Wind developer Pattern Energy has settled a lawsuit with environmental groups that sought to stop its 150MW Spring Valley Wind project, slated to be the first in Nevada.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project sued the Bureau of Land Management in 2011, alleging that the project received inadequate environmental scrutiny.
The environmentalists were particularly concerned with the proximity of the project to a cave housing migratory and resident bat populations, including Mexican free-tail bats.
Pattern, however, is a leader in using radar to detect birds and bats around wind projects and is deploying systems at Spring Valley that can detect the bats as they enter and exit the cave.
The lawsuit failed to stop the project, which is under construction and due to come online in July.
The settlement agreement describes bird and bat mortality surveys to occur in the years following commercial operation of the project, funds for additional study of the use of the cave by the bats, and additional mitigation measures that will be taken if mortality is higher than expected.
Mike Garland, Pattern chief executive, says the settlement underscores his company’s commitment to “minimizing environmental and cultural impacts” of its wind projects, and should give the plaintiffs “more confidence” that Spring Valley is well designed.
“We are starting to see that all renewable energy projects, no matter how well-planned, are being questioned,” Garland says.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding