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Resource Documents: U.K. (104 items)

RSSU.K.

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:  August 3, 2022
Environment, Photos, Scotland, TechnologyPrint storyE-mail story

Bhlaraidh wind energy facility – foundation construction

Author:  Murform

2016 December 19 – Murform have recently secured this follow on project with RJ McLeod, following our success at Beinneun Wind Farm (which is less than 5 miles away).

Bhlaraidh Wind Farm is a 32 turbine site, situated in the Great Glen, just North West of Loch Ness. Due to its sensitive location, the site has been developed to cause minimal visual impact to the environment to avoid being seen from the main tourist routes and iconic attractions of the Great Glen. The sites remote location also provides it inherent challenges, for the supply of materials and access by labour to each turbine location, which will have to be overcome to achieve the projects required outputs.

Murform will construct the 32 bases, consisting of over 62 tonne of rebar and 580m³ of concrete in each base, with a strong effort to construct as many as possible before the winter weather sets in. To assist in this target, Murform have provided additional resources to the project. RJ McLeod will assist with full time cranes and also on site batching plants and trucks.

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Date added:  July 17, 2022
Emissions, Environment, ScotlandPrint storyE-mail story

Quantifying the land-based opportunity carbon costs of onshore wind farms

Author:  Albanito, Fabrizio; et al.

Highlights

Abstract

The development of onshore wind energy impacts the land where it is constructed, together with competition for natural resources between the energy and land sector. The loss of terrestrial carbon stocks and ecosystem services from land use change to wind farms can be interpreted as the opportunity cost that landowners give up by choosing to construct wind farms on their land. Here, we spatially quantify the impact onshore wind farms have on land when we factor in the opportunity carbon (C) costs. We found that the construction of 3848 wind turbines in Scotland generated 4.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from land use change. On average the emission intensity of land use change in peatland is 560 g CO₂ kWh−1, in forestry is 88 g CO₂ kWh−1, in cropland is 45 g CO₂ kWh−1, and in pastureland is 30 g CO₂ kWh−1. In the worst land use change scenario, the displacement of Dystrophic basin peat habitats generated 1760 g CO₂ kWh−1, which is comparable to the life cycle emissions of fossil-fuel technologies such as coal and gas-fired electricity generation. In arable land, the loss of harvestable crop to wind power was forfeited for a gain in opportunity costs up to £15.4 million over a 25 year operating life. Considering the short-term value of CO₂ in the trading market, the opportunity carbon costs of onshore wind farms can range from £0.3 to £65.0 per MWh of electricity generated per year. These findings highlight that the preservation of terrestrial carbon stocks and crop production in the land sector require the development of new payment schemes that can compete economically against the monetary benefits that landowners can access from lease agreements agreed with energy companies. This ensures also that wind turbines are geographically placed to protect ecosystem C stocks, and to minimize the carbon intensity of the electricity generated.

Fabrizio Albanito, Anita Shepherd, Astley Hastings, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, 23 St Machar Drive, Aberdeen, Scotland
Sam Roberts, Pryor & Rickett Silviculture, Lugwardine, Hereford, UK

Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume 363, 20 August 2022, 132480
doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.132480

Download original document: “Quantifying the land-based opportunity carbon costs of onshore wind farms

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Date added:  May 13, 2022
U.K., WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Impact assessments of wind farms on seabird populations that overlook existing drivers of demographic change should be treated with caution

Abstract – Population viability analyses (PVA) are now routinely used during the consenting process for offshore wind energy developments to assess potential impacts to vulnerable species, such as seabirds. These models are typically based on mean vital rates, such as survival and fecundity, with some level of environmental stochasticity (i.e., temporal variation). However, many species of seabird are experiencing population decline due to temporal (i.e., directional) trends in their vital rates. We assess the prevalence of temporal trends in rates of fecundity for a sentinel species of seabird, the black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, and examine how accounting for these relationships affects the predictive accuracy of PVA, as well as the projected population response to an extrinsic threat. We found that temporal trends in kittiwake rates of fecundity are widespread, and that including these trends in PVA assessments dramatically influences the projected rate of population decline. We advocate that model validation become a prerequisite step in seabird PVA assessments to identify potential biases influencing the projected population response. We also argue that environmental factors driving current population dynamics need to be incorporated in PVA impact assessments as potential “worst-case” scenarios. These findings have immediate application for improving and reducing uncertainty in impact assessments conducted as part of the consenting process for offshore wind energy developments.

a) Temporal (i.e., directional) trends in rates of fecundity are widespread amongst populations of kittiwakes in the UK and Ireland. Colonies with significant temporal trends in fecundity shown as red circles, those with stable fecundity shown as blue triangles. Skomer (South Wales) shown as an open red circle. (b) Fecundity of kittiwakes on Skomer Island declined at a constant rate between 1989 and 2020. Dashed line shows a linear regression fitted through the data. (c) We found high variation in the strength of temporal trends estimated using colony-specific Poisson GLMs. Slope coefficient values shown with standard error. Colonies with directional fecundity shown as red circles, those with stable fecundity shown as blue triangles. Skomer shown as open red circle. Gray dashed line at zero for reference.

Catharine Horswill, ZSL Institute of Zoology, London, Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, and Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK
Julie A.O. Miller, Marine Scotland Science, Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen, UK
Matt J. Wood, School of Natural and Social Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK

Conservation Science and Practice. 13 March 2022. doi: 10.1111/csp2.12644

Download original document: “Impact assessments of wind farms on seabird populations that overlook existing drivers of demographic change should be treated with caution

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Date added:  July 21, 2021
Scotland, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Responses of dispersing GPS-tagged Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) to multiple wind farms across Scotland

Abstract: Wind farms may have two broad potential adverse effects on birds via antagonistic processes: displacement from the vicinity of turbines (avoidance), or death through collision with rotating turbine blades. Large raptors are often shown or presumed to be vulnerable to collision and are demographically sensitive to additional mortality, as exemplified by several studies of the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. Previous findings from Scottish Eagles, however, have suggested avoidance as the primary response. Our study used data from 59 GPS-tagged Golden Eagles with 28 284 records during natal dispersal before and after turbine operation &ly; 1 km of 569 turbines at 80 wind farms across Scotland. We tested three hypotheses using measurements of tag records’ distance from the hub of turbine locations: (1) avoidance should be evident; (2) older birds should show less avoidance (i.e. habituate to turbines); and (3) rotor diameter should have no influence (smaller diameters are correlated with a turbine’s age, in examining possible habituation). Four generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were constructed with intrinsic habitat preference of a turbine location using Golden Eagle Topography (GET) model, turbine operation status (before/after), bird age and rotor diameter as fixed factors. The best GLMM was subsequently verified by k-fold cross-validation and involved only GET habitat preference and presence of an operational turbine. Eagles were eight times less likely to be within a rotor diameter’s distance of a hub location after turbine operation, and modelled displacement distance was 70 m. Our first hypothesis expecting avoidance was supported. Eagles were closer to turbine locations in preferred habitat but at greater distances after turbine operation. Results on bird age (no influence to 5+ years) rejected hypothesis 2, implying no habituation. Support for hypothesis 3 (no influence of rotor diameter) also tentatively inferred no habituation, but data indicated birds went slightly closer to longer rotor blades although not to the turbine tower. We proffer that understanding why avoidance or collision in large raptors may occur can be conceptually envisaged via variation in fear of humans as the ‘super predator’ with turbines as cues to this life-threatening agent.

Alan H. Fielding, Natural Research Ltd, Brathens, Aberdeenshire
David Anderson, Forestry and Land Scotland, Aberfoyle
Stuart Benn, RSPB Scotland, Inverness
Roy Dennis, Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, Forres
Matthew Geary, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester
Ewan Weston, Natural Research Ltd, Brathens, Aberdeenshire
D. Philip Whitfield, Natural Research Ltd, Brathens, Aberdeenshire

Ibis: International Journal of Avian Science
Published on line ahead of print 20 July 2021. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12996

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