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Resource Documents: Impacts (119 items)

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Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.


Date added:  March 15, 2017
Noise, Regulations, VermontPrint storyE-mail story

Proposal and comments for implementing a rule regarding sound from wind generation projects

Author:  Ambrose, Stephen

There is an unsaid purpose and intent for this request [from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB)]. Might it be an acknowledgement that “Vermont’s wind turbine noise rule does not protect neighbors from excessive noise and adverse health impacts”? This is obviously due to persistent complaints, and at least one home abandonment. This solicitation for public comments should not be used to divert-delay-deny public attention. Wind turbine neighbors want the PSB to correct the current flawed regulations based on accepting for regulatory rules those the wind industry recommends. If the PSB sought advice from truly independent sources they would have learned that 45 dBA is only applicable for urban-residential areas and even for those communities is not sufficient to protect people. Ontario, and other Canadian provinces have regulations setting 40 dBA as the not-to-exceed threshold. Yet, recent studies have shown strong evidence that 40 dBA is not preventing adverse health impacts. Even 40 dBA is too loud. Somehow the cautionary warnings of the 1970s about 35 dBA for quiet rural-residential environments have been ignored. Standards such as ISO 1996 and ANSI’s S12.9 still support 35 dBA for nighttime noise in quiet rural regions.

The noise rule needs a large scale reduction in its permitted noise limits to protect and minimize noise complaints. Anything less will only continue the endless discussions for equivocating with fudging, quibbling, and evading the need to lower to 35 dBA. Adding superfluous and complicated measurements, procedures or protocols around the 45 dBA will only continue to result in failure. The PSB should understand this after receiving reams of unfathomable data from acousticians closely aligned with developers that has no connection to a human response.

The PSB should seek assistance from independent experts to establish a noise rule that minimizes adverse human responses. This noise limit must be easy to understand and enforce. The PSB should not have to deal with the intricacies of acoustic science, noise sources, propagation, and weather. These are the concerns for the noise consultants who are responsible to their wind developer clients, who need to advise their clients on how not to harm the public. The PSB should focus on public health and enforcing compliance; and not be negotiating mitigating options with developers, operators, or consultants.

The current wind turbine sound rule should be abandoned and replaced with the previous noise limits. The Environmental Board used Lmax for its regulations and that has been upheld by the Vermont Supreme Court (see page 11). The Lmax refers to the instantaneous maximum level (LAmax) relative to the background (LA90). People hear the instantaneous variations above the background and respond accordingly, which cannot be substituted with a time-weighted average. Adverse public reactions are shown to occur when the Lmax exceeds the background L90 by 10 dB.

Answers for most of the questions start on the next page …

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Date added:  March 15, 2017
Noise, Regulations, VermontPrint storyE-mail story

Vermont Public Service Board Sound Rule Workshop

Author:  Ambrose, Stephen

[ Download presentation PDF. ]

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Date added:  March 13, 2017
Germany, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Bird collisions at an offshore platform in the North Sea

Author:  Hüppop, Ommo; et al.

Abstract:

Capsule: Collisions with offshore structures in the North Sea could account for the mortality of hundreds of thousands of nocturnally migrating birds.

Aims: To assess, for the first time, the circumstances of mass fatalities at an offshore structure, including the species involved, their numbers, ages, body conditions and injuries.

Methods: At an unmanned tall offshore research platform in the southeastern North Sea, bird corpses were collected on 160 visiting days from October 2003 to December 2007. Corpses were identified to species and kinds of injury, ages, and fat and muscle scores were determined. Nocturnal bird calls were recorded, identified to species and quantified. Local and large-scale weather parameters were also considered.

Results: A total of 767 birds of 34 species, mainly thrushes, European Starlings and other passerines, were found at 45 visits. Most carcasses were in good body condition and young birds were not more affected than adults. Three quarters of 563 examined individuals had collision induced injuries. Birds in poor body condition were less likely to be collision victims than those in good condition. Mass collision events at the illuminated offshore structure coincided with increasingly adverse weather conditions and an increasing call intensity of nocturnal birds.

Conclusions: Assuming an average of 150 dead birds per year at this single offshore structure and additionally assuming that a considerable proportion of the corpses were not found, we estimate that mortality at the 1000 + human structures in the North Sea could reach hundreds of thousands of birds. Since offshore industrialization will progress and collision numbers at offshore turbines will consequently increase considerably, we recommend reinforced measures to reduce bird strikes at offshore structures, especially in the light of substantial declines in some migrant species.

Ommo Hüppop, Kathrin Hüppop, Jochen Dierschke, Institute of Avian Research, Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Reinhold Hill, Avitec Research, Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Germany

Bird Study, 2016, volume 63, issue 1, pages 73-82
doi: 10.1080/00063657.2015.1134440

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Date added:  February 24, 2017
Canada, Mexico, U.S., WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat

Author:  Frick, Winifred; Baerwald, Erin; Pollock, Jacob; Barclay, Robert; Szymanski, Jennifer; et al.

Abstract: Large numbers of migratory bats are killed every year at wind energy facilities. However, population-level impacts are unknown as we lack basic demographic information about these species. We investigated whether fatalities at wind turbines could impact population viability of migratory bats, focusing on the hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), the species most frequently killed by turbines in North America. Using expert elicitation and population projection models, we show that mortality from wind turbines may drastically reduce population size and increase the risk of extinction. For example, the hoary bat population could decline by as much as 90% in the next 50 years if the initial population size is near 2.5 million bats and annual population growth rate is similar to rates estimated for other bat species (λ = 1.01). Our results suggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America. If viable populations are to be sustained, conservation measures to reduce mortality from turbine collisions likely need to be initiated soon. Our findings inform policy decisions regarding preventing or mitigating impacts of energy infrastructure development on wildlife.

W.F. Frick, E.F. Baerwald, J.F. Pollock, R.M.R. Barclay, J.A. Szymanski, T.J. Weller, A.L. Russell, S.C. Loeb, R.A. Medellin, L.P. McGuire

  • Bat Conservation International, PO Box 162603, Austin, Texas (W.F.F.)
  • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Cal. (W.F.F., J.F.P.)
  • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta (E.F.B.)
  • American Wind Wildlife Institute, Washington, DC (E.F.B., R.M.R.B.)
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Resource Center, Onalaska, Wis. (J.A.S.)
  • United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Arcata, Cal. (T.J.W.)
  • Department of Biology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich. (A.L.R.)
  • United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Clemson, S.Car. (S.C.L.)
  • Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Distrito Federal, Mexico (R.A.M.)
  • Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas (L.P.M.)

Biological Conservation, Volume 209, May 2017, Pages 172–177
doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.02.023

Download original document: “Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat”

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