Tuesday, June 12, 2012

                             This incredible video is best viewed in full screen mode

(bear in mind that eagles, hawks, owls, and vultures all are reported to be victims of commercial wind turbines)

The following is only the tip of the iceberg.
Very few wind farms are being monitored for bird deaths.

- Seven ospreys reported killed in Germany, from 2001 to date.
European record maintained by Tobias Dürr, of the Brandenburg State Wildlife Department.

- Five ospreys reported killed in Spain, from 2001 to date.
European record maintained by Tobias Dürr, of the Brandenburg State Wildlife Department.

- One osprey reported killed, Scotland, 2011.
Reported by ornithologist Roy Dennis, and published in the European record maintained by Tobias Dürr, of the Brandenburg State Wildlife Department.

- Two ospreys reported killed in New Jersey, at the ACUA wind power facility, 2009.
“Three raptors (two Ospreys and one Peregrine Falcon) are known to have been killed at the five wind turbine array located in the wetlands near Atlantic City after one year of monitoring as a result of colliding with turbines (Mizrahi et al. 2008).” Large Scale Wind Turbine Siting Map Report – NJ Department of Environmental Protection. September 8, 2009.

Three ospreys reported killed in Minnesota, 2003.
“Three ospreys were killed when they flew into the blades of a wind turbine near their nest.”
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Home > Publications > Minnesota Conservation Volunteer > Articles > 2003 > March – April > Vanessa Greene, wildlife technician

- Four ospreys reported killed in New Jersey, at the ACUA wind power facility, 2007-2009 – i.e. 2 more since other report above. “This is the fourth Osprey mortality at the facility and the third encountered or reported since our study began in August 2007.”
Post-Construction Wildlife Monitoring at The Atlantic City Utilities Authority- Jersey Atlantic Wind Power Facility.


- One osprey reported killed in Ontario, on Wolfe island, 2010.
“Seven red-tailed hawks, one osprey, one northern harrier and one turkey vulture comprised the group of 10 raptors killed by the giant blades.” – Environment Canada – Comments on Wolfe Island Post-Construction Monitoring Report, reported by Mike Norris, The Whig Standard. http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2946372&archive=true

One osprey reported killed in Massachussets, at Buzards Bay, 2007.
“A study in 2006-2007 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay to determine the effect of the turbine on plovers, found no plovers killed and only four dead birds in the search area. Of those, an osprey was identified as having been killed by the turbine and possibly a laughing gull.” http://www.telegram.com/article/20110815/NEWS/108159945/0/NEWS07

One osprey reported killed, Japan, 2007.
“The society (Wild Bird Society of Japan) has reported that six endangered white-tailed sea eagles have been killed in collisions with wind turbines in Hokkaido since 2004, and a misago osprey, a fish-eating hawk that is also endangered, was found dead from a collision in Goto, Nagasaki Prefecture.” http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200701040112.html

Courtesy of Save the Eagles International

- Bald Eagles win a round..., Feb. 24, 2012
Goodhue Wind has recently conceded that the project (in MN) would probably harm an unknown number of eagles, and has started an application for a federal permit that would legally allow it to kill the birds. The permit is a new strategy by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage the often-lethal conflict between birds and turbine bladeshttp://www.startribune.com/local/140226163.html

Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Updated April 29, 2012, 7:33 p.m. ET   Wall Street Journal

Large Wind Farms Increase Temperatures Near Ground


Large wind farms slightly increase temperatures near the ground as the turbines' rotor blades pull down warm air, according to researchers who analyzed nine years of satellite readings around four of the world's biggest wind farms.
The study showed for the first time that wind farms of a certain scale, while producing clean, renewable energy, do have some long-term effect on the immediate environment.

Using sensors aboard a NASA satellite, researchers at the University at Albany-State University of New York, and the University of Illinois systematically tracked a cluster of wind farms in central Texas as the installations grew from a few dozen turbines in 2003 to more than 2,350 by 2011.

On average, the nighttime air around the wind farms became about 0.72 degree Celsius warmer over that time, compared with the surrounding area, the scientists reported Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change.

Bloomberg News
Cows graze near turbines at a wind farm in South Texas.

"The warming trend corresponds very well with the growth of the wind turbines," said wind-energy expert Somnath Baidya Roy at the University of Illinois, who was part of the research group. "The warming is going to level off when you stop adding more turbines."

Despite long-standing interest in the environmental impacts of such large-scale alternative-energy installations, this is the first time anyone has measured how wind turbines can alter local temperatures over the long term, the scientists said. So far, the scientists don't know if these higher temperatures affect local rainfall or other weather patterns.
"We don't know whether there is a change in weather due to the temperature change," said atmospheric scientist Liming Zhou at the University at Albany, who led the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. "The temperature change is small."

As wind farms become popular and much more widespread, however, they "might have noticeable impacts on local-to-regional weather and climate," Mr. Zhou said. But more research is needed, he said.

The researchers didn't identify the companies operating the wind farms in the region where they monitored temperature changes. To track the growing numbers of wind turbines in the area, the scientists used records kept by the Federal Aviation Administration of construction projects that might interfere with air safety.

Texas has more wind-turbine capacity than any other U.S. state, with many large commercial wind farms. Typically, these commercial wind turbines each sit atop a tower about 250 feet tall, capturing the wind with rotor blades that are about 100 feet long, Mr. Roy said.

Normally, the nighttime air is a layer cake of cool and warm air, caused as hot air rises and cold air sinks, with the coolest air closest to the ground. As the giant rotor blades churn the air, they draw the warmer nighttime air down to the surface.

"If you have a wind turbine spinning, there is a lot of turbulence in the wake just like a boat in the water," said Mr. Roy. "The turbine pulls warm air from aloft and pulls it down and takes cooler air underneath and pushes it up. That creates a warming effect near the surface."

Although the researchers detected some daytime warming because of the wind farms, the temperature changes were highest in the predawn hours, when the air normally is still and not so turbulent, the researchers said.

Write to Robert Lee Hotz at sciencejournal@wsj.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Wind eggs", livestock birth defects, headaches, a dead eagle: how many such reports will it take to become more than "anecdotal"?

Questions blowing in the wind

  • by: Graham Lloyd, Environment editor
  • From:The Australian
  • April 21, 201212:00AM
 FROM the low mountain ridge, 3km in the distance, the roar of wind turbines bears down on the Waterloo village main street like a runaway truck that never arrives.
At night, the soundscape changes with the prevailing winds. Sometimes the distant rumble could easily be mistaken for waves rolling on to ocean sands. But given the heightened anxieties along this dysfunctional street, 120km northeast of Adelaide, the mind can play tricks.
Is the squeeze of ear pressure significant or simply a brewing head cold? Is broken sleep the result of unfamiliar surroundings or something more sinister?
But what is beyond doubt is that in Waterloo, after 18 months of operation of the wind farm, residents are voting with their feet at great personal financial and emotional cost. Domestic and farm animals are reportedly showing signs of distress and the discovery this week of a dead wedge-tailed eagle at the base of the northern wind turbine tower may confirm the worst for environmentalists.
Experts say the eagle, a sub-adult with a broken wing and crushed skull, appears to have died quickly. Many locals say the impact of wind turbines on immediate residents is more drawn out.
Roger Kruse is a descendant of one of Waterloo's original settler families. In March last year he went to a liquidation auction to buy a $180 lawnmower in neighbouring Saddleworth, but ended up buying the property for $233,000 as a bolthole to escape the noise in Waterloo.
Kruse says he gets ear popping and head squeezing from the wind turbines and finds it difficult to sleep. "The wind turbines are the only thing we talk about around here any more," he says. "There is nothing else to say, you just can't escape unless you go away."
Kruse says he is forced to use the Saddleworth property often enough to make the purchase worthwhile.
Other residents, such as the Marciniak siblings, Andreas, Wanda and Johannes -- who each moved to Waterloo to retire and live debt free -- are not so wealthy, or lucky. Andreas and Johannes claim the wind turbines have worsened existing medical conditions and they have fled to live in caravans away from town.
"When the company first said it was going to put them in I was all for it," Andreas says. "I have got solar panels, hot water, it is a very green house. We thought they (wind turbines) were good for everybody."
He spoke out publicly in support of the Waterloo project but says "once there is a problem no one has come to speak to any of us. I have written letters till they come out of my ears and all I get back is the reply they are following the guidelines set by the EPA (Environment Protection Authority).
"Something is happening here. It's not the noise, it is something else penetrating my house. I am waking up saturated, scared, my heart is pounding."
His sister Wanda says she is watching her health, relationship and life collapse and just wants wind energy company TRUenergy to move her transportable home somewhere else. "People say these people (complainers) have found out the farmers are getting money and now they want some," Wanda says. "This is disgusting. We didn't even know these things, that farmers were getting money. I don't want money, I want to get relocated."
Neil Daws, 51, lives directly opposite Andreas behind a big, black sign that reads: "Warning, while you are near wind turbines you may experience: Short term exposure -- headache, nausea, vertigo; Long term exposure -- sleep depravation, feeling sea sick, increased blood preasure (sic)."
But this week, Daws was more concerned about his chickens which, after years of faithful service, had started to lay yolkless eggs. The chooks are now off the lay completely.
Daws has kept examples of the yolkless eggs to demonstrate. He cracked open two for the cameras and, sure enough, out flowed white with no yolk.
Ironically, yolkless eggs are known as "wind eggs" and there are a number of plausible explanations. According to Broad Leys Publishing, which specialises in books for poultry keepers and organic gardeners, "wind eggs" are fairly common when a pullet is first coming into lay.
"Wind eggs can also occur in older hens if they are subject to sudden shock," the Broad Leys website says. Daws's chickens do not have youth on their side.
Andreas claims his chickens, too, had produced yolkless eggs in Waterloo but returned to normal laying habits when removed from the influence of the turbines.
Yolkless chickens aren't the only animal concern in Waterloo. One long-term sheep farmer reports a three-fold spike in birth defects since the turbines started operating. This year, lambs have been born with no ears, three legs and hoofs turned backwards.
But the farmer, who does not want to be identified, says he's not ready to blame the windmills.
"If it continues we will have to call out the experts," he says.
"It could be genetics from inbreeding or chemical residues or something else."
But add them all together -- the eagle death, the bad eggs, the deformed lambs, the headaches, the forgetfulness, the family feuds -- and it is difficult to envisage a more apprehensive or dysfunctional town.
Whatever is causing the symptoms, the suffering in Waterloo is acute and a stark example of the community challenges faced in the push into wind energy that still enjoys a great deal of support from the South Australian government.
It highlights questions about the rights of neighbours and the need to properly understand health concerns that are now being raised across the world.
TRUenergy, which purchased the Waterloo wind farm from Roaring 40s last year and has plans to expand, says it is doing its best to be a good community citizen. According to TRUenergy's Waterloo community liaison officer, Michael Head, and the company's Melbourne-based head of corporate relations, Sarah Stent, community relations are progressing well. The company says there are many local residents who are happy but not willing to speak publicly.
There is a community liaison group but only three of the group's more than 25 members live near the wind turbines.
Head's office is in the foothills below the range on which the wind turbines are perched. He does not live in Waterloo and is prepared to accept assurances from outside the town that local community divisions are long-standing.
Head says the company has worked hard to fix issues of poor television reception and denies there are widespread complaints from the local community.
The company rejects the findings of a recent survey that says more than half of local resident respondents reported having been very or moderately negatively affected by the wind turbines.
For Kruse, the Marciniaks and other local families, the explanation is obvious. All say that when they ring TRUenergy to complain using their land or mobile lines the calls go to message bank and are never returned. When they use an unfamiliar line to call, the telephone is picked up.
They say it exemplifies the pattern of screening in which they believe the company favours advice from people who tell it what it wants to hear, something the company denies.
This includes the use of postcode surveys in which "locals" may live more than 20km away and never see a wind turbine.
From Melbourne or Adelaide it is seen as good enough. "It is not our view that the majority of the population is opposed to the wind farm nor dissatisfied with our approach to community engagement," says Stent. "Community engagement for us is not a battle 'to be won' ".
The company's December community newsletter says "Talking with the community is very important to us as it helps us gain an understanding of your opinions and concerns."  Stent says that the company will "continue to engage with the community both in Waterloo and the wider mid north so that residents can form their opinion on wind energy based on relevant, factual information".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Eagles at Lake Maxinkuckee 2012

Special thanks to A.H. Johnston & G. Shaffer

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wind Turbines Threaten Eagles: How Environmentally Responsible Is That?

Perhaps you have been one of the fortunate people who in recent months have seen the Bald Eagles hunting on Lake Maxinkuckee and other Marshall County bodies of water (and surrounding counties, too!). As you watch this extraordinary video, bear in mind that wind companies actively seek permits that allow them to kill a certain number of eagles and other raptors where such birds have been documented. This is an acknowledgment that wind turbines kill birds. How many such deaths do you feel are acceptable?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Change in the Wind

The winds of change

The government has finally seen through the wind-farm scam – but why did it take them so long?

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now
. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see <Prime Minister> David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco.

This forces a decision from Cameron — will he reassure the turbine magnates that he plans to keep subsidising wind energy, or will he retreat? The political wind has certainly changed direction. George Osborne is dead set against wind farms, because it has become all too clear to him how much they cost. The Chancellor’s team quietly encouraged MPs to sign a letter to No. 10 a few weeks ago saying that ‘in these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines’.

Putting the things offshore may avoid objections from the neighbours, but (Chancellor, beware!) it makes even less sense, because it costs you and me — the taxpayers — double. I have it on good authority from a marine engineer that keeping wind turbines upright in the gravel, tides and storms of the North Sea for 25 years is a near hopeless quest, so the repair bill is going to be horrific and the output disappointing. Already the grouting in the foundations of hundreds of turbines off Kent, Denmark and the Dogger Bank has failed, necessitating costly repairs.

In Britain the percentage of total energy that comes from wind is only 0.6 per cent. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, ‘policies intended to meet the EU Renewables Directive in 2020 will impose extra consumer costs of approximately £15 billion per annum’ or £670 per household. It is difficult to see what value will be got for this money. The total carbon emissions saved by the great wind rush is probably below 1 per cent, because of the need to keep fossil fuels burning as back-up when the wind does not blow. It may even be a negative number.  

America is having far better luck. Carbon emissions in the United States fell by 7 per cent in 2009, according to a Harvard study. But the study concluded that this owes less to the recession that year than the falling price of natural gas — caused by the shale gas revolution. (Burning gas emits less than half as much carbon dioxide as coal for the same energy output.) The gas price has fallen even further since, making coal seem increasingly pricey by comparison. All over America, from Utah to West Virginia, coal mines are being closed and coal plants idled or cancelled.

So even if you accept the most alarming predictions of climate change, those turbines that have ruined your favourite view are doing nothing to help. The shale gas revolution has not only shamed the wind industry by showing how to decarbonise for real, but has blown away its last feeble argument — that diminishing supplies of fossil fuels will cause their prices to rise so high that wind eventually becomes competitive even without a subsidy. Even if oil stays dear, cheap gas is now likely to last many decades.

Though they may not admit it for a while, most ministers have realised that the sums for wind power just don’t add up and never will. <The government> has a massive subsidy programme in place for wind farms, which now seem obsolete both as a means of energy production and decarbonisation. It is almost impossible to see what function they serve, other than making a fortune from those who profit from the subsidy scam.

Even in a boom, wind farms would have been unaffordable — with their economic and ecological rationale blown away. ... the scam has ended. And as we survey the economic and environmental damage, the obvious question is how the delusion was maintained for so long. There has been no mystery about wind’s futility as a source of affordable and abundant electricity — so how did the wind-farm scam fool so many policymakers?

One answer is money. There were too many people with snouts in the trough. Not just the manufacturers, operators and landlords of the wind farms, but financiers: wind-farm venture capital trusts were all the rage a few years ago — guaranteed income streams are what capitalists like best; they even get paid to switch the monsters off on very windy days so as not to overload the grid. 

The big conservation organisations have been disgracefully silent on the subject, like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which until last year took generous contributions from the wind industry through a venture called RSPB Energy. Even journalists: at a time when advertising is in short supply, British newspapers have been crammed full of specious but lucrative ‘debates’ and supplements on renewable energy sponsored by advertising from a cohort of interest groups.

Excerpts of article from The Spectator Magazine, March 3, 2012   www.spectator.co.uk

Friday, February 17, 2012

Motion Sickness and Headache

On Feb. 12, 2012, Steve Ambrose and Robert Rand, the authors of the McPherson Report on acoustical effects of commercial wind turbines in and around homes took part in an internet radio interview.
Ambrose emphasized that prior to doing the research for this report, he was careful to avoid reading any articles or accounts of what people say they have experienced physically when wind turbines are in their area because he wanted to go into the study as objectively as possible. He and Rand fully expected to enter the house where they were to carry out the study, set up their instruments, stay several weeks and collect data, then leave and analyze and write up what their findings were. But within 20 minutes, while setting up their instruments, they both - separately - noticed odd feelings and had a hard time concentrating and making simple decisions that normally come as second nature since they have done acoustics studies for so many years. Both men experienced headaches and a feeling they likened to motion sickness. They noted that while the symptoms came on quite fast, it took several weeks to fully recover from them. 

Quoting Rand: "What we experienced was not anectdotal. We had severe physical effects.... We have as much experience and knowledge of acquiring acoustical data as anyone in the world. It would take a medical professional to be able to do the measurements in the ear and in the brain and report on those."  He and Ambrose mentioned Dr. Alec Salt, who co-wrote a paper for the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society (2011) titled "Infrasound From Wind Turbines Could Affect Humans."  Dr. Salt is a leading expert on how the ear receives and processes the various levels of sound. His report from a physiological basis coupled with the McPherson Report by Rand and Ambrose from the acoustical measurement standpoint make for a very compelling and powerful case about the dangers wind turbines pose to public safety. This blog's January 26th post features an illustration from Dr. Salt's report on how the human ear processes infrasound from wind turbines and the resulting symptoms.

They caution anyone responsible for siting and distance guidelines for wind turbines to confirm models with real world measurements taken in an area with similar winds and similar topography and population density to that where a project is proposed. In most cases, even 1500 feet is too close to a home or work place.