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Resource Documents: U.S. (132 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:  April 21, 2017
Vermont, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Reducing bat fatalities at wind facilities while improving the economic efficiency of operational mitigation

Author:  Martin, Colleen; Arnett, Edward; Stevens, Richard; and Wallace, Mark

Abstract:
Concerns about cumulative population-level effects of bat fatalities at wind facilities have led to mitigation strategies to reduce turbine-related bat mortality. Operational mitigation that limits operation may reduce fatalities but also limits energy production. We incorporated both temperature and wind speed into an operational mitigation design fine-tuned to conditions when bats are most active in order to improve economic efficiency of mitigation. We conducted a 2-year study at the Sheffield Wind Facility in Sheffield, Vermont. Activity of bats is highest when winds speeds are low (< 6.0 m/s) and, in our region, when temperatures are above 9.5°C. We tested for a reduction in bat mortality when cut-in speed at treatment turbines was raised from 4.0 to 6.0 m/s whenever nightly wind speeds were < 6.0 m/s and temperatures were > 9.5°C. Mortalities at fully operational turbines were 1.52–4.45 times higher than at treatment turbines. During late spring and early fall, when overnight temperatures generally fell below 9.5°C, incorporating temperature into the operational mitigation design decreased energy losses by 18%. Energy lost from implementation of our design was < 3% for the study season and approximately 1% for the entire year. We recommend that operational mitigation be implemented during high-risk periods to minimize bat fatalities and reduce the probability of long-term population-level effects on bats.

Colleen M. Martin
Richard D. Stevens
Mark C. Wallace
Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
Edward B. Arnett
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Loveland, Colorado

Published: 10 March 2017
Journal of Mammalogy (2017) 98 (2): 378-385.
DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyx005

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Date added:  April 1, 2017
Colorado, Noise, RegulationsPrint storyE-mail story

Independent Infrasonic Investigations: Golden West Wind Facility, El Paso County, CO

Author:  Rand, Robert

Summary:

Differential acoustic pressure measurements were acquired and logged at three homes in the vicinity of the Golden West Wind Facility in El Paso County, Colorado during December 2015 and January 2016. A week of data was analyzed for each of the three homes and daily spectrograms produced which are attached. Each day’s data consisted of approximately 4.3 million differential pressure samples with a week comprised of some 30.5 million samples.

Preliminary investigation confirmed the presence of recurring acoustic pressure oscillations at 0.2 to 0.85 Hz (the “blade pass frequency” or BPF) which are associated to the Golden West wind turbine rotations. At times multiple oscillation frequencies were observed, consistent with multiple turbines operating at different rotation rates. Oscillations appeared to be more pronounced when the turbines are more upwind rather than downwind. Neighbors reported they are mostly downwind due to turbine location relative to home location and for the prevailing winds in the region.

Typical BPF total acoustic power were computed for example portions of the differential pressure data sets. Crest factors (the ratio of RMS to peak levels) were also computed for segments dominated by wind turbine rotation and uncontaminated by other noise, with typical crest factors of 13-19 dB. Totalized BPF RMS levels ranged from 56 to 70 dB re 20uPA, with peak levels from 71 to 89 dB. The RMS and peak levels are similar to those found at other sites with appeals to stop the noise, legal action, and homes abandoned.

It is understood from neighbors that they have experienced disturbance since the turbines started operating whereas prior to turbine operation there was no similar disturbance. It is understood that neighbors report improvement when turbines are shut down (not rotating) or when they remove themselves physically away from the Facility a distance of several miles.

El Paso County noise regulations define “Sound” as oscillations in pressure (or other physical parameter) at any frequency, and, prohibits noise disturbance due to acoustic oscillations.

The analysis is far from complete in that numerous segments of each day at each monitoring location could be analyzed and associated to journal entries and/or medical data. The reported association of proximity to the operating facility to disturbance in health and quality of life appears supported by the acoustic data acquired for this preliminary investigation. These preliminary investigations suggest that there is a condition of noise disturbance due to very low frequency acoustic pressure oscillations in the vicinity of the Golden West Wind Facility when it is operating, with more severe impacts downwind.

Download original document: “Independent Infrasonic Investigations: Golden West Wind Facility, El Paso County, CO”


[NWW thanks Friends Against Wind for providing the video.]

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Date added:  March 31, 2017
North Dakota, South Dakota, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Assessing Spring Direct Mortality to Avifauna from Wind Energy Facilities in the Dakotas

Author:  Graff, Brianna; et al.

ABSTRACT: The Northern Great Plains (NGP) contains much of the remaining temperate grasslands, an ecosystem that is one of the most converted and least protected in the world. Within the NGP, the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) provides important habitat for >50% of North America’s breeding waterfowl and many species of shorebirds, waterbirds, and grassland songbirds. This region also has high wind energy potential, but the effects of wind energy developments on migratory and resident bird and bat populations in the NGP remains understudied. This is troubling considering >2,200 wind turbines are actively generating power in the region and numerous wind energy projects have been proposed for development in the future. Our objectives were to estimate avian and bat fatality rates for wind turbines situated in cropland- and grassland-dominated landscapes, document species at high risk to direct mortality, and assess the influence of habitat variables on waterfowl mortality at 2 wind farms in the NGP. From 10 March to 7 June 2013–2014, we completed 2,398 searches around turbines for carcasses at the Tatanka Wind Farm (TAWF) and the Edgeley-Kulm Wind Farm (EKWF) in South Dakota and North Dakota. During spring, we found 92 turbine-related mortalities comprising 33 species and documented a greater diversity of species (n = 30) killed at TAWF (predominately grassland) than at EKWF (n = 9; predominately agricultural fields). After accounting for detection rates, we estimated spring mortality of 1.86 (SE = 0.22) deaths/megawatt (MW) at TAWF and 2.55 (SE = 0.51) deaths/MW at EKWF. Waterfowl spring (Mar–Jun) fatality rates were 0.79 (SE = 0.11) and 0.91 (SE = 0.10) deaths/MW at TAWF and EKWF, respectively. Our results suggest that future wind facility siting decisions consider avoiding grassland habitats and locate turbines in preexisting fragmented and converted habitat outside of high densities of breeding waterfowl and major migration corridors.

BRIANNA J. GRAFF, JONATHAN A. JENKS, JOSHUA D. STAFFORD, KENT C. JENSEN, and TROY W. GROVENBURG
Department of Natural Resource Management, South Dakota State University, and South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, US Geological Survey, Brookings, SD, USA

The Journal of Wildlife Management 80(4):736–745; 2016; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.1051

Download original document: “Assessing Spring Direct Mortality to Avifauna from Wind Energy Facilities in the Dakotas”

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Date added:  March 30, 2017
Oregon, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Wind Energy, Nest Success, and Post-Fledging Survival of Buteo Hawks

Author:  Kolar, Patrick; and Bechard, Marc

ABSTRACT: Quantifying the rate of turbine collision mortality for raptors has been the primary focus of research at wind energy projects in Europe and the United States. Breeding adults and fledglings may be especially prone to collisions, but few studies have assessed the consequences of increased mortality and indirect effects from this type of development activity on reproduction. We examined the influence of wind turbines and other factors on nest success and survival of radio-marked juveniles during the post-fledging period for 3 sympatric breeding Buteo species in the Columbia Plateau Ecoregion (CPE), Oregon, USA. Nest success for ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) decreased as the number of wind turbines within the home range buffer (32 km²) increased. There was no effect of turbines on nest success for red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) or Swainson’s hawks (Buteo swainsoni). Of 60 nestlings radio-marked from all 3 species, we found no evidence that any were killed as a result of collisions with wind turbines after fledging. This was likely due, in part, to the limited size of the natal home range and the relatively short duration of the post-fledging period. However, juveniles of all 3 species hatched from nests in areas of greater turbine density were more likely to die from predation or starvation just after fledging and prior to becoming independent compared to those in areas of lower turbine density. Taken together, these results suggest that wind turbines affected reproductive efforts by all 3 species to some degree, but these effects were greater for ferruginous hawks compared to the other 2 congeneric species. The causes of this negative association are unknown but likely represent some combination of breeding adults being killed from turbine collisions, disturbed from activities associated with the increasing wind energy development in the area, or displaced from portions of their home range to minimize the risk of disturbance or death. The potential for these effects necessitate that planning of future wind energy facilities be considered at larger geographic scales beyond the placement of individual turbines to limit development near raptor breeding areas.

PATRICK S. KOLAR and MARC J. BECHARD
Raptor Research Center, Department of Biological Science, Boise State University, Boise, ID

The Journal of Wildlife Management; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21125
Volume 80, Issue 7, September 2016, Pages 1242–1255

Download original document: “Wind Energy, Nest Success, and Post-Fledging Survival of Buteo Hawks”

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