Golden Eagles getting killed by wind turbines in Norcal...

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by burritos, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    Clean energy: Clean energy clashes with safety of protected bird species - latimes.com
    Don't know how I feel about this. Part of me shrugs and proclaims the fact that fossil fuels and tall buildings directly and indirectly probably kill more golden eagles.

    The question is would you push a golden eagle in front of an on coming train to save 10 golden eagles(morality exercise)?
     
  2. xpcman

    xpcman Senior Member

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    No problem - natural selection will take care of everything in 100,000 to 200,000 years. By then all eagles will be born with sonar detection abilities. Thats assuming there are still eagles still around.
     
  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    The question is would you push a golden eagle in front of an on coming train to save 10 golden eagles(morality exercise)?

    That's not a morality exercise...that's a math question. 1 for 10? Here comes the train...and head for the light my golden eagle friend....
     
  4. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

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    Altamont... again? We know that Altamont was a really poor choice in this regard. Have known for a long time. Are these the large, low RPM turbines, or the old 250 kW avian blenders built on truss style towers (rather than the tubular towers that are the standard today)?
     
  5. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    There are a mix of the old and the new. The majority of turbines are the old ones and it has been known for a long time that they kill birds. About half of the old bird killers are in the process of being replaced with more efficient slower turbines that are safe for the eagles. This isn't a case of wind verus nature, it is about realizing that 30 yo turbines were not designed with any consideration for birds and replacing them with better models.
     
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  6. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    I dont see why they cant install golf driving range nets .
     
  7. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Well for one, I don't think Eagles golf...nets would be wasted...

    What the hell, lets get rid of those clean running killer Don Quixote windmills and replace all that clean power, with another clean power source, a Nuclear Plant! :eek:

    It won't kill the birds, well unless they fly into the cooling towers, or take a dip in the cooling pool, and since that region won't get a massive Japan type quake, we should be OK!:cool:

    C'mon everyone lets build a Nuke, save a Eagle....:eek:
     
  8. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    You never heard of getting an eagle on a hole in golf?
     
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  9. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    I always thought it was only possible to hit a Eagle out of the air with a 3 wood on a Par 5 hole....go figure :D
     
  10. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    If Austin is correct, then one of the CA renewables advocates should write a letter to LA Times editor with the info to try to stop the carnage. I would myself but its a whole world away. I was told the bird killing problem was a thing of the past, so lets make it that way.
     
  11. dtuite

    dtuite Silverback

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    As i understand it, the problem is that when you build a wind turbine you have tondig a big hole in the groind for the base. That leaves a lot of rubble, which the construction people leave aroind the tower base. This in turn happens to make a nice habitat for rodents, which happen to be the birds favorite dinner. So the eagles tend to do what comes naturally. In one ecological sense windmills are great for rodents, because they offer a natural habitat while minimizing their exposure to their natural enemies.

    The solution is simple . . . A public education program to tell people how cute and furry thw rodents are, and how horrible it is for them to be cruelly mangled and eaten alive by nasty raptors.
     
  12. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    The LA times story is misleading for not pointing out that these problems don't affect properly built wind farms. The changes to this old wind farm is buried near the end of the article. It is really shameful for NextEra and the regulators in the state of California. The state and NextEra has known about the problem for decades but refused to do anything about it. Two organizations needed to sue to get remediation.

    Here is more of the full story.
    Altamont Pass to Get Less-Deadly Wind Turbines: SFist


    I thought the turbines looked cool when I first saw them, and they didn't assault my visual senses at all. When I learned how many birds they were killing and how easy it was to make these safer, I was appalled. They should remove all of the old design turbines.
     
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  13. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    I'll ditto Tripp. Altamont is exceptional. Meaning, exceptionally stupid, with 20-20 hindsight. In the middle of a wildlife sanctuary? They don't build them like that any more, and thank goodness.

    I've had this discussion with my brother, an avid birder, so I'm up on the issue.

    Do you know what the National Audubon Society is? If not, find out.

    Then, ask what the National Audubon Society's position is on wind power. Presumably, if they haven't been corrupted, they've made some informed judgment on the pluses and minuses with regard to the ultimate impact on birds.

    Wind Power Overview | National Audubon Society Policy Issues & Action

    "Summary: Audubon strongly supports properly-sited wind power..."

    If you're smart, you'll be able to figure it out from there. If not, not.

    Want to see Altamont, Golden Eagle, and Audubon, all in one place? Here:
    Audubon Statement on Wind Power | National Audubon Society Policy Issues & Action

    So it's a chestnut. Citing Altamont/golden eagles in this regard is equivalent to citing the Sudbury nickel mine w/r/t the environmental damage of the Prius NiMH battery.

    The issue of bird kills has been studied. My recollection is that no significant bird kills have ever been attributed to any wind farm east of the Mississippi. If necessary, I can dig up the relevant citations.

    But, basically, if you care about birds, you know what the Audubon Society is. They strongly endorse (properly sited) wind power. Altamont ain't that. They endorse (properly sited) wind power so that they can have a say in the siting, I think. The industry seems to have learned from that mistake. Near as I can tell, new wind power does not kill raptors as Altamont does. As in, not at all east of the Mississippi. Mostly Due to the location (not in a narrow mountain pass through which raptors migrate), but also from changes in design.

    You care about birds? Put some IR reflective stickers on your windows (as my church has done). Net on net, windows cause far more bird deaths than wind turbines. Call it 3 orders of magnitude more.
     
  14. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I wonder how many these blades will kill. They are supposedly the world's largest at 93' long each.

    I was following the GF in the Uhaul truck so I couldn't stop for better pics.
     

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  15. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    F8L this is probably way off topic, but
    is 126 meters in diameter. 93' is chump change. Go to the end of the video and it shows the relative size to things like the pyrimids and statue of liberty. IMHO it is too big:rockon:

    :focus:

    The bigger blades also turn slower which are safer for birds. Location and design are key to reducing bird deaths. Properly designed wind farms will still kill some birds but these numbers are small compared to other manmade incursions. Altamont was built before we knew many things we know today. Definitely by the time its license was renewed in 2004, the industry knew that the location and design were killing an excessive amount of birds. For those of us that want more renewable power, its imperative that bad designs like altamont are retired and are not used to spread misinformation about renewable energy.
     
  16. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Yikes!

    Ok so I was lied to. lol Either way these blades were pretty long. :)
     
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  17. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    Just wait until they find a Condor at the base of one of these wind turbines! :eek:
     
  18. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Or a Cessna 170.....:cool:
     
  19. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Well, since that's the newer enclosed design, probably won't kill very many. If they keep it out of bird's main migration routes, that would be even better.

    Sorry. They don't leave rubble lying around. At least not at the sites I've seen in the midwest. Those tend to be in corn fields and cow pastures, and other than a little bit of smooth gravel around the base for parking and maintenance, it's all natural dirt, used for agricultural purposes.

    The problem with the old-style windmills is that they were made from an exposed metal truss, giving birds lots of opportunities to perch on the windmill itself, and the short blades turned quickly.
     
  20. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Plenty of 170s around, or at least more modern replacements.

    Tom
     
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