Thursday, February 21, 2008

"sliced to death in midair by the spinning turbine blades": I hate when that happens...

Maybe I'm a sicko, but I really enjoy stories about environmentalists killing birds. Of course, it's indirect: they advocate wind power as an alternative energy source, but it chops up birds.

From Sterling Burnett of the NCPA as published by the Heartland Institute, here's a single example of a far larger problem...

A January 2007 settlement agreement intended to reduce the number of bird deaths from wind turbines at Altamont Pass, California is failing, scientists report.

As a result, environmental groups are calling for additional restrictions on wind power generation at the nation's largest wind farm.

Wildlife groups have long objected to the deadly toll wind turbines take on birds and bats. The wind farm at Altamont, with more than 5,000 turbines sprawling over more than 50 square miles of land, has been the poster child for that problem.

Responding to environmental concerns that spawned a federal lawsuit, operators of the installation agreed in January 2007 to a series of measures designed to reduce the roughly 1,700 to 4,700 bird deaths at Altamont Pass each year.

Among the birds killed there each year are protected raptors, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and burrowing owls.

The January 2007 legal settlement, forged among wildlife groups, wind companies, and regulators, required the wind farm operators, through a series of measures, to reduce raptor deaths by 50 percent over three years.

Scientists in December 2007 reported the thousands of wind turbines at Altamont Pass are killing raptors and other birds at approximately the same pace as before the settlement....

Many of the affected bird species are protected by state and federal laws. Some of the birds killed are protected by federal laws so stringent they do not allow the taking or killing of even a single member of the species....

Wind farm critics say the failure to enforce federal wildlife protection laws in the Altamont wind farm case is a result of environmentalists' pressure for wind power.

The bird death issue is complicated by the fact that commercially viable wind farms must be situated in areas where the wind blows as frequently and steadily as possible. These locations tend also to be major flyways for raptors and migratory birds.

Even worse, the farms can actually lure birds to their grisly deaths. Rats, mice, and other rodents utilize turbine bases as nesting grounds, which in turn attracts birds of prey. When the birds of prey circle above their intended meal, they are sliced to death in midair by the spinning turbine blades.

6 Comments:

At February 21, 2008 at 5:55 PM , Blogger Bryce Raley said...

Big article from Business professor at Berkeley which states that solar panels are a waste of money. Pretty harsh.

Not a big point of contention for me, but interesting and somewhat in line with the wind farm deal.

I'm all for alternative fuels but what about the droves of oil in the gulf right now. I've got a geologist buddy who spends his every living minute finding oil around the world for exon and the other big oil companies. He says they find tons of it everyday. He says that the incentives to go get it are not there like they once were. Any thoughts on the economic perspectives of this issue? Are the incentives there and if not are they neccessary?

 
At February 21, 2008 at 6:09 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Why would the incentives have diminished if the price has increased so much?

They don't find as much for any given "find" or reduced subsidies or...?

 
At February 21, 2008 at 8:24 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

Bryce, it's my recollection that the last year that more oil was discovered than was produced was 1965.

I'm reading an interesting book: Power To Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy, by Gwyneth Cravens. She makes a very good case for that energy source. She also shows the ignorance (if not dishonesty) of certain environmentalist or anti-nuclear groups.

 
At February 21, 2008 at 8:53 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I have not read Cravens' book, but did blog about reviews on it.

http://schansblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-nukes-go-nukes.html

If you can't paste the link, just search in the blog under Cravens.

 
At February 21, 2008 at 10:28 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

Good review. I'm up to the chapter on unobtanium.

 
At February 22, 2008 at 2:54 PM , Blogger Bryce Raley said...

I don't know the answers. All I know is that this friend of mine who has been finding oil for years says its there, we just don't want to go get it. I play golf with him several times each year. He is a very conservative guy and it almost seems troubling to him that he is constantly spearheading efforts to catalogue oil deposits and then the information isn't used to drill for and refine the oil. His explanation was that the big oil and gas drilling tax incentives are not as lucrative as they once were and the companies don't want to take the huge risk without the old incentives.

I'm not sure about the legitamacy of his opinion, but I do know that he has been doing this for years and he is the expert that directs these efforts- not the tech guy who carries them out. He makes a lot of money finding oil.

 

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