4.0 Industrial wind turbines are a new, cumulative, limiting factor
Accompanying this loss of habitat is the unprecedented menace of industrial wind turbines to passerine (grassland) species which the MNR does not appear to be taking into account. Post
construction studies indicate that (along with raptors and bats) passerines are exceptionally vulnerable to collision mortality from the turbine blades, especially during migration and (COSEWIC 2012) and unfavourable weather conditions.
A foreseeable cumulative effect will result as increasingly more wind turbines are built without regard to critical habitats across the province. The cumulative effect of multiple wind developments in Ontario and the Eastern USA must now be considered as an additional limiting factor for these migratory birds—one that is unlikely to be reversed given the rate at which wind projects are being approved by the Ontario government.
This additional limiting factor must be carefully weighed in MNR decisions permitting wind energy developments. Biologists have urged that “efforts should also be made to assess the cumulative
impacts of small-scale local effects on the different geographically defined avian populations”. (Desholm and Kahlert 2005)
Albert Manville, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Division of Migratory Bird Management at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also warns: “The numbers of Bird Species of Conservation Concern killed by wind turbines is increasing, and that’s troubling. These species are already declining, in some cases rather
precipitously. The use of wind power must be balanced by the equally important goal of protecting birds and bats. To accomplish that goal, we need to be smarter about where we place wind power facilities.” (Manville 2005)
Ontario Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, cautions: “Wind power project sites are evaluated and approved on an individual basis, with no regard for the potential cumulative effects on
birds or bats from other nearby wind power facilities or other potential sources of bird and bat mortality”. . . . “I am concerned that the current guidelines do not go far enough to ensure that wind power development is compatible with Ontarians’ objective of protecting wildlife. Given the importance of selecting sites that minimize the harm to birds and bats, it just makes sense to avoid building wind energy projects in these species’ most ecologically sensitive locations. . . .The Ministry
of Natural Resources should rectify these shortcomings”.(Sarnia Observer, Wednesday, October 10, 2012).
The MNR must remember the proximity of Amherst Island to Wolfe Island. Each of the 86 industrial wind turbines on Wolfe Island killed an average of 13.4 birds during the first year of operation. This is equivalent to 1152.4 birds for the development during the first year; over the 20 year life of the
project one may expect many more mortalities. The Bobolink and the Tree Swallow were among the species already experiencing population declines killed at Wolfe Island.
A new study just published in the United States has estimated that around 573,000 birds were killed by wind turbines in 2012 (including 83,000 birds of prey), an increase of 30 per cent on a previous estimate by the US fish and Wildlife Service in 2009. Bats are even worse hit, says author Dr. K. Shawn Smallwood, and probably top 888,000 killed per year.12 “Clearly this has serious implications for the renewable energy industry, which bases much of its investment and publicity on the safety and
environmental sustainability of the machines. Smallwood also believes his figures are underestimated, owing to the incompleteness of reports of bird and bat deaths from different
An article by Clive Hambler, lecturer in biological and human sciences at Oxford University, warns: “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.
12 Smallwood, K Shawn. 2013. Comparing bird and bat fatality-rate estimates among North American wind-energy projects. Wildlife Society Bulletin 37: 19-33. (13 Bird Watch News Archive, 21 July, 2013).
Why is the public not more aware of this carnage? First, because the wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological organizations) 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”. (Hambler 2013)
4.1 The ecosystem disturbance during construction has not been considered
The disturbance to the local ecosystem caused by wind turbines is long term (20 years+), continuous, and in all probability, irreversible. It is not difficult to imagine the impairment of
a sensitive ecosystem during the construction phase. Even for a modest sized development of only 46 turbines, the invasion of 13,018 gravel trucks accompanied by heavy excavation equipment will disturb a much greater area than the project site and fragment the habitat during the construction of up to 46 km of access roads. Heavy component transports, cranes, and concrete mixers will follow.
“During wind farm construction, pile driving will add significantly to existing human noise in the area; at European wind farm sites, some species tend to move as far as 20km away during construction”. (Mooney, 2012)
Many kilometres of excavations for connector cables will sever ecological links. The work goes on for the better part of a year. By that time, the habitat has lost most of the characteristics that made it a refuge capable of supporting threatened wildlife. 15
The consequences of “displacement due to disturbance, barrier effects and habitat loss. . . may be direct mortality or more subtle changes to condition and breeding success”. (Drewitt and Langston, 2006).
Neighbours around turbine developments soon observe the disappearance of all but the most common species. Avoidance behaviour has been demonstrated by Desholm and Kahlert (2005) who
found that the diurnal percentage of flocks entering a wind farm area decreased significantly (by a factor 4.5) from pre-construction to initial operation.
Rees (2012) observed large-scale displacement, with fewer swans and geese returning to areas after wind farms were installed. Loesch et al. (2012) has observed a negative median displacement of 21% for breeding duck densities near wind energy developments.
According to Dr. Scott Petrie, Executive Director of Long Point Waterfowl and Adjunct Professor in Biology at the University of Western Ontario: “When you place a turbine in or very close to critical habitats, and birds subsequently avoid those
areas, it is tantamount to habitat loss.”14
4.2 Bird and bat abundance declines at wind turbine sites
Biologists are worried about all these things: habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, wildlife disturbance,
abandonment and life history disruption.
Brennan has pointed out that while “ecologists and wildlife managers have been concerned about the negative impacts of wind energy developments or wind farms on migratory birds such as
passerines and raptors, as well as bats . . . widespread fragmentation [also] results, not only from (14 From an address given in Grand Bend, Ontario, 7 February, 2012) placement of the wind turbine towers, but also from the infrastructure of roads needed to construct and service them and the transmission lines required to access the continental electrical power grid.”
(Brennan et al, 2009)
“The associated infrastructure required to support an array of turbines—such as roads and transmission lines—represents an even larger potential threat to wildlife than the turbines
themselves because such infrastructure can result in extensive habitat fragmentation and can provide avenues for invasion by exotic species”. (Kuvlevsky et al, 2010) Abundance declines can become more pronounced with time. Disruption of ecological links results in habitat abandonment by some species. The loss of population vigour and overall density resulting from reduced survival or reduced breeding productivity is a particular concern for declining populations. (Barrios and Rodriguez 2004; Stewart et al. 2004; Kingsley and Whittam 2005; Manville
2005; Desholm 2006; Everaert and Kuijken 2007, Kunz et al. 2007).
4.3 Noise from wind turbines is detrimental to survival of wildlife
Scientists are concerned about the effect of wind turbine noise on wildlife. In October, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warned: “Noise can affect both the sending and receiving of important acoustic signalling and sounds. This also can cause behavioural modifications in certain species of birds and bats such as decreased foraging and mating success and overall avoidance of noisy areas. The inaudible frequencies of sound
may also have negative impacts to wildlife. Given the mounting evidence regarding the negative impacts of noise – specifically low frequency levels of noise such as those created by wind turbines on birds, bats and other wildlife, it is important to take precautionary measures to ensure that noise impacts at wind facilities are thoroughly investigated prior to development”. (USFWS 2011)
“Declines in densities of woodland and grassland bird species have been shown to occur at noise thresholds between 45 and 48 dB, respectively; while the most sensitive woodland and grassland
species showed declines between 35 and 43 dB, respectively. Songbirds specifically appear to be sensitive to very low sound levels equivalent to those in a library reading room (~30 dBA)”. (Foreman and Alexander 1998)
“At a distance 300 ft from the blades, 45-50 dBA were detected; at 2,000 ft, 40 dBA; and at 1 mi, 30-35 dBA (Kaliski 2009). Given this knowledge, it is possible that effects to sensitive species may be occurring at ≥ 1 mile from the center of a wind facility at periods of peak sound production”. (Dooling and Popper 2007)
“The effect of ambient noise on communication distance and an animal’s ability to detect calls is another concern. For birds, this can mean 1) behavioral and/or physiological effects, 2) damage to hearing from acoustic over-exposure, and 3) masking of communication signals and other biologically relevant sounds. . . . This masking effect of turbine blades is of concern and should be considered as part of the cumulative impacts analysis of a wind facility on wildlife. It must be recognized that
noise in the frequency region of avian vocalizations will be most effective in masking these vocalizations. . . Masking could prove detrimental to the health and survival of wildlife”. (Dooling and Popper 2007)15
“Impacts of noise could thus be putting species at risk by impairing signalling and listening capabilities necessary for successful communication and survival”. (Barber et al. 2010) Bayne et al. (2008) found that areas near noiseless energy facilities had a total passerine density 1.5 times greater
than areas near noise-producing energy facilities. 15 “At a distance 300 ft from the blades, 45-50 dBA were detected; at 2,000 ft, 40 dBA; and at 1 mi, 30-35 dBA (Kaliski 2009).
Given this knowledge, it is possible that effects to sensitive species may be occurring at ≥ 1 mile from the center of a wind facility at periods of peak sound production”. (Dooling and Popper 2007) 18 Francis et al. (2009) showed that noise alone reduced nesting species richness and led to a different composition of avian communities. Forman et al. (2002) reported that “several species of grassland bird (especially the Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark) decreased in numbers and breeding in patches as the amount of traffic on roadways increased”.16
R2.0 Economic, social, and scientific considerations.
Under the Environmental Bill of Rights, Ministry decision-making must include “social, economic and scientific considerations”.
2.1 Economic cost of wind turbines
While the government and proponents continue to claim that wind turbines create jobs and contribute to the growth of the provincial economy, this contention is contradicted by Ontario’s
experience. From records that have become available over the last year, it is now apparent that the economic impact of The Green Energy and Economy Act (GEA) on the Ontario economy has been a negative one. Most of the jobs predicted by the GEA have failed to materialize. Wind turbine installations have
required only small numbers of temporary construction workers. With the international trade ruling against Ontario manufactured components, future profitability looks bleak for wind turbine
manufacturing. Skyrocketing electricity rates are forcing manufacturers and high electricity consumption businesses to leave the province, taking jobs with them. The Ontario Auditor General’s 2011 Report on Renewable Energy Initiatives noted that uncalculated costs were adding to energy bills with the consequent negative effect on industry, employment and
the economy. He cited the millions it is costing electricity ratepayers to export wind energy more (5) often than not produced during times it can not be used on the grid (86% in 2010). “From 2005 to the end of our audit in 2011, Ontario received $1.8 billion less for its electricity exports than what it actually cost electricity ratepayers of Ontario”1
EXAMPLE OF COSTS:
Operators of a wind development of 60 MW (slightly smaller than the one proposed for Amherst Island) are guaranteed $21 million per year.2 5045 MW of wind turbines are now3 in various stages of approval. This implies a committed charge to be borne by consumers of $1.76 billion per year, or over $336 per residential consumer on average. Even if an individual’s consumption falls, this committed expenditure must be recovered, so that would just result in an increase in rates to pay the
commitment. Storage options being discussed will more than double this committed cost. Most of the $1.76 billion will go offshore to big multinational energy corporations.
The construction of a 75-megawatt wind power facility on privately owned land on Amherst Island, in Loyalist Township, County of Lennox & Addington will not be of economic or social benefit to the Province.
2.2 The fallacy of CO2 savings
When the argument is made that without wind turbines there will be devastating global warming caused by galloping CO2 emissions and that neither birds and bats nor humans will survive is
fallacious because it assumes that industrial wind turbines when added to electricity grids reduce green house gas emissions. This is not true. CO2 emissions continue to rise in all countries that have installed wind turbines. (1) Auditor General’s 2011 Report on Renewable Energy Initiatives (Chapter 3 “Ministry of Energy: Electricity Sector—Renewable Energy Initiatives”), p. 112. (2) Based on an anticipated capacity factor of 30% and the feed in tariff guaranteed contract payment
of $135 per MWH, whether the energy is needed or not. (3) Identified by the OPA, IESO, and Environmental Registry.
It is also claimed that wind turbines are necessary to shut down coal generation. However wind cannot shut down coal because it is not a base line energy source. Its intermittency and
unpredictability require fossil-fuelled back up operating inefficiently 24/7.4 The Ontario Auditor General noted that the government was warned in 2007 that new wind power would create higher green house gas emissions.
5 Wind is not effective for displacing coal because wind energy availability is mismatched to demand. Much of the time in Ontario, both on a seasonal and a daily basis, wind is not available when needed. This is why wind energy introduces serious grid-management issues. Adding intermittent wind
output increases CO2 emissions. Experience gained with operating the existing wind turbines shows that in reality wind turbines are forcing non-carbon emitting generating sources to be less efficient, thereby unnecessarily increasing the warming of the atmosphere, discharging steam without generating electricity; or spilling water, while actually requiring on line excess capability of coal-fired and natural gas generators to be connected to the grid to provide back up for when the wind
generators drop in output.
This is happening with the current wind turbine penetration of 1726 MW on the IESO monitored system and 2015 MW in commercial operation (as identified by the Ontario Power Authority). A
further 3776 MW already under OPA contract is yet to be added to the system. When this magnitude of wind generation is added, either more base load nuclear units will be forced off line (as is already
4 In fact, coal generation is being increased in Germany as a result of the need to back up wind
5 A Multi-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group letter to the Minister of Energy (and copied to the Minister of Natural Resources) dated 15 March, 2013, provided data showing that “coal generation dropped from 40 TWh in 2003 to 4 TWh in 2012, not because of a new policy of “expanding
renewable sources of energy,” but as a result of:
the restart of nuclear units that was already in progress in 2003 and improved performance
of other nuclear units, (~ 20 TWh increase in nuclear output from 2003 to 2012);
the addition of natural gas fired generators (~ 10 TWh increase from 2003 to 2012);
and a reduction in the Ontario demand of about 15 TWh due to the economic setback since 2006.
happening), which will require carbon emitting gas fired units to take up the slack when wind output falls, as it invariably does; or the wind generators will be paid to shut down (which also is already happening). The IESO has estimated this will cost consumers an additional $200 million a year. Thereis no rational economic or environmental basis for continuing to add more wind to the Ontario system.
2.3 Social issues
In the words of an article in Municipal and Planning Law Reports:
“Industrial wind farms have generated wide-spread controversy, focusing on potential adverse
human health effects and ecosystem harm within the context of the precautionary principle, and
more particularly on the threat to bats and birds which are most vulnerable during migration. . . . narrow appeal right to the Environmental Review Tribunal has replaced both the appeal process under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 and pre-GEA opportunities to challenge approvals under municipal and provincial political and planning structures. The resulting loss of local authority and input has generated significant, organized public outcry. At present, Ontario’s permitting scheme for renewable energy undertakings is being challenged on issues of legal validity,
questions of best planning practices, and the role of local community consultation and participation”. There is widespread public outcry from conservationists and rural residents at the fact that that the
Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources is doing nothing to defend sensitive environments from electricity generation industrialization. In every case it is left to private initiatives to mount a defence for sensitive wildlife habitats against what should never have been allowed under Ontario’s environmental legislation or Provincial Policy Statement in the first place.
6 Marguerite Moore. “THROWing the PreCAUTIONary Principle TO THE WIND: The Green Energy Act,
a Permitting Process in Search of the Precautionary Principle and the Principle of Subsidiarity”.
Municipal and Planning Law Reports (Articles). 4th series, 2010.
Citizens are increasingly expressing their anger and resentment at the Green Energy Act’s unrealistic and prejudicial reversal of onus clause which requires residents to prove harm to health and the environment before a development has even been constructed. Because the appeal must be submitted within 15 days of the project’s approval it is not easy to engage a lawyer or for him or her to prepare a case in time. This makes it virtually impossible to win an appeal. Tribunals have even adjusted hearing dates so that appellants’ lawyers were unable to present their cases because of previous commitments about which they had already informed the Tribunal.
The growing number of approvals requiring citizen appeals through Environmental Review Tribunals is placing a huge additional financial burden upon rural residents. This process takes private citizen funding out of the community– money which could be more beneficially used for local needs. Rural citizens are forced to raise the funds for these courtroom contests, heavily weighted in favour of deep pocketed developers supported by teams of expensive lawyers. They also face a team of government lawyers opposing them—lawyers they themselves are paying through their taxes. The unfair appeals process itself is a source of growing frustration and bitterness for country residents. Energy poverty, however, is a social issue that extends also to the urban population. It is resulting from the relentless increase in electricity rates caused by the reckless and uncalculated government contract commitments for renewable energy. It is especially vexatious for households where a wage earner is unemployed, for low income families and the elderly on fixed incomes. The green association with skyrocketing electricity rates has already been responsible for the fall of at least one European government.
The government’s ill-considered inflexibility insists that there are no adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines on the basis of the report by the Chief Medical Officer of Health—a report discredited by international medical professionals as flawed and based on an earlier industry-produced document. Those who are experiencing distress from turbines operating too close to their homes are outraged at repeated use of this report to dismiss their sufferings. They point out that it failed to consider all of the available research or even consult with actual persons living near the turbines. This ultimately untenable position has caused even more indignation now that a review by Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Hazel Lynne using more recent documents, has found 18 peer reviewed studies that found evidence of an association between wind turbines and distress among some people who live near them and three which indicated distress was dose related. Every time another turbine development is approved, public outrage in rural Ontario becomes stronger.
Scores of municipalities have now indicated that they are not willing hosts to wind turbines. This is a huge social issue which, along with growing urban dissatisfaction at skyrocketing electricity costs and government waste through gas plant and other scandals is destined to have considerable repercussions in the near future.
July 26, 2013
Comments Re: EBR Registry Number: 011-9446
Amherst Island Wind Energy Project
Permit for activities with conditions to achieve overall benefit to the species –
ESA s.17(2)(c) Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
Submitted by Keith Stelling
1.0 Issuing an Overall Benefit Permit for Amherst Island is inconsistent with the mandate of the MNR. …………… 3
1.1 Summary …. 3
2.0 Economic, social, and scientific considerations…. 4
2.1 Economic cost of wind turbines …. 4
2.2 The fallacy of CO2 savings ….. 5
2.3 Social issues ….. 7
3.0 Failure to consider body of scientific research ….. 9
3.1 Numbers decline when habitat is fragmented or reduced…. 10
3.2 Reproductive success is lower in small habitat fragments .10
3.3 Bobolink sensitivities to area, habitat size, edge habitat and nest predation ….. 10
4.0 Industrial wind turbines are a new, cumulative, limiting factor ….. 11
4.1 The ecosystem disturbance during construction has not been considered ….. 14
4.2 Bird and bat abundance declines at wind turbine sites … 15
4.3 Noise from wind turbines is detrimental to survival of wildlife …. 16
5.0 Mitigation ….. 18
5.1 Can industry self-monitoring be considered unbiased? …. 19
6.0 The cumulative result of “Overall Benefit Permits” ….. 21
7.0 Requirements for clause 17(2)(c) are not met ….. 22
8.0 Illegal contravention of existing federal and provincial legislation ….. 26
9.0 Conclusion ….. 26
References ….. 27
1.0 Issuing an Overall Benefit Permit for Amherst Island is inconsistent with the mandate of the MNR. It is incumbent upon the Ministry of Natural Resources under its mandate as confirmed in its Statement of Environmental Values, (Environmental Bill of Rights, (1994)) to protect and conserve “ecologically sensitive areas or processes”.
Amherst Island is an example of the type of critical habitat, and increasingly rare biological and ecological diversity that is the Ministry’s duty to protect. It is a migratory staging area, a recognized IBA (Important Bird Area) and its rich island ecological system contains three provincially significant wetlands and habitat for 34 species at risk. Many bird species protected by the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Ontario Endangered Species Act (ESA) use the entirety of the island. The development has the potential to adversely affect Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Whippoor-will habitat (among others). All three are experiencing critical population declines and have been listed by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) as “threatened.”
This presentation shows why issuing an “Overall Benefit Permit” to allow a 75-megawatt wind power facility to be constructed on Amherst Island would be a contravention of the ministry’s mandate to protect and conserve “ecologically sensitive areas or processes”. Such a decision would also have to be made in wilful blindness of existing scientific evidence (set forth below) as to the devastation such a development would cause to the three species facing critical declines. Since the MNR is committed to using up-to-date scientific evidence in making its decisions, this would be a further dereliction of duty. Finally, the issuing of an Overall Benefit Permit to allow the destruction of habitat of endangered species would contravene existing federal and provincial legislation and could not be justified on the basis of the incomplete and ineffective mitigation plan that has been presented.
To issue an Overall Benefit Permit for the proposed Amherst Island project fails to protect and conserve significant wildlife habitat. It also contravenes existing provincial and federal legislation, fails to align with the Ministry’s own guidelines for issuing such permits, and wilfully misunderstands the body of scientific research that clearly demonstrates that habitat fragmentation and destruction leads to irreversible declines in threatened species and that providing alternative habitat is usually unsuccessful, especially in the case of these three species which are habitat sensitive.
(27) The recent history of the MNR in dealings with wind farms has demonstrated a deplorable failure of due diligence and a breach of trust. The MNR is complicit in NOT protecting our environment. It should be remembered that the public are paying MNR wages, not the wind farms.
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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.
Plans to expand wind energy into the most scenic parts of Germany are fueling increasing opposition across the country.
Anti-wind campaigners are angry that areas including the forests made famous by the tales of the brothers Grimm are among the targets for new turbines.
For the first time they have formed a national opposition group to thwart the expansion.
They say the growth of wind will damage forests and tourism across the country.
There is nobody who stands up and tells the truth, we have to stop now”
Markus Storck Bicycle designer
Germany has embarked on a massive expansion of renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Chancellor Merkel’s government decided to phase out atomic plants more rapidly and instead increased the opportunities for green power.
WSith guaranteed prices for 20 years thanks to feed-in tariffs enshrined in law, solar farms, biogas plants and wind parks have boomed. There are now 1.3 million small co-operatives and households supplying renewable energy to the grid.
This Energiewende or energy transformation has been remarkably successful, with 22% of Germany’s electricity being generated by renewables in 2012. Wind has played a major part in this change, and the public has been generally supportive, despite rapidly increasing energy bills.
To date, a majority of the 23,000 wind turbines in the country have been built in the flatter north and eastern parts of the country. But now the focus of expansion is on the picture postcard areas of dark forest and lush green hills in the central and southern areas of Germany.
One such region is the Rheinhardswald in the northern part of the state of Hesse. This is the home of the magical tales of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and others, made famous in the books of the brothers Grimm.
This quiet, scenic place is a magnet for tourists from all over the world.
But now there are also plans to build up to 200 turbines on the surrounding hills.
Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg is a PhD student and a vocal opponent of the plans.
“It is not because this is the area of Sleeping Beauty,” she says.
“I want the green movement, I want green technology, I don’t want nuclear power – but they should be made in the right way and not by destroying the forest.
“We have here special, old growth forest and some species just live in this area and are in danger because of the turbines.”
The campaigners argue that putting wind turbines in this area makes no sense. The wind speeds are low and the area is home to some extremely rare birds including the endangered black stork.
Across Germany, the plans for expansion have pitted green against green – the potential damage to natural resources from the building of turbines seems to be the biggest concern for opponents.
About 170 regional groups opposed to wind energy have now formed a national organisation called Vernunftkraft, to fight the expansion of turbines. They are trying to get enough signatures on a petition to force the German parliament to debate the future direction of the Energiewende, especially the subsidies for wind energy.
Some of those involved believe that unlike solar power, which has been adopted by many individual householders, wind parks are essentially speculative investments with electricity consumers guaranteeing a return for developers.
At his sleek workshop near Wiesbaden, several hundred kilometres away from the fairytale forests of Sleeping Beauty, Markus Storck designs some of the greenest machines on the planet.
His crafted, lightweight bicycles have won dozens of awards. His products sell all over the world and he has also experimented with electric bikes.
But he is now vehemently opposing the expansion of wind energy in Germany, and is highly critical of developers and the subsidies that bolster their projects.
“They are getting people to invest by telling them they can make money with it, but people will also lose like with the internet. I would call it a wind bubble,” he says.
“There is nobody who stands up and tells the truth, we have to stop now.”
While the protestors are becoming more organised, they still represent a relatively small section of society.
Opinion polls continue to show widespread political support for the energy transformation and for wind energy as well. There is a common belief that opponents of wind are “nimbys” – short for “Not In My Back Yard” – who only complain because the turbines are coming to their local areas.
Hans-Josef Fell is the Green MP who is sometimes called the father of the feed-in tariff. In 2000, he wrote the draft of the Renewable Energy Source Act that kick-started the energy transformation. He characterises the opponents of wind as small, aggressive groups.
“They don’t bother to have an honest discussion, because they want to prohibit a wind turbine in their backyard,” he says.
“They don’t recognise that by doing so, other people have to deal with the consequences of an opencast coal mine or radioactive waste storage.”
There are other issues associated with the energy transformation that are troubling environmentalists. The shutdown of nuclear reactors in the south of the country means there is a need to transfer energy from the north. New, high voltage cables are needed to link onshore and offshore wind parks to consumers and industry.
But critics are worried that these new cables will not only damage the landscape, they could also be a risk to public health.
Going undergroundThere are demands from the Green party that the wires be buried where possible. But many landowners are unwilling to, quite literally, give ground for the projects.
In the central university town of Goettingen, local Green party councillor Harald Wiedemann has concerns about how these plans will work.
“The problem is, on the one hand the cost, and on the other is the electro-magnetic field – no one has said they will have 1,000kw cables here but in future it is possible”, he says.
“We have to build these cables really far away from towns – it is too expensive to put them underground for such a long distance, no-one can pay.”
Whether people are objecting to electricity pylons or the building of wind turbines, much of the opposition appears to be practical and not grounded in climate change scepticism. A majority accept that rising temperatures and the need for secure, sustainable energy sources means the energy transition must go ahead.
Back at the home of Sleeping Beauty, the opponents of turbines insist that they are open to compromise.
Guenter Koseck, the owner of the castle at Sababurg that is reputed to have been the home of the slumbering princess, says this is not an ideological fight.
“This area is owned by the state, so if we get turbines here only because it is the easiest place to locate them and not because it is the most efficient area, then I would object,” he says.
“We want to move to green energy, and it has to be located somewhere. Without any question I would accept it here, as long as the arguments are right.”
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 Ungreening of Windpower: Dina Cappiello (AP) Blows the Whistle on Big Wind (and others are following)
“[The Obama] administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind-energy company, even those that flout the law repeatedly. Instead, the government is shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the [bird] deaths secret.”
– Dina Cappiello, “Obama Administration Allows Wind Farms to Kill Eagles, Birds Despite Federal Laws, Washington Post, May 14, 2013. [Note: WaPo scrubbed the article where the link does not work.]
“By accepting the compromises of the real world and enthusiastically supporting the establishment of the wind industry, [environmentalists] entered the devil’s bargain that now prevents them from fighting the power companies. . . . Here in the almost wilds of Altamont Pass, the environmentalists and Kenetech have reached the point where solutions become problems–the point at which there is blood on the answer.”
– Amy Linn, “Whirly Birds,” SF Weekly, March 29-April 4, 1995.
The Shared Narrative of windpower as ”green” is under assault. What was relegated to the shadows in years and decades past is coming out as never before.
Earlier this month, AP environmental writer Dina Cappiello’s exposed the federal government’s double-environmental standard towards windpower. As such, she ’mainstreamed’ the work of wind critics Robert Bryce, Paul Driessen, Sherri Lange, James Rust, Tom Tanton, Jim Wiegand, among others.
Is it open season and catch-up time regarding what is politely called windpower’s “avian mortality” problem? In Sunday’s New York Times, Felicity Barringer’s Turbine Plans Unnerve Fans of Condors in California quoted Kelly Fuller of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) about how the U.S. Department of Interior’s new wind-turbine/bird policy ”blindsided folks.”
Fuller explained in a press release: