Resource Documents: Mexico (3 items)
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Author: Conkling, Tara; et al.
Abstract: Renewable energy production can kill individual birds, but little is known about how it affects avian populations. We assessed the vulnerability of populations for 23 priority bird species killed at wind and solar facilities in California, USA. Bayesian hierarchical models suggested that 48% of these species were vulnerable to population-level effects from added fatalities caused by renewables and other sources. Effects of renewables extended far beyond the location of energy production to impact bird populations in distant regions across continental migration networks. Populations of species associated with grasslands where turbines were located were most vulnerable to wind. Populations of nocturnal migrant species were most vulnerable to solar, despite not typically being associated with deserts where the solar facilities we evaluated were located. Our findings indicate that addressing declines of North American bird populations requires consideration of the effects of renewables and other anthropogenic threats on both nearby and distant populations of vulnerable species.
Tara J. Conkling and Todd E. Katzner, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Boise, Idaho
Hannah B. Vander Zanden, Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Taber D. Allison, Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute, Washington, DC
Jay E. Diffendorfer, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado
Thomas V. Dietsch, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad, California
Adam E. Duerr, Bloom Research Inc., Santa Ana, California
Amy L. Fesnock, Desert District Office, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs, California
Rebecca R. Hernandez, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, and Wild Energy Initiative, John Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California, Davis, California
Scott R. Loss, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
David M. Nelson, Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, Maryland
Peter M. Sanzenbacher, Palm Springs Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Palm Springs, California
Julie L. Yee, Western Ecological Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, California
Royal Society Open Science March 2022, Volume 9 Issue 3. doi:10.1098/rsos.211558
Download original document: “Vulnerability of avian populations to renewable energy production”
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
Download original document: “Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat”
Author: Castillo Jara, Emiliano
Wind farm corridor in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
Wind power is the world’s fastest growing renewable energy regarding to the installed capacity of 159 Gigawatts in 2010 (Ren 21, 2010). Wind power is generally considered a clean energy because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions. However, wind power generation has several negative impacts on the environment, health and society. Because of these impacts, wind energy faces a growing opposition, especially from communities and non-governmental organizations in some countries where wind turbines are used. In this regard, this article describes the case of the large scale wind farms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is located in Oaxaca, Mexico, and it possesses one of the best wind resources in the world. Oaxaca’s wind energy potential is estimated at least 500 megawatts (MW), due to its particular topography. In this area, inhabited mainly by indigenous and peasant communities, large scale wind farms are being built in ejido and community lands by transnational corporations, in particular Spanish companies such as Iberdrola, Acciona, Endesa and Gamesa, in order to strengthen the process of energy integration in Centroamerica and sell electricity to private companies through carbon emissions trading.
Most of the wind farms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec are projects supported by the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank in order to encourage the private sector participation in the wind electricity generation and to avoid the mexican government intervention in the power sector. It implies a violation of article 27 of the Mexican Constitution which defines the exclusive function of the State to supply electric power. In fact, a large amount of the electricity generated from wind power is used for private sector activities and not for national needs. Therefore, the wind power generation is a matter of national sovereignty.
The large scale wind farms construction requires to turn the use of rural land into industrial; for this reason, wind companies are signing individual land lease agreements with land owners. However, some indigenous and peasant communities reject wind energy projects because land lease contracts have been signed without public consultation and reliable information about the restrictions on farming activities once wind farms are in operation (Oceransky, 2009).
Furthermore, land lease contracts offers a minimum annual rent payment per hectare to land owners. These are the main reasons why groups such as Grupo Solidario La Venta, Asamblea en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio de Juchitán, Centro de Derechos Humanos Tepeyac, Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Zona Norte del Istmo, among others, do not support wind farms. They demand from the mexican government the nullity of land lease contracts, to remove wind farms, guarantee indigenous people’s rights, and to promote community ownership of the wind farms. However, the mexican government hinder communities access to swift and impartial justice, use violence and intimidating tactics, and support the construction and expansion of the wind farms. This has developed into a conflict between communities, the mexican government and the wind companies.
Besides changes in land use and property rights, environmental impacts of wind energy projects lead to conflict because they affects communities ancestral territories and natural resources necessary for their cultural identity. In relation to this point, some of the major concerns are:
- Contamination of water and soil due to the construction of wind farm infrastructure and associate structure. This may affect farming, which is the community´s main source of income.
- Degradation of visual resources in the region and its surroundings because of the expansion of large scale wind farms. All of this implies several changes in the cultural perceptions of scenic and heritages landscapes.
- Health problems on nearby inhabitants and organisms as a consequence of mechanic and aerodynamic noise from wind turbines.
- Collision risk of birds with large wind turbines in operation. This is so because wind farms are located in one of the most important migration corridor in Mesoamerica.
- Environmental impacts of wind farms through their life cycle, in particular those related to waste management and removal of wind energy facilities, among others.
Social and environmental feasibility
When dealing with the issue of wind energy projects, social and environmental feasibility is because it must be focus on local communities and their participation for decision making in order to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits of wind energy projects and access to wind energy generated electricity service. In this sense, it is necessary to protect indigenous people’s rights over their land, natural resources and institutions, and support mixed or collective ownerships of wind farms and decentralized wind power generation that incorporates social and environmental justice principles.