size but create ‘population sinks’ — zones which attract animals and then kill them. My colleague Mark Duchamp suggests birds are lured in because they see the turbines as perching sites and also because wind towers (because of the grass variations underneath) seem to attract more prey. The turbines also attract bats, whose wholesale destruction poses an ever more serious conservation concern.
Bats are what is known as K-selected species: they reproduce very slowly, live a long time and are easy to wipe out. Having evolved with few predators — flying at night helps — bats did very well with this strategy until the modern world. This is why they are so heavily protected by so many conventions and regulations: the biggest threats to their survival are made by us.
And the worst threat of all right now is wind turbines. A recent study in Germany by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research showed that bats killed by German turbines may have come from places 1,000 or more miles away. This would suggest that German turbines — which an earlier study claims kill more than 200,000 bats a year — may be depressing populations across the entire northeastern portion of Europe. Some studies in the US have put the death toll as high as 70 bats per installed megawatt per year: with 40,000 MW of turbines currently installed in the US and Canada. This would give an annual death toll of up to three -million.
Why is the public not more aware of this carnage? First, because the wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological organisations) has gone to great trouble to cover it up — to the extent of burying the corpses of victims. Second, because the ongoing obsession with climate change means that many environmentalists are turning a blind eye to the ecological costs of renewable energy. What they clearly don’t appreciate — for they know next to nothing about biology — is that most of the species they claim are threatened by ‘climate change’ have already survived 10 to 20 ice ages, and sea-level rises far more dramatic than any we have experienced in recent millennia or expect in the next few centuries. Climate change won’t drive those species to extinction; well-meaning environmentalists might.
Proposed mitigation for the Amherst Island project is incomplete and vague and highly unlikely to be effective in increasing benefits to the species.
There is no reason to believe that impact monitoring (which involves the collection and summary of scientific data on the adverse effects of the authorized activity on the species) will minimize adverse effects or be of overall benefit to the species. The goal of impact monitoring is to improve future
predictions of the potential adverse effects of particular activities on species at risk. However, impact monitoring records from nearby Wolfe Island do not appear to have been used to consider the potential for adverse effects at Amherst Island. Post construction monitoring at Wolfe Island has already revealed the second highest raptor kills in North America and yet this additional development is now being proposed only a short distance away. Would one not anticipate a similar outcome?
The issue is whether the mitigation measures themselves, contained in the conditions, will be effective in preventing serious and irreversible harm to these species and their habitat.
16 (Reijnen, et al. 1991) found that 26 out of 43 species (60%) of breeding birds in woodland habitats showed evidence of reduced density near busy roads. The analysis clearly showed that it was the noise and not the sight of the traffic that was affecting the birds. (19) Exactly how will an overall benefit for the species in Ontario be achieved by killing more birds and bats and then, according to the proponent’s proposal, partnering with “an accredited post-secondary institution to conduct research and fill knowledge gaps for Eastern Whip-poor-will”? Just what will be achieved towards the overall benefit of these species in Ontario through the training and educating of
contractors and staff on identification; and what will be the “appropriate action” they will be trained to take upon encountering Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will? Will the project be called to a halt at the sight of the first Bobolink? Not likely.
5.1 Can industry self-monitoring be considered unbiased?
Many criticisms have been raised in the scientific community about industry generated environmental assessments and post construction monitoring. These studies, produced by an
accommodating consultant, have been described as lacking in scientific rigor, not standardized, using observations from unsuitable times and seasons (i.e. after or prior to migration), and being based on casual observations done over an insufficient number of days, seasons, and weather conditions.
“Estimates of bird and bat fatalities are often made at wind-energy projects to assess impacts by comparing them with other fatality estimates. Many fatality estimates have been made across North America, but they have varied greatly in field and analytical methods, monitoring duration, and in the size and height of the wind turbines monitored for fatalities, and few benefited from scientific peer review. . . As wind energy continues to expand, there is urgent need to improve fatality monitoring methods, especially in the implementation of detection trials, which should be more realistically incorporated into routine monitoring. (Smallwood 2013)”.
On examining Ontario’s post construction reports one finds that very often carcass retrieval does not occur once crops are more than 12 inches high until after harvest—i.e. most of the 6 month growing season. (20)
What revelations does the MNR expect to derive from studies on a habitat that has been systematically debased– other than confirmation of further species decline– which has already been
documented? How will this knowledge “fill critical information gaps” once the species has further declined?
Where is the logic that further irreversible destruction will contribute to an overall benefit? Where is the principle of caution to which the MNR is committed?
To accept that “securing and actively managing an area(s) to create and maintain suitable habitat for Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whip-poor-will, at least equivalent in size to the area adversely effected by the activity, for the duration of the project” will be of overall benefit to the
species is to wilfully ignore the body of scientific research (outlined above) that demonstrates the ineffectiveness of such a measure, specifically in relation to these three species.
On its “Endangered Species Act Authorization Tracker” the Ministry also notes that “an overall benefit to a protected species under the ESA involves undertaking actions to improve circumstances for the species in Ontario. Overall benefit is more than ‘no net loss’ or an exchange of ‘like for like’.
Overall benefit is grounded in the protection and recovery of the species at risk and must include more than mitigation measures or ‘replacing’ what is lost”.17 How are these fine words being applied to the Amherst Island decision?
Clearly, there is no overall benefit from this mitigation activity which the Ministry defines as merely “replacing what is lost”, quite apart from its failure to take into account the inappropriateness of habitat exchange and fragmentation for these species. (17) MNR Endangered Species Act Authorization Tracker.
But scare tactics won’t work here. The costs of disposing of nuclear waste are also enormous. And nobody likes the moonscapes left behind by coal mining.
People are beginning to have second thoughts. The eastern state of Saxony has already downscaled its expansion plans. And the state of Thuringia to its west doesn’t want any wind turbines located in its forests.
Overall, however, the ranks of fearless politicians whose goal is to build an environmental utopia in Germany remain by and large unbroken.
Robert Habeck, a member of the Green Party who serves as environment minister for the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, sees himself as an agent in the “undertaking of the century.” To underline his determination, he even calls himself the “Minister for the Energiewende.” Today, we are building the infrastructure that will ensure that energy is “as good as free for our children,” he says.
It’s hard to see exactly what he bases his calculation on. Consumers are currently paying more and more for power, while others are making a killing. Members of community-owned wind farms are being tempted with returns of between 6 and 9 percent. These profits are fed primarily by subsidies that have previously been hijacked from citizens.
Farmers are also making good money on the shift to wind power. Desirable locations for wind turbines can bring in more than €50,000 ($65,000) a year in rent in Bavaria. With prices like that, who wouldn’t want to help promote the cause of clean energy?
Baron Götz von Berlichingen, from the village of Jagsthausen in Baden-Württemberg, is a direct descendant of the knight celebrated by Goethe. Together with the power company EnBW, he is building 11 wind farms on his property. Used for farming, the land generated at the most €700 per hectare (2.5 acres) — a fraction of what it earns as a site for wind turbines.
According to opponents of wind power, that’s why permits to build wind farms are being handed out like there’s no tomorrow. They complain about “brainwashed climate apostles,” “traitors of the countryside” and “greedy power gamblers” who are prepared to sacrifice every last inch of the country to the Energiewende.
Sacrificing the Forests
They are right in claiming that growth is rampant. The German government wants to have renewable sources supply 35 percent of Germany’s energy by 2020. And, in their excessive zeal, the federal states have already designated enough land for green infrastructure capable of lifting this figure to 80 percent within the same period.
Instead of banishing the noise-makers to industrial wastelands or erecting them along freeways, they are scattering them across graceful mountain landscapes and areas full of lakes.
These plans have admittedly not been properly thought through. But it is the large-scale attack on forests that wind-turbine opponents find the most appalling. The Nordic pine forests, which formed the magical, emotion-filled realm of the German Romantics, as well as the homes of the ash and the oak, are all threatened by the relaxing of the laws.
From the Odenwald mountain range stretching across southwest Germany to the birch forests of Mecklenburg in the northeast, giant trucks are pushing their way into the woodlands. Johannes Remmel, a member of the Green Party who serves as environment minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has announced that he would like to put up around 2,000 wind turbines in the region’s forests. The state of Hesse also wants to cut down thousands of hectares of trees.
Some pioneering projects are already underway, such as that in Ellern, a small town in the low mountain range of Hunsrück in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Ellern has recently become home to a record-breaking wind turbine some 200 meters tall, or far above the treetops.
Semi-trailers pulled nacelles, the enormous housings for wind turbine engines, and transformer stations up the narrow forest roads. A 1,000-ton crane made its way up the slippery slopes to the peak; trees were felled at the side of the road to make way for it. At the top, the forest was cleared to nothing with chainsaws so that concrete foundations could be laid for the turbines.
No one knows what the impact of such activities will be on the flora and fauna. The offensive into this mountain range took place “without checks,” protests Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). In any case, the group says, the idea of generating wind power in the forest should be “rejected on principle.”
Lies and Deception
The decision to not build offshore wind farms turns out to be misguided not just for environmental reasons, but also for economic ones. At sea, turbines can achieve 4,500 full-load hours a year. By the coast, the figure is 3,000. Inland, a site is considered good if it produces 1,800 hours.
The turbines currently being built across Germany, from the Ore Mountains in the east to Lake Constance in the west, are weaker still. Statistics show that the turbines in the south of the country are generating significantly less power than was predicted. The biggest wind farm in Baden-Württemberg, at a height of 850 meters in the Northern Black Forest, has been a flop for years.
“It’s all an enormous swindle,” says Besigheim-based auditor Walter Müller, 65, whose former job involved calculating the value of bankrupt East German factories. Today, he takes the same hard-as-nails approach to examining the books of wind farm companies.
His verdict? A fabric of lies and deception. The experts commissioned by the operators of the wind farms sometimes describe areas with weak breezes as top “wind-intensive” sites to make them appear more attractive, he says. “Small-scale investors are promised profits to attract them into closed funds for wind farms that do not generate enough energy,” he says. “Ultimately, all the capital is eaten up.”
The wind turbines, whose job it was to protect the environment, are not running smoothly. Germany’s biggest infrastructure project is a mess. Everyone wants to get away from nuclear. But at what price?
Even Winfried Kretschmann, the governor of Baden-Württemberg and the first Green Party member to govern any German state, is sounding contrite. But his resolve remains as firm as ever: “There is simply no alternative to disfiguring the countryside like this,” he insists.
The question is: Is he right?
The victims of this “sound pollution” typically have bags under their eyes and a tremor in their voices. They are the movement’s martyrs. Klaus Zeltwanger is one such victim. He lives just 370 meters from the turbine in Husarenhof. “It whirrs and it hisses,” he says, “and then it drones like an airplane about to take off.”
To date, the courts have rejected such complaints. Since wind turbines enjoy special rights, fighting them in court is an uphill battle.
But one woman brought a successful case in the northwestern city of Münster back in 2006. She lived just 270 meters away from a wind turbine. She based her plea on the “requirement to be considerate,” under which technical equipment and machines cannot be located so close to a residential property that they become “visually oppressive.” The experts talk of a “feeling of being dwarfed.”
After a long battle, she won the case — and the giant turbine was torn down.
Other legal grounds can also apply. According to the German Emission Control Act, noise levels in mixed-use residential areas may not exceed 45 decibels at night. For a long time, no one knew what that meant exactly in terms of distance in meters.
Now the courts have ruled on this, too, in a case that might just upset Germany’s entire energy revolution. A woman from Marxheim, a town in western Bavaria, brought a case in the Munich Higher Regional Court. Her typical farmer’s house, decorated with flowers, was situated 850 meters from an Enercon E-82. She claimed that the sound waves boomed “across field and forest” to where she lived.
The case documents talk of “hissing,” “whizzing” and “puffing noises.” A specialist in acoustics recorded a volume of 42.8 decibels, adding a further 3 decibels to this because of what is known as the “impulsiveness” of the noise.
The result? The wind turbine now has to operate at a reduced speed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., which renders it unprofitable.
Enercon is appealing to the Federal Administrative Court. But its chances of winning look slim. Hundreds of propellers are located in the zone that has now been deemed forbidden. Could a large-scale thinning out of turbines now be in the cards?
Attorney Armin Brauns from Diessen, in Bavaria, is predicting a “wave of cases,” and his office is overflowing with case files. “Some local authorities behave unfairly with respect to protecting the countryside, circumventing existing laws,” he says.
Bloated Capacity and Costs
These disputes come at a very awkward time for the wind-power industry. The country is expecting to see many thousands of new wind turbines up and running in the near future. But, at the moment, orders are few and far between.
For a long time, the companies grew fat on feed-in tariffs, which provide guaranteed prices for green energy at above-market prices subsidized by the government via surcharges on consumers’ power bills. Indeed, an entire industrial sector developed into a subsidy giant. The result? Bloated firms with excess capacity.
International markets are also collapsing, which makes things even worse for the industry. The two most important countries for wind power have both reined in further construction projects. The United States is instead going for cheaper “fracking,” the controversial method of using hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas. China, on the other hand, has problems with its power grids, which is dampening its enthusiasm for wind turbines.
Stephan Weil, the governor of the northwestern state of Lower Saxony, recently warned that 10,000 jobs in the state’s wind industry were at risk. The Danish manufacturer Vestas has already been forced to cut some 1,400 positions.
The mood is correspondingly tense. The CEO of WeserWind says that a “regulating hand” is nowhere to be found, leaving everything in “total chaos.”
Cem Özdemir, the national chairman of Germany’s Green Party, claims that environmental protection “is a great opportunity for our country — economically, too.” But, in reality, everything is getting more expensive. At the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig, electricity costs less than 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). But consumers currently pay 27 cents for each kWh because the price is overloaded with taxes and environmental fees.
There are many reasons for this. For example, all the electrical work involved in setting up offshore wind turbines and connecting them to the onshore grid is much more costly than was originally thought. The acrobats on the high seas are doing pioneering work, and the risks of failure are high.
Rather than calmly developing elegant offshore technology, German politicians have put themselves under pressure by setting the deadline for ending the production of nuclear power in Germany at early in the next decade. Everyone is in a rush. So when costs go up at sea, the wind turbines immediately swarm inland.
But that leaves just one more problem: Things aren’t much cheaper on land, either. Giant electricity highways are needed to transport the energy southward from the turbines along the northern coastline. And that necessitates a complete restructuring of the national power grid.
“We’re planning nothing less than a technical revolution,” says a spokesman for the environment ministry of Lower Saxony, in Hanover. “In the past, villages in the middle of nowhere were connected (to the grid) using the thinnest cables possible. Today, we need the thickest cables there because the wind farms are in the outback.”
Around 2,800 kilometers (1,740 miles) of new extra-high voltage lines are needed, plus 7,000 kilometers of distribution networks. Cost estimates put the figure at between €10 billion and €20 billion.
Delays and Demands
It’s a massive undertaking. To get things moving, Germany’s federal government introduced the Infrastructure Planning Acceleration Act back in 2006. This was followed in 2009 by the Power Grid Expansion Act. And, just five weeks ago, Germany’s federal parliament passed the Federal Requirement Plan Act.
But despite the legislation, the actual amount of new electricity grid infrastructure that has been constructed is surprisingly small: Just 268 kilometers of the planned grid expansion is currently up and running.
Why the delay? One reason is the many thousands of hysterical “electrosmog” campaigners who fight every new section of 110-kilovolt line as if it were the work of the devil. And the wind farms are always accompanied by their ugly step-sister: the overhead power masts carrying the power lines.
What about underground cables, then? This is what the protestors are demanding. What they forget is that 380-kilovolt lines laid underground require copper strands as thick as your arm to avoid overheating. And they are incredibly expensive: All in all, underground cables can cost up to 10 times as much as overhead cables.
Often, the bottlenecks in the grid are already so big that the wind turbines are turning for no reason. When there is a stiff breeze, they have to be held back. This led to 127 gigawatt hours of power being wasted in 2010, or enough to meet the annual energy requirements of 100,000 residents.
Germany plans to build 60,000 new wind turbines — in forests, in the foothills of the Alps and even in protected environmental areas. But local residents are up in arms, costs are skyrocketing and Germany’s determination to phase out nuclear power is in danger.
The German village of Husarenhof, just north of Stuttgart, nestles picturesquely between orchards and vineyards. Peter Hitzker’s house stands on a sharp bend in the road. “Sometimes I get up in the morning and find a couple of totaled cars in the front yard,” he says. “But I guess nowhere’s perfect.”
Still, he finds the wind turbine behind his garden fence harder to cope with. The tower is 180 meters (590 feet) high, and the whirr of the blades and grinding of the actuators are clearly audible.
“When I leave my local bar in Heilbronn, 15 kilometers from here, I find my way home by heading for the turbine,” he quips.
But he can’t think of anything else positive to say about the turbine. “It’s dreadful,” he says. “And it’s split the village. It’s war here.”
The wind turbine, an Enercon E-82, has been there for over a year. When it was inaugurated, the local shooting club, the “Black Hunters”, fired their guns in celebration, and the local priest delivered a sermon on protecting God’s creation.
But not everyone is happy. Some are angry at the way the landscape, celebrated by German Romantic poets such as Hölderlin and Mörike, is being butchered. The opponents protest with images of the Grim Reaper holding a wind turbine rather than his traditional scythe.
The situation in Husarenhof can be found across Germany. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and Germany’s swift decision to abandon nuclear energy and embrace renewable energy as part of its so-called Energiewende, the country’s 16 federal states reacted with a sort of excessive zeal. The northeastern state of Brandenburg plans to set aside 2 percent of its land for wind farms. The western state of Rhineland-Palatinate intends to more than double the amount of wind power it generates. North Rhine-Westphalia, its neighbor to the north, is planning an increase of more than 300 percent.
The winds of change are blowing in Germany — and hard. Flat-bed trucks laden with tower segments make their way slowly across boggy fields. Cranes crawl up narrow forest paths to set up outsized wind turbines on the tops of mountains. Germany aims to increase its production of wind power from 31,000 to 45,000 megawatts over the next seven years. By the middle of the century, it hopes to be generating 85,000 megawatts in wind power
With the prime coastal locations already taken, operators are increasingly turning their attention to areas further inland. Even valuable tourist regions — such as the Moselle valley, the Allgäu and the foothills of the Alps — are to be sacrificed. Sites have even been earmarked by Lake Constance and near Starnberg, where the Bavarian King Ludwig II drowned.
At the moment, things are still in the planning, reporting and application stage. Local authorities’ filing cabinets are overflowing with authorization documents and wind strength measurements. Plans call for some 60,000 new turbines to be erected in Germany — and completely alter its appearance.
The Backer-Opponent Divide
But what’s really going on? Are politicians wisely creating the tools needed to prevent the end of the world as we know it? Or are they simply marring the countryside?
More than 700 citizens’ initiatives have been founded in Germany to campaign against what they describe as “forests of masts”, “visual emissions” and the “widespread devastation of our highland summits.”
The opponents carry coffins symbolizing the death of environmental protection. They organize petitions on an almost daily basis. Local residents by Lake Starnberg have even filed a legal complaint alleging that the wind turbines violate Germany’s constitution.
The underlying divide is basic and irreconcilable. On one side stand environmentalists and animal rights activists passionate about protecting the tranquility of nature. On the other are progressively minded champions of renewable energy and climate activists determined to secure the long-term survival of the planet.
The question is: How many forests must be sacrificed, how many horizons dotted with wind turbines, to meet Germany’s new energy targets? Where is the line between thoughtful activism and excessive zeal? At what point is taxpayer money simply being thrown away?
The wrangling over these issues has led many in Germany’s Green Party to question what their party really stands for. Enoch zu Guttenberg, a founding member of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), noisily left the association last year because of its support for wind power. Since then, he has felt a “panicky need” to warn humanity about the “giant totems of the cult of unlimited energy.”
Michael Succow, a prominent German environmentalist and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, is also threatening to abandon ship. He fears soulless stretches of land and lost tranquility.
And his fears are not unfounded. Back in the 1980s, tree-huggers put up Aeroman wind turbines in their front yards — but those days are long gone. Just the masts of today’s wind turbines can reach up to 160 meters high. When active, they kill so many insects that the sticky mass slows the rotors down.
The sweeping blades of the Enercon E-126 cover an area of seven football fields. The rotors of modern wind turbines weigh up to 320 metric tons. There are 83 such three-armed bandits in Germany’s largest wind farm, near the village of Ribbeck, northwest of Berlin.
As they drive their SUVs through these turbine forests, tolerantly minded city-dwellers sometimes comment on how ugly eastern Germany has become. Others find them attractive — as they speed past.
But local Nimbies (“Nimby” = Not In My Back Yard) are indignant. Apart from everything else, the value of their homes has plummeted.
Even sparsely populated areas are beginning to take action. Take, for example, the campaign “Rettet Brandenburg” (“Save Brandenburg”). This eastern state surrounding Berlin is already home to more than 3,100 wind turbines, more than any other federal state. Now, however, the powers-that-be want to build 3,000 more turbines, but state residents are up in arms and have launched a citizen’s initiative. At a protest day held in late May, its members railed against “wind-grubbers” and “monster mills.”
Maxing Out Turbine Size
Nevertheless, their protests will do little to stop wind-turbine manufacturers from eagerly building taller and taller models. For the relatively weak inland winds to generate sufficient energy and profits, Germany’s wind farmers need to reach higher and higher into the skies.
The goal is to get away from the turbulence found near the ground and to climb up into the Ekman layer, above 100 meters high, where the wind blows continuously. Up there, the forces of nature rage freely, creating enough terawatts to meet the energy needs of the global population hundreds of times over. Or at least that’s the theory.
Inland, the “technical trend” toward bigger wind turbines “continues unabated,” according to a study recently published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES).
A visit to the IWES test center in the northern port city of Bremerhaven reveals what lies in store. The center is home to a next-generation rotary blade: flexible, wobbly even, weighing 30 metric tons and stretching 83.5 meters across.
The mammoth prototype blade is currently at the testing stage. Hydraulic presses and cables bend and buffet the blade millions of times over, simulating the stress exerted by storms and gusts of wind.
IWES meteorologist Paul Kühn thinks that the mast themselves, without the blades, could grow to up to 200 meters high. Anything taller would be unprofitable due to the “square-cube law.”
So, might we one day see wind turbines with blades stretching up almost 300 meters into the clouds — a somber memorial to Germany’s nuclear phase-out? Even hip urban fans of renewable energy think that would take some getting used to.
Recent studies by bird protectors reveal how the giant blades chop up the air in brutal fashion. “Golden plovers avoid the wind turbines,” says Potsdam-based ornithologist Jörg Lippert. Swallows and storks, on the other hand, fly straight into them. The barbastelle bat’s lungs collapse as it flies by. A “terrible future” awaits the lesser spotted eagle and red kite, Lippert says.
German citizens are also having to make sacrifices to meet the ambitious goals of the new energy policy. In England, large wind turbines must be situated at least 3,000 meters away from houses in residential areas. In Germany, which is more densely populated, local planners place turbines much closer to homes. In the southern state of Bavaria, for example, the minimum separation is 500 meters, while it’s just 300 meters in the eastern state of Saxony.
In the early days, when everyone was still very excited about clean wind power, some farmers in northerly coastal areas allowed turbines to be erected even 250 meters from their cottages. And then they received large compensation payments when the noise from the rotors triggered stampedes in their pigsties.
But now even those in northern Germany are grumbling. Many old wind turbines are being replaced with new, more powerful ones in a process known as “repowering.” Instead of 50 meters tall, these new turbines are more than 150 meters high, have flashing lights on them to prevent aircraft from hitting them and make a lot of noise as they rotate.
The result? Complaints about the noise everywhere.
June 17, 2013 – I wonder what it will take before the world truly wakes up to the horror, the corruption, the expense, the pointlessness, the total wrongness-in-every-way of the wind industry. My guess – and it will happen – is the decapitation, by a rogue turbine blade, of an innocent passer-by.
Till then, though, we have photographs like this to send the mind boggling as to why anyone, anywhere can still be so purblind as to go on championing these bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco crucifixes. What’s particularly interesting about this one is that it was taken in the constituency of one of wind power’s most fervent and tireless advocates, Caroline Lucas MP.
Marian Cleary – who Tweets as @soundwords – takes up the story on Twitter:
All quite horrific really. Been asked if it’s photoshopped. Nope. Was at Varndean College, Brighton.
The wind turbine was going bonkers so I was filming it with the clouds moving behind the blades.
I didn’t get the incident on film but then a guy called me over and said that the bird had been got.
Careful, Marian. You now run the risk that someone from the wind industry will claim you chopped off that gull’s head yourself, probably because you are in the pay of Big Oil….
Now it might have been interesting to ring up the RSPB for a reaction. But there’s no point because we know what they think already. As far as the RSPB is concerned, the many thousands of birds destroyed by wind turbines each year are acceptable collateral damage in the war on “climate change.” So committed is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds to renewable energy that it has actually teamed up with Ecotricity – the one run by Dale Vince – in a promotional deal to encourage more wind farm building. For chapter and verse, read my expose here.
But the birds and bats are the least of it, terrible though the carnage is. It’s the human cost, surely, which should concern us more.
Consider the plight of the communities in Canada, where the wind industry is even more aggressive than it is here. One Ontario resident, Esther Wrightman so objected to the Golgotha of 400 foot wind turbines being planned for her area that she created a satirical website mocking the wind developer NextEra energy. She even filmed them chopping down a tree with an eagle’s nest in it in order to make way for the turbines. How did NextEra – market capitalisation $32 billion – respond to her not exactly unreasonable objections? Why by suing the pants off her, of course.
Fortunately, thanks to the coverage it has been getting from Ezra Levant, Esther Wrightman’s story is becoming an international cause celebre – and the rent-seeking nasties at NextEra are getting the negative publicity they fully deserve.
So the anti-wind backlash has begun, of that there’s no doubt. In Australia, where resistance is especially strong, they’re holding a rally in the next few hours in Canberra to protest against an industry described by Alby Schultz MP as “the biggest government sponsored fraud in the history of our country”, so rife with “manipulation, intimidation, lies and cover-up” that there’s enough evidence to justify a royal commission. I wish I could be there at the barricades with my Aussie mates. Sounds like it’s going to be quite an occasion.
What I wish is that one of our MPs could be quite as outspoken as good old Alby. Chris Heaton Harris has fought a good fight, as have Owen Paterson, John Hayes, Peter Lilley and Glyn Davies. But they’ve all been hamstrung by the presence in the Coalition of ideological eco-loons like Ed Davey who, even now, despite the copious evidence against, persist in championing wind energy as the way forward. They’re further hamstrung by the Conservative party’s ludicrous policy fudge whereby, apparently, there is such a thing as a “wind turbine in the right place” and that this mythical beast includes all offshore wind developments.
Economically, of course, offshore wind makes even less sense than onshore, not least because it requires twice the subsidy, but also because, as most engineers privately admit, these sea-based turbines are disasters waiting to happen and are highly unlikely to stay up any length of time. And while we’re on this subject, what on earth is The Times doing shilling for Big Wind with this utter non-story about how Donald Trump is apparently threatening to cost “British SMEs dear” thanks to his opposition to an offshore wind development near his golf course in Scotland? The supposedly neutral source they quote for this story is The Carbon Trust, the government quango to which we taxpayers must contribute £44 million a year to enable it to dream up inventive new ways to cripple our economy with carbon emissions reductions schemes.
Yet another reason to vote UKIP, the only British party with a sensible policy on this green nonsense.
Courtesy of James Delingpole, The Telegraph (UK)
Nextera gives a Nexus* card to anti-wind movement: fast tracks bird issues and shines a light on industry-wide bullying OR “Nobody kills Eagles like Nextera”
(*Nexus: expedited passage through dedicated lanes at points of air travel.)
Billion dollar wind company, Nextera, sues activist Esther Wrightman, Kerwood, Ontario (Bornish project). Esther had the temerity to satirize the Nextera logo, using the term “Nexterror”, and also refused to remove a video depicting the brutal removal of an active eagles nest permitted literally “over the weekend.”
According to Jim Wiegand, a specialist in bird biology and wind turbine bird kills:
“Nobody has a history of killing eagles like the wind energy company Nextera. So if you were an eagle it would make perfect sense that their turbines would be terrifying. If you were an eagle minding your own business and had your wing severed from a slashing blade, knowing you were going to die, this would certainly seem like an act of terror. Thousands of eagles have died this way. If you had just fledged your offspring and while they were learning to hunt, had them butchered by nearby turbines, this would also seem to be terrifying. The charity that Nextera wants to donate any settlement funds to should come out and say they want no part in any of this. I think a better idea would be for Nextera to donate any settlement funds to a truly independent Wildlife Biologist, for proper wind turbine mortality and cumulative impact studies.”
Did Nextera anticipate the flurry of articles and media interest that has occurred by suing Rock Garden specialist, and anti-wind activist, Esther Wrightman? And what is the subtext to the 32 Billion (Market Capitalization) company (with numerous paid lobbyists), lawsuit that on the surface incorrectly mentions being called “terrorists” by the blogger, Wrightman, and an antipathy for satirical use of its logo? (Wrightman did not use the word terrorists, but merely changed the logo to “Nexterror,” which could be read as Terror, or Error. This satiric branding, in both shapes, it should be mentioned, has been used by many activists for some time now.
Wrightman’s claim to fame in Ontario is her tenacity, her vociferous and catchy, truly clever appearances at protests. Her video document of Nextera’s removal of an Eagle nest, with video clips of workers saying it was to be “destroyed” has gone viral. This same permit for removal came late on a Friday, with the odious work to be completed by Sunday. Ostensibly, this was an effort to remove public scrutiny from an already eagle death-tainted company. The removal of the nest got international attention, but the lawsuit is something of a gift to the movement, which is using the suit as an “educable moment,” and of course to respond to the long standing commitment to company profits over the environment that Nextera has shown. What many now see as the “face” of this wind company is flagrant bullying. It is certain that the parody of “terror” and wind will escalate now.
Bullying is now seen as pandemic by global groups fighting the onslaught of wind turbines, energy sprawl. A few examples of unreasonable and egregious behaviour follows:
- A man has threats of damage against his vehicle, upon entering a public comment meeting
- A woman is grabbed by two hired security officers and put out of a comment meeting because she was carrying a sign with a stick handle
- Landowners are lied to about neighbors having signed up, when indeed they had not
- Intimidation is reported widely re pressure to sign leases: people are told: “everyone in your community is in favor”
- Gag orders after buying out homeowners whose homes are too toxic to live in
- Wind developers enter a community, work against common principles of fair play, and knowingly, now knowingly, as has been unearthed by Freedom of Information documents variously, force giant industrial wind factories on sensitive environments, and disrupting property rights, and maiming, inflicting real blows on, gainful work and health
- Lobby governments, or collude, to get permits to kill, harm harass endangered species, at risk species, destroy habitat
- Create gigantic interfaces of Orwellian misinformation, creating confusion among all, permeating advertising, textbooks, and all manner of necessary and incidental purchases; adding this to hydro bills
- Creating a labyrinth of legal manoeuvers for beleaguered communities to jump through in the vague hopes of having permits upturned by the courts (for example, Ontario’s ERT process, Environmental Review Tribunal, hugely expensive, and communities only have 15 days to file following an approval. None have to date have stopped a project.)
- “Nextera has been excessively aggressive in getting people and municipalities to sign lease agreements and easements.” Just one of many large wind companies, but this one is the third largest in North America, operating vastly and easily across two nations (from Wrightman’s statement of defence)
- Badgering and threatening to run transmission lines and substations in places not viable for landowners who protest
- Donations of sums of money to local key agencies, hence another form of bribery or gag
- Various threats of legal actions, to persons and municipalities who are “in the way” of projects
(This list provides merely examples: please send us your experiences.)
The lawsuit being advanced in Canada, by Florida wind developer, Nextera, shines even more light on the company’s history of bird kills, bullying, and flagrant abuse of power. This suit, filed in a Toronto courthouse this past week, is against a homemaker and rock garden plant expert, a humble but formidable blogger against wind power, who had the temerity to satirize a billion dollar wind company.
Mitigation and a License to Kill
The Ontario lawsuit also focuses international attention on the history of a wind company that has touched on its own historical legal woes in California. We can only assume that the $2.5 million in mitigation fees were paid to the “Energy Commission’s Public Integrated Energy Research Program, and the East Bay Regional Park District and the Livermore Area Park District for raptor habitat creation,” is presumably a slap on the wrist for a company which in 2012 had operating revenues of 14 Billion.
The shocking and inaccurate documentation of Eagle and raptor kills at Altamont Pass, and elsewhere, is well known. “A 2004 California Energy Commission study found that the Altamont Pass turbines killed between 1,800 and 4,700 birds annually. Those fatalities included as many as 1,300 raptors such as hawks, falcons, owls and federally protected golden eagles.” But according to Wiegand, who has studied Eagles for over 44 years, “as shocking as these estimates are, searchers still missed many thousands of birds and bats each year and the latest studies have found far more wind turbine carcasses. My estimate is that with proper searches the fatalities at Altamont would be at least 2-3 times higher and the bat kill hundreds of times more than what has been reported.”
Following legal action, Nextera rejigged and has made plans to replace thousands of turbines. Next Era still owns about 2400 of the 5400 Altamont turbines. At a cost of about $350 Million, the company simply, as most see it, renewed its legacy as bird killers. (It is also established that the expensive modifications really have not impacted bird kills significantly.)
Certainly, as pointed out by several bird experts, the numbers of massive bird kills, vastly understated by USFWS and Ministries of Natural Resources, USA and Canada, would reflect on certain terror for those species whose numbers continue to plummet. There is no doubt that species such as the Whooping Crane, whose wide migration tangles with turbines and transmission sprawl, will become extinct. Predictions of the mortalities continue to escalate, and many have documented the countless maimed birds that die far from the count area. Numbers in the USA alone are now estimated at between 37 and 42 million per year. This appears to be an industry literally with a licence to ‘kill.’ Well documented now are the sometimes intensely personal accounts of bird mortality counters, and confessions of how the industry places count areas strategically to avoid finding too many dead birds and bats, and the history of burying or hiding birds in excess of allowed numbers.
US laws are firm on penalties for killing endangered Golden or Bald Eagles: a fine of up to $200,000 and/or up to 18 months in a federal prison. OR, Nextera and others, may apply for a new permit to harm, harass and kill, and receive that permit for up to 30 years. If this is a fair field for wildlife, Alice is down the Rabbit Hole again. Wiegand elucidates the misshapen truth: “The wind industry and FWS both use deceptive wind turbine eagle kill numbers. With voluntary regulations and no accountability, they routinely lie or give out half truths about eagle mortality.
There is scientific proof that the eagle death toll is much higher than what the public is being told because the media primarily reports on the body counts given them by the FWS or wind industry. The recent AP story that reported 14 deaths at seven facilities in California , New Mexico , Oregon , and Washington State and Nevada , was not even close. Even the number dead golden eagles found at Altamont have an estimated mortality to be many times the actual body count because they know they do not find most of them. At Altamont over a 5 year period, 54 golden eagle carcasses were collected (10.8 per year) and the death toll to golden eagles was estimated to be 75-116 golden eagles per year. This is 7 to 10 times more dead eagles than the actual body count.” We are reminded, sadly, that take permits given out by FWS or MNR in Ontario, are not real: they are imagined and low. The real numbers of dead is not reflective of the “found dead.”
More Errors and Terrors
Esther Wrightman, again in her statement of defense, says, “Although Nextera claims … it has a complete understanding of the local environment, including wildlife,” the Defendant notes that Nextera has missed at least two active Bald Eagle nests in its assessments in the past year alone in Ontario.
The defence also references two videos, one showing the destruction of the Eagle’s nest, and the other quoting Tom Bird of Nextera saying, “The authorization we got from the Ministry of Natural Resources was to ‘destroy this nest’.” Despite the expert advice of an eagle biologist who strongly advocated against the removal of this particular nest, eighteen workers then descended with chainsaws, cranes and bulldozers and cut down an active nest.
Wrightman adds, “The Act of cutting down an American Bald Eagle nest would usually be illegal in Ontario. Nextera received a special exemption.” What must be pondered is how many special “permits and licences to harm, harass and kill” will Nextera receive in the future, as more projects ensue? Outrage in the US is already flying “fowl”, as Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-Rialto, wants to make life even easier for wind energy developers. “The bill would allow energy companies to obtain state permits to move — or “take” — birds, nests or eggs that are in the way of transmission line projects “to help achieve the state’s renewable energy goals.”
Nextera’s bird killing history, enshrined in memory in Altamont, CA, has extended the drama to Ontario, Canada, and elsewhere. But as Amy Linn points out, industry solutions, have become problems. Permits to kill, harm and harass are abhorrent, and not solutions. To Linn, there is blood on the answers of these solutions. (quoted by Robert Bradley in Master Resource)
Did Esther Wrightman effectively parody the company’s activities with the word, Terror? Has her satire stoked a fire? From her submission:
“The Defendant submits that Nextera has brought a state of fear, terror of invasion, worry, anxiety, and destruction to the community … people have fled their homes before and after their homes have been surrounded by the Plaintiff’s wind developments.”
Next Era has 9,000 turbines across North America, more than any other wind producer.
As the bottom falls out of the man-made climate change industry, those who were among its most bullish investors at the height of the scam are now covering their positions in a bear market.
Great damage was done to this much-hyped imposture by Climategate (“Hide the decline!”), by the discredited “hockey stick”, by the farce over “melting” Himalayan glaciers and the “decrease” in the polar bear population from 5,000 in 1970 to 25,000 today. Yet what has chiefly discredited the climate change superstition is the basic, inescapable fact that there has been no global warming since 1997.
The official face-saving response is that this is a “pause” in an otherwise menacing trend – a pause of a decade and a half. The warmist fanatics will freeze to death in their solar bunkers before they will admit defeat; but the more worldly wise, especially scientists anxious to preserve a vestige of academic credibility, are now striving to effect a withdrawal in good order.
Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change began to ratchet down its more extravagant predictions as early as 2007. In 2010 the Royal Society reviewed its stance on the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory and assumed a more neutral position. Since then, it has been like the retreat from Moscow: last month Oxford scientists, albeit in Delphic language, moderated forecasts of climate disaster.
Last week the ultimate warmist zealot among the political class, Tim Yeo MP, executed a spectacular volte-face. In 2009 Yeo said: “The dying gasps of the deniers [sic] will be put to bed. In five years’ time no-one will argue about a man-made contribution to climate change.” Now, four years later, he is saying: “Although I think the evidence that the climate is changing is now overwhelming, the causes are not absolutely clear. There could be natural causes, natural phases that are taking place.” Within the Anthropogenic Global Warming hierarchy, that retraction is broadly akin to Richard Dawkins joining the Cistercian Order.
The global warming hysteria began in the 1880s but was discredited when its prediction that CO2 would increase the mean global temperature by more than 1C by 1940 was not borne out. What gave it fresh life over the past two decades was the realisation by governments that it could provide a pretext for taxing citizens to unprecedented levels and by private entrepreneurs that government subsidies could supply a dripping roast. Of all the damage that politicians have inflicted on the public, the “green” scam has been among the most extreme.
To read more, here’s the original article, “Wind of Change is Blowing from Scotland.
The RSPB is making hundreds of thousands of pounds from the wind power industry despite the turbines killing millions of birds each year
In a previous partnership with Southern & Scottish Electricity (SSE), which invests in wind and other renewable energy, the RSPB admits to having made £1 million over ten years.
The charity claims that windfarms play an important role in the battle against climate change, which ‘poses the single greatest long-term threat to birds and other wildlife’, and that wind turbines caused only ‘significant detrimental effects’ when poorly sited.
But critics argue there is no such thing as a well-sited windfarm and that the charity has been taken over by green zealots.
Conservationist Mark Duchamp, whose international charity Save The Eagles monitors bird deaths caused by wind farms, said: ‘The fact that such an organisation [the RSPB] is not taking this problem seriously is scandalous.
‘They are supposed to protect birds. Instead they are advocating on behalf of an industry which kills birds. What could be more wrong and absurd than that?’
Dr John Etherington, former reader in ecology at the University of Wales and author of The Wind Farm Scam, said: ‘It seems to me that for some time now a green faction has penetrated a whole range of bodies and that the RSPB is one of them. ‘For an organisation that supposedly protects birds to team up with an industry that kills birds on the basis of unverifiable predictive models about climate change is just bizarre.