Some good news for raptors, eagles , Burrowing owls, Bats , song birds and conservationist


richard s. cimino
 

Audubon Society Chapters, California Attorney General and Wind Companies
Reach Agreement on Altamont Pass
Old wind turbines to be replaced with new turbines that are safer for birds
(Berkeley, California, December 6, 2010) In cooperation with the
California Attorney General's Office, five
Bay Area Audubon Society chapters and Californians for Renewable Energy
(CaRE) have reached an agreement
with wind energy operators owned by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, to
expedite the replacement of old wind
turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area with new, larger wind
turbines that are less likely to harm
birds.
Golden Gate Audubon, Santa Clara Valley Audubon, Mt. Diablo Audubon,
Ohlone Audubon, and Marin
Audubon joined the Attorney General's Office in negotiating an agreement
that addresses the state's need for
renewable wind energy and the state's obligation to protect resident and
migratory birds.
"Our agreement sets an aggressive schedule for removing the
old-generation turbines and replacing them with
new-generation turbines that should substantially reduce impacts to
birds," said Michael Lynes, Conservation
Director with the Golden Gate Audubon Society. "According to experts
studying the Altamont Pass, the
removal of the old turbines and replacement with properly-sited turbines
may reduce impacts to birds by as
much as 80%."
Altamont Pass was heavily developed for wind power generation in the
late 1970s and early 1980s, eventually
including more than 5800 turbines covering a 56 mi2 area in eastern
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. These
lands at one time provided ample habitat for birds and still serves as
an important migratory corridor for Golden
Eagles and other raptors. For much of the last decade, the Bay Area
Audubon chapters and the operating wind
companies have struggled to agree on ways to reduce impacts to birds,
bats and other wildlife while fostering
the environmental and economic benefits of wind energy generation in the
Altamont Pass.
The new agreement reflects the consensus of the Alameda County
Scientific Review Committee that the only
way to significantly reduce impacts to birds and keep wind energy
generation in Altamont Pass is to remove the
old-generation wind turbines and replace them with better sited,
new-generation models. And, regardless of
whether the NextEra Energy Resources companies replace all of their
turbines on this expedited schedule, they
have committed to ceasing all operations of their old turbines by the
end of 2015, three years before they are
required to do so under their current permits.
"This agreement addresses the problem arising throughout the state:
balancing the need for renewable energy
generation with subsequent impacts to wildlife," said Bob Power,
Executive Director of the Santa Clara Valley
Audubon Society. "We appreciate NextEra leading the way in the Altamont
Pass to remove the old turbines and
properly install new ones that should significantly reduce risks to
birds. We are also mindful that impacts to
wildlife will continue and the Audubon chapters will remain engaged in
conservation planning and advocacy on
behalf of birds and other wildlife in the Altamont Pass and throughout
the Bay Area."
Golden Gate Audubon Society, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Marin
Audubon Society, Mt. Diablo
Audubon Society, and Ohlone Audubon Society are independent nonprofit
organizations dedicated to protecting
birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitats. They conserve and
restore wildlife habitats, connect people of all
ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay
Area residents in the protection of
our shared, local environment.
Contact: Mike Lynes, Conservation Director, Golden Gate Audubon Society,
510-843-6551,
mlynes@...

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