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Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here 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. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.

Date added:  December 9, 2022
Ontario, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Estimation of spatiotemporal trends in bat abundance from mortality data collected at wind turbines

Author:  Davy, Christina; Squires, Kelly; and Zimmerling, J. Ryan

Abstract: Renewable energy sources, such as wind energy, are essential tools for reducing the causes of climate change, but wind turbines can pose a collision risk for bats. To date, the population-level effects of wind-related mortality have been estimated for only 1 bat species. To estimate temporal trends in bat abundance, we considered wind turbines as opportunistic sampling tools for flying bats (analogous to fishing nets), where catch per unit effort (carcass abundance per monitored turbine) is a proxy for aerial abundance of bats, after accounting for seasonal variation in activity. We used a large, standardized data set of records of bat carcasses from 594 turbines in southern Ontario, Canada, and corrected these data to account for surveyor efficiency and scavenger removal. We used Bayesian hierarchical models to estimate temporal trends in aerial abundance of bats and to explore the effect of spatial factors, including landscape features associated with bat habitat (e.g., wetlands, croplands, and forested lands), on the number of mortalities for each species. The models showed a rapid decline in the abundance of 4 species in our study area; declines in capture of carcasses over 7 years ranged from 65% (big brown bat [Eptesicus fuscus]) to 91% (silver-haired bat [Lasionycteris noctivagans]). Estimated declines were independent of the effects of mitigation (increasing wind speed at which turbines begin to generate electricity from 3.5 to 5.5 m/s), which significantly reduced but did not eliminate bat mortality. Late-summer mortality of hoary (Lasiurus cinereus), eastern red (Lasiurus borealis), and silver-haired bats was predicted by woodlot cover, and mortality of big brown bats decreased with increasing elevation. These landscape predictors of bat mortality can inform the siting of future wind energy operations. Our most important result is the apparent decline in abundance of four common species of bat in the airspace, which requires further investigation.

Estimación de Tendencias Espacio-Temporales en la Abundancia de Murciélagos a Partir de Datos de Mortalidad Recolectados Alrededor de Turbinas de Viento

Resumen: Las fuentes de energía renovable, como la energía eólica, son herramientas esenciales para la reduc- ción de las causas del cambio climático, aunque las turbinas de viento pueden representar un riesgo de colisión para los murciélagos. A la fecha, los efectos a nivel poblacional de la mortalidad asociada a estas turbinas sólo han sido estimados para una especie de murciélagos. Para estimar las tendencias temporales en la abundancia de murciélagos consideramos a las turbinas de viento como herramientas para el muestreo oportunista de los murciélagos en vuelo (análogo a las redes de pesca), en donde el esfuerzo de captura por unidad (abundancia de cadáveres por turbina monitoreada) es un sustituto para la abundancia aérea de murciélagos, después de considerar la variación estacional en la actividad. Utilizamos un conjunto grande de datos estandarizados del registro de cadáveres de murciélagos alrededor de 594 turbinas al sur de Ontario, Canadá, y corregimos estos datos para justificar la eficiencia del muestreador y la extracción por carroñeros. Usamos modelos de jerarquía bayesiana para estimar las tendencias temporales en la abundancia aérea de los murciélagos y para explorar los efectos de los factores espaciales, incluyendo las características del paisaje asociadas con el hábitat de los murciélagos (p. ej.: humedales, tierras de cultivo y bosques), sobre el número de muertes para cada especie. Los modelos mostraron una declinación rápida en la abundancia de cuatro especies dentro de nuestra área de estudio. Las declinaciones en la captura de cadáveres a lo largo de siete años variaron desde el 65% (Eptesicus fuscus) hasta el 91% (Lasionycteris noctivagans). Las declinaciones estimadas fueron independientes a los efectos de mitigación (el incremento en la velocidad a la cual las turbinas comienzan a generar electricidad de 3.5 a 5.5 m/s), lo cual redujo significativamente la mortalidad de los murciélagos, aunque no llegó a eliminarla. La mortalidad a finales del verano de las especies Lasiurus cinereus, Lasiurus borealis y Lasionycteris noctivagans la pronosticó la cobertura de los lotes boscosos, mientras que la mortalidad de E. fuscus disminuyó conforme incrementó la elevación. Estos elementos pronosticadores del paisaje pueden utilizarse para informar al momento de elegir el sitio para la actividad eólica en el futuro y así evitar la mortalidad en murciélagos. Nuestro resultado más importante es la declinación aparente en la abundancia de cuatro especies comunes de murciélagos en el espacio aéreo, lo cual requiere de más investigación.

Christina M. Davy, Biology Department, Trent University, and Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Kelly Squires, Tau Ecology, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada
J. Ryan Zimmerling, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Gatineau, Québec, Canada

Conservation Biology, Volume 35, No. 1, 227–238. doi:10.1111/cobi.13554

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Date added:  December 8, 2022
Germany, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Diet analysis of bats killed at wind turbines suggests large-scale losses of trophic interactions

Author:  Scholz, Carolin; and Voigt, Christian

[Abstract] Agricultural practice has led to landscape simplification and biodiversity decline, yet recently, energy-producing infrastructures, such as wind turbines, have been added to these simplified agroecosystems, turning them into multi-functional energy-agroecosystems. Here, we studied the trophic interactions of bats killed at wind turbines using a DNA metabarcoding approach to shed light on how turbine-related bat fatalities may possibly affect local habitats. Specifically, we identified insect DNA in the stomachs of common noctule bats (Nyctalus noctula) killed by wind turbines in Germany to infer in which habitats these bats hunted. Common noctule bats consumed a wide variety of insects from different habitats, ranging from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems (e.g., wetlands, farmland, forests, and grasslands). Agricultural and silvicultural pest insects made up about 20% of insect species consumed by the studied bats. Our study suggests that the potential damage of wind energy production goes beyond the loss of bats and the decline of bat populations. Bat fatalities at wind turbines may lead to the loss of trophic interactions and ecosystem services provided by bats, which may add to the functional simplification and impaired crop production, respectively, in multi-functional ecosystems.

Carolin Scholz, Christian C. Voigt
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin; and Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, University of Potsdam, Germany

Conservation Science and Practice. 2022;4:e12744. doi:10.1111/csp2.12744

Diet analysis of bats killed at wind turbines suggests large-scale losses of trophic interactions

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Date added:  December 7, 2022
Economics, U.S.Print storyE-mail story

Federal Support for Developing, Producing, and Using Fuels and Energy Technologies (2016)

Author:  Dinan, Terry; and U.S. Congressional Budget Office

Table 1. Energy-Related Tax Preferences, 2016
Type of Fuel or Technology Supported Tax Preference Estimated Total Cost
(Billions of Dollars)
Expiration Date
Tax Preferences Affecting Income Taxes
Renewable Energy Credits for the production of electricity from renewable resources 3.4 Various
Credits for investments in solar and geothermal equipment, fuel cells, and microturbines 2.6 Various
Credit for investment in advanced energy property, including property used in producing energy from wind, the sun, or geothermal sources 0.3 Fixed $2.3 billion in credit; available until used
Five-year depreciation for certain renewable energy equipment 0.3 None
Total 6.6
Fossil Fuels Expensing of exploration and development costs for oil and natural gas 1.8 None
Option to expense depletion costs on the basis of gross income rather than actual costs 0.9 None
Exceptions for publicly traded partnerships with qualifying income derived from certain energy-related activities 0.9 None
Amortization of costs of air pollution control facilities 0.5 None
Credit for investment in clean coal facilities 0.2 Fixed dollar amount of credit; available until used
15-year depreciation for natural gas distribution lines 0.2 12/31/2010
Amortization of geological and geophysical expenditures associated with oil and gas exploration 0.1 None
Total 4.6
Energy Efficiency Residential efficiency property credit 1.1 12/31/2021
Credit for energy-efficiency improvements to existing homes 0.5 12/31/2016
Credit for new energy-efficient homes 0.4 12/31/2016
Credit for plug-in electric vehicles 0.3 Expires for each manufacturer when the number of vehicles it sells reaches the limit set by the federal government
Deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings 0.2 12/31/2016
10-year depreciation for smart meters or other devices for monitoring and managing energy use 0.1 None
Electricity 15-year depreciation of certain property related to electricity transmission 0.1 None
Total 2.6
Nuclear Energy Special tax rate for reserve funds for nuclear decommissioning 0.2 None
Tax Preferences Affecting Energy-Related Excise Taxes
Renewable Energy Biodiesel and renewable diesel credits 3.6 12/31/2016
Tax incentives for alternative fuels 0.6 12/31/2016
Grants in Lieu of Tax Credits Affecting Energy-Related Excise Taxes
Renewable Energy Section 1603 grants 0.1 12/31/2011
All Energy-Related Tax Preferences
Total 18.4 n.a.

Terry Dinan, Senior Adviser Microeconomic Studies Division, Congressional Budget Office
Before the Subcommittee on Energy Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, March 29, 2017

Download original document: “Federal Support for Developing, Producing, and Using Fuels and Energy Technologies

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Date added:  December 7, 2022
Germany, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Insect fatalities at wind turbines as biodiversity sinks

Author:  Voigt, Christian

[Abstract] Evidence is accumulating that insects are frequently killed by operating wind turbines, yet it is poorly understood if these fatalities cause population declines and changes in assemblage structures on various spatial scales. Current observations suggest that mostly hill-topping, swarming, and migrating insects interact with wind turbines. Recently, the annual loss of insect biomass at wind turbines was estimated for Germany to amount to 1,200t for the plant growth period, which equates to about 1.2 trillion killed insects per year, assuming 1 mg insect body mass. Accordingly, a single turbine located in the temperate zone might kill about 40 million insects per year. Furthermore, Scheimpflug Lidar measurements at operating wind turbines confirm a high insect activity in the risk zone of turbines. These numbers and observations are alarming, yet they require further consolidation, particularly across all continents and climate zones where wind energy industry is expanding. We need to understand (a) how attraction of insects to wind turbines affect fatality rates and interactions of insect predators with wind turbines. (b) We have to connect insect fatalities at wind turbines with source populations and evaluate if these fatalities add to the decline of insect populations and potentially the extinction of species. (c) We need to assess how fatalities at wind turbines change insect-mediated ecosystem services. An ever-growing global wind energy industry with high densities of wind turbines may have long-lasting effects on insects and associated trophic links if negative impacts on insects are not considered during the erection and operation of wind turbines.

Christian C. Voigt, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany

Conservation Science and Practice. 2021;3:e366. doi:10.1111/csp2.366

Download original document: “Insect fatalities at wind turbines as biodiversity sinks

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