Peru committee learns about wind turbine impact on wildlife

PERU — Members of the town Wind Ordinance Committee met with Steve Pelletier of Stantec Environmental Consultants on Tuesday to discuss how wind power projects might impact wildlife.

"There is nothing in the woods of Peru that can't stand the impact of roads and turbines," Pelletier said. He pointed out that over the last couple hundred years, animals have adapted to cutting virgin forest, agriculture, and people moving into their territory. He said he would expect a post construction wildlife study to find all of the same species found in the preconstruction study.

He said walking through the woods of Peru, like surrounding towns, show they have been heavily logged and are full of old logging roads. However modern logging practices are less damaging to wildlife and their habitat, he said.

Pelletier said that the fact that wildlife can adapt is no reason to not require good habitat preservation and restoration practices from wind power developers. He advocated strict measures to prevent erosion and planting appropriate vegetation on disturbed ground.

There was considerable concern by members of the committee that birds and bats would be killed by wind turbines. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service there are probably 20 billion birds in the United States in the fall. More than 100 million are killed each year from running into buildings, towers, transmission lines and cars and by domestic cats. Estimates for death from window strikes range from 97 million to 976 million, and cars kill 60 million or more, while less than 100,000 die from wind turbines.

Pelletier said that at several poorly located wind farms there have been extensive bird kills. He cited a California wind farm built in the 1970s as a horrible example. The turbines were closely aligned along a cliff over a prairie dog town in a known raptor flyway with truss work towers. Migrating raptors took advantage of the roosting spots provided by the trusses and the ready supply of food below. The birds died in large numbers, he said.

Pelletier said his studies have shown very few birds and bats killed by wind turbines and he feels it is not a concern for properly sited projects. He pointed out that only four bald eagles are known to have been killed by wind turbines in the United States.

He suggested wording in Peru's wind ordinance that would require the owners to modify operating periods or take other steps if bird kills were excessive.

Committee Chairman Bill Hine said he was concerned with the perception that the committee had a bias against wind power. He brought up the question of whether they should ask selectmen to appoint some pro wind advocates to the committee.

Committee member Steve Fuller said they would have to start over to get new members up to speed.

Committee member Rick Childs said he thought when residents cast their votes on the ordinance it would be based on their opinion of wind power and how they thought the ordinance would support their view.

Former Selectman Jim Pulsifer, also a committee member, pointed out that from the beginning their goal has been to write a fair ordinance that protected the interest of the town. He thought voters would support an evenhanded ordinance.

The committee was formed last fall and also includes Kevin Benedict, Warren McFawn, J.R. Worthington and Philip Bretz.

On Nov. 8, voters approved a six-month moratorium on industrial wind power developments to allow time for an ordinance to be adopted.

EDP Renewables North America LLC of Houston, Texas, received a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. The company is considering building possibly 25 to 35 turbines, a representative told the committee in February.

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Comments

Alice Barnett's picture

bird kill

Approximately 60% of both nights and days had mean target heights within the
RSZ heights, and more than 80% of median target heights occurred within the
RSZ heights during the fall 2010 sampling period.

Canton mountain Wind study.

RSZ = Rotor Sweep Zone

Mike DiCenso's picture

Windsprawl

Stantec may claim only 4 bald eagle kills,but there are 75 golden eagles killed per year at Altamont Pass in Cal, 300 red tailed hawks, and 380 burrowing owls plus kestrels and other species for a total of 880 to 1300 raptor kills per year. I suppose that does not put a species at risk of extinction and we can always see what is left in a zoo, so that makes it alright in the developers' eyes to continue with their crimes against nature. I wonder if Stantec will do the env. evaluation for the strip mine in Aroostook County? Or the Passadumkeag Mtn. debacle? It seems a project is OK as long as nothing is made extinct. The same claim surfaces again, it is alright to build towers and roads because there are logging roads and skidder trails already there. Those roads do not compare to the dirt highways built for huge turbines. The trees are supposed to regenerate after logging, windsprawl sprays to prevent tree regrowth, against proper forestry practices. Also because areas are overcut and clearcut does not make it OK for another industry to make matters worse. That holds with bird and bat kills, too. Adding another threat is not OK just because there are other threats already present. Keep wind turbines away from ME.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Peru committee learns about wind turbine impact on wildlife

Tom , 12.03.21 11:22 am-ish hst • 
†hanks for the interesting and informative article about windpower in Peru , speed limit 35 MPH :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Maine h t h, Steve

Alan Michka's picture

Dollars for developers trumps wildlife concerns

Having Stantec advise you on wildlife impacts from wind turbines might not give you an objective perspective. They're a member of a small club of beneficiaries to the relaxed siting standards and subsidy windfall for wind turbines in their work for wind developers

Mr. Pelletier seems to have glossed over and downplayed bird and bat impacts in the midst of a current campaign by many environmental and conservation groups to get the U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to tighten up its policing of wind projects - which have been getting a free pass to kill protected birds with impunity. Ninety environmental groups have signed a petition to this end. See http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/collisions/pdf/petition_endor...

In April 2011, the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stated of the Highland Wind project: "...we believe that the substantial collective risk to wildlife resources indicates that the proposed site locality is not appropriate for intensive wind power development." They also said: "...we conclude that this project, as currently proposed, will likely have undue adverse impacts to multiple high value wildlife resources." Oddly, Stantec worked on this same project for the wind developer and came to the conclusion that there would be no negative wildlife impacts. Think they might have a bias? Think wildlife are really being protected by Stantec?

Rob Pforzheimer's picture

Stantec have been the

Stantec have been the so-called expert consultants for most wind projects in the northeast and always find that there will be no adverse impacts to wildlife.
Adam Gravel, of Stantec, testified in the VT PSB hearing for the Lowell mtn wind project, that he wasn't concerned about the cumulative impact to birds and bats from the proliferation of wind projects.
The Stantec consultants are paid to say what their clients, the wind industry, want them to say. They have no credibility.
Bird and bat fatalities are kept from the public and vastly under reported by wind industry consultants like Stantec.

Birds, bats and wildlife have a better chance of adapting to climate change than adapting to the adverse impacts of industrial scale wind projects.

Use Less

Penny Gray's picture

Bear in mind that Steve

Bear in mind that Steve Pelletier works for the wind industry and he's going to tell you that those industrial turbines are harmless to birds, bats and so forth. Only four bald eagles have been killed by wind turbines in the United States??? The American Bird Conservancy would gladly challenge Pelletier's figures. The numbers for bird and bat kills by industrial wind turbines world wide are sky rocketing as projects get built out, but these figures are also swept under the rug. When was the last time your cat dragged an eagle through the door? Raptors use the updrafts along ridgelines to soar on as they hunt. Migratory birds and bats use the ridgelines to navigate by, day and night, through fog and snow. Filling their airspace with churning blades will have a definite and negative impact. The cumulative impact of all these proposed projects in the western mountains area will take a big toll on our wildlife, not to mention our scenic viewsheds. The Sierra Club and certain chapters of the Audubon Society are filing lawsuits against wind developers. All current projects are in violation of federal endangered species and migratory bird act laws. Do your homework. Once these monstrous turbines go up, they aren't coming down again any time soon.

Alice Barnett's picture

Stantec

is usually hired by GRID scale WIND developers to study wildlife.
Stantec, Tetra-tech et.al. can convince any one of anything with their elaborate photos and graphs.

Canandian Geese are flying over right now. Where is their migratory path? Some sight them on Colonel Holman, some on Webb river. It seems the mountains of Canton, Colonel Holman and Saddleback Ridge are smack in the middle.

No geese in peru? No eagles?? We need to help these companies in their studies. Record wildlife as you know it before turbines.

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