Resource Documents: Environment (177 items)
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.
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Author: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
March 4, 2013
Subject: Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), Shu’luuk Wind Project, Campo Indian Reservation, San Diego County, California (CEQ # 20130001)
To: Robert Eben, Superintendent, Southern California Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs
From: Kathleen Martyn Goforth, Manager, Environmental Review Office, Region IX, United States Environmental Protection Agency
… The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) assesses the impacts of three project alternatives and a No-Action alternative. A preferred alternative is not identified. According to the DEIS, Alternative 1 would generate approximately 250 megawatts (MW) and consist of 85 3-megawatt turbines; Alternative 2 would generate approximately 200 MW and consist of 80 2-MW turbines plus 40 MW solar photovoltaic panels; and Alternative 3 would generate approximately 160 MW and consist of 71 2.3-MW turbines. All alternatives would include 25 miles of new road, 52 miles of underground cable, an on-Reservation substation, up to 5 miles of transmission line, an operations and maintenance facility, meteorological towers, and groundwater wells. …
Based on our review, we have rated the DEIS’s project alternatives as Environmental Concerns – Insufficient Information …. The DEIS acknowledges significant impacts regarding biological resources (birds and bats), noise, and visual resources, but does not clearly differentiate the levels of these impacts among the alternatives. For biological resources, the DEIS does indicate that Alternative 3 would result in lower golden eagle collision risk, and implies that it would present lower risk to raptors in general; however, insufficient information is provided to determine whether that alternative would also result in significantly reduced noise or other impacts. A clearer depiction of the severity of impacts of each alternative, especially with regard to those impacts that the DEIS predicts are significant, would offer valuable information to the decision-maker and the public.
A more robust alternatives analysis would help to illuminate the extent to which the scope and severity of impacts is driven by the size, number and location of turbines, thereby informing identification of the environmentally preferable alternative and selection of the preferred alternative.
Because the Campo Reservation has existing turbines, there is an opportunity to incorporate actual monitoring data into the impact assessment, yet no such information was provided in the DEIS. We encourage BIA to incorporate this information in the FEIS, to the extent it is available, to inform the impact assessment conclusions. …
Potential health impacts from noise were not discussed. The World Health Organization recommends that, where noise is continuous, the equivalent sound pressure level should not exceed 30 dBA indoors if negative effects on sleep are to be avoided. When the noise is composed of a large proportion of low-frequency sounds, a still lower guideline value is recommended, because low frequency noise can disturb rest and sleep even at low sound pressure levels. [See http://www.who.int/docstore/peh/noise/Comnoise-4.pdf p. 58.] …
We are concerned with the significant impacts to migratory birds, especially red-tailed hawks. The DEIS predicts high mortality rates to individuals and significant adverse effects to the population on the Reservation. …
We are concerned with the significant impacts to bats identified in the DEIS (p. 4.4-38). … The DEIS does include a recommendation for a Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy in MM BIO-3(d) to include minimization and compensation for adverse impacts, but no further information is provided on whether or how this could be accomplished for bats. …
Author: Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area
REPLY TO STATEMENTS OF THE CASE
The Applicant argues that it “stipulated that no more than 38 turbines would be constructed” as part of the Project. WRE Br. at 5. This is incorrect, because the Applicant never proposed a 38-turbine project in compliance with EFSEC’s mandatory procedures. Instead, the proposal reviewed below was the 50-turbine proposal in the Application.
The Applicant, citing a letter written by its company president, Jason Spadaro, asserts that it “conducted more . . . wildlife surveys than any other previously proposed project.” WRE Br. at 4 (citing AR 15791). Mr. Spadaro’s self-serving and unsupported statement is patently incorrect. The Applicant did not even comply with the bare minimum requirements of the WDFW Wind Power Guidelines and EFSEC’s rules (see infra Part III.B)—let alone conduct more surveys than other projects.
The Counties make several statements about the economics of Skamania County. Counties Br. at 1–6, 15, 27. The Supreme Court should disregard these statements, which the Counties do not even attempt to tie to any applicable statute or rule, and which have no bearing on the issues presented in this appeal and no relevance to the applicable law.
Finally, State Respondents argue incorrectly that Petitioners “conceded” that they do not seek a reversal of the decisions. State Br. at 9. To clarify, Petitioners seek both reversal and remand of the decisions listed at pages 3 and 4 of the Opening Brief. However, Petitioners do not challenge State Respondents’ authority to regulate and approve wind energy projects, in contrast to the arguments made in the “ROKT” case. See Residents Opposed to Kittitas Turbines v. State EFSEC, 165 Wn. 2d 275, 305–11, 197 P.3d 1153 (2008). …
Because EFSEC failed to resolve numerous important issues that were contested below, and also violated and ignored multiple statutory and regulatory requirements in the course of its review, the Project’s true impacts were never evaluated and the decision to approve the Project was uninformed. The Court should reverse and remand for further review.
Author: Adams, Amanda; and Keith, David
Estimates of the global wind power resource over land range from 56 to 400 TW. Most estimates have implicitly assumed that extraction of wind energy does not alter large-scale winds enough to significantly limit wind power production. Estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbine drag on local winds have assumed that wind power production of 2–4 W m⁻² can be sustained over large areas. New results from a mesoscale model suggest that wind power production is limited to about 1 W m⁻² at wind farm scales larger than about 100 km². We find that the mesoscale model results are quantitatively consistent with results from global models that simulated the climate response to much larger wind power capacities. Wind resource estimates that ignore the effect of wind turbines in slowing large-scale winds may therefore substantially overestimate the wind power resource.
Environmental Research Letters 8 (2013) 015021
Author: Francis, Jamie
Caithness Energy marked the opening of its Shepherd’s Flat wind farm near Arlington in September. Billed as one of the world’s largest wind farms, the project attracted national attention for stacking federal and state subsidies. Developers subdivided the project to qualify for three $10 million tax credits from Oregon, where regulators approved the final tax credit last month. Photos by Jamie Francis, The Oregonian. Click photos for larger versions.