All those wind turbines do more than ruffle a few feathers

This week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press, discusses one of the problems with wind turbines.

While making a presentation recently to a meeting of the Audubon Society in North Las Vegas, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Brian Novosak flashed on a screen in the darkened room a stark description of the fowl carnage taking place at the Altamont Pass Wind farm in the Diablo Range east of San Francisco — between 2005 and 2010, 55 to 94 golden eagles were killed each year, as well as upwards of 718 burrowing owls and up to 9,300 passerines (your basic songbirds).

Simulation of what windmills may look it east of Searchlight and near Lake Mohave, home to bald and golden eagle.

“The Fish & Wildlife Service is getting more aggressive with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act,” Novosak said.

Closer to home is Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley Wind farm near Ely, where a golden eagle was recently killed.

A BLM spokesman said Spring Valley wind has a mortality threshold for golden eagles of one.

If another golden eagle is killed a Technical Advisory Committee will meet and recommend what mitigation to take, which could curtail operation of turbines or even shut down turbines.

The federal government’s disparate treatment of various industries whose operations have resulted in the deaths of eagles or migratory birds has become an issue of late. While an oil well driller was indicted for killing a single bird, owners wind turbines have been untouched.

This past week the Interior Department gave the go-ahead for a second utility-scale wind farm on public land in Nevada. This one is east of Searchlight, near Lake Mohave, home to bald and golden eagles.

Meanwhile, a bill has been introduced in the state Legislature to increase the percent of electricity that must come from renewable generation by 2025 from 25 percent to 35 percent — with no regard for cost or consequence.

This video is from 2007:

Read the full column at the Ely or Elko websites.

9 comments on “All those wind turbines do more than ruffle a few feathers

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    This while the politicians have to make another heart-rending decision, whether or not to disturb some ground dwelling creatures for a new pipeline from Canada to Texas. Harry Reid and his green power enthusiasts/opportunists boast of jobs to build short term windmills and solar mirrors but a seriously needed long term pipeline keeps them up at night in consternation. They pity the ground bound rodent but can’t dredge up pity for birds, yet the feds rise up in anger and vengeance over illegal possession of an eagle feather.

  2. Rincon says:

    You’re suddenly worried about birds Thomas?

  3. Nope, just disparate treatment of different industries.


  4. Rincon says:

    Speaking of disparate treatment of different industries, I want to share with you a detailed article I found itemizing
    federal subsidies for fossil fuels. From the article:

    “In June 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said $557 billion was spent to subsidize fossil fuels globally in 2008, compared to $43 billion in support of renewable energy.”

    Sourcewatch has a liberal bias, but the estimate is from the EIA. The report is detailed and itemized. Although the subsidies of fossil fuels look smaller on a per kilowatt hour basis, it seems that they are picking the pocket of the taxpayer for a lot more money than renewables. And of course, the big question is, why don’t we complain about ALL subsidies instead of only those involving renewables? Get rid of all subsidies and then we can actually compare costs. Until then, it’s all smoke and mirrors by both sides.

  5. Steve says:

    Love the “External Costs” Life expectancy and quality of life increased directly due to the use of fossil fuels. If not for fossil fuels these “External Costs” would be far higher.

    Think New York City at the turn of the century swimming in horse poop. “External Costs” my eye.

  6. Rincon says:

    Your statement would have been just as invalid if you had made it when the Cuyahoga River caught fire, Steve. As Liberals quite successfully showed with air and water pollution 40 years ago, you don’t have to throw thwe baby out with the bathwater.

  7. Globally?

    So get rid of them.


  8. Steve says:

    Liberals from yesterday are very much NOT liberals from today.

  9. […] permit that would allow its turbines to kill or bald eagles up to a certain number. A dead golden eagle was found at the wind farm this past […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s