Wind Energy Development and Wildlife Conservation

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Wind Energy Development and Wildlife Conservation Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                          4/23/2008




                         Quiz
1. What does NWCC stand for?                                       Wind Energy Development and
2. Turbines are rated in terms of:
                                                                       Wildlife Conservation
     1. Voltage 2. Wattage 3. Kilojoules
3. In addition to wind turbines, what other 2 features of
   wind farms result in direct mortality of birds and bats?
4. T or F: fatality rates of birds are surprising consistent
   among different wind farms.
5. T or F: It is fairly clear that the larger, modern
   turbines pose a greater mortality risk to birds.
6. T or F: The first big bat kill reported at a wind farm
   was from Altamont, California.




  Where does electrical energy come from?                      Where does electrical energy come from?


   As of 2000, electricity generation came from:               As of 2000, electricity generation came from:

   •   Coal fired power plants                                 •   Coal fired power plants        52%
   •   Nuclear power plants                                    •   Nuclear power plants           19%
   •   Natural gas                                             •   Natural gas                    16%
   •   Hydrological                                            •   Hydrological                    7%
   •   Petroleum                                               •   Petroleum                       3%
   •   Other                                                   •   Other                           2%




   The Pursuit of Free Energy                                  The Pursuit of Free Energy




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Wind Energy Development           Wind Energy Development



                                                                                                            5 MW turbine
                                                                                                            160m (520ft) high
                                                                                                            Rotor span of 140m
                                                                                                            (455 ft)
                                                                                                            1.5 ha (3.7 acres)
                                                                                                            Spherical volume of
                                                                                                            1,436,755m3




Wind Energy Development           Putting Things in Perspective
                                                                             Estimate Annual Avian Mortality Rates (Erickson et al. 2005)

Wind is an emission-free                                         600

renewable source of energy
                                                                 500
                                   Est. Bird Kills in Millions




Wind energy is not without
                                                                 400
                                                      M




environmental costs
  •direct mortality                                              300

      •collisions
                                                                 200
  •indirect influences
      •disturbance                                               100

      •habitat loss
                                                                   0
      •displacement                                                    BLD     POWER CATS   CARS   PEST   COMM   WIND   PLANE

                                                                                          Mortality Cause




Estimated Wind Energy Potential   Estimated Wind Energy Potential




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Regulatory Oversight is Poor                                                      Research Needs

                                                                                  Research is necessary to:
                                                                                     •Better understand direct and indirect impacts
                                                                                     •Understand the ecological costs - benefits tradeoffs
                                                                                     •Identify methods in which costs may be minimized
                                                                                      I       fi ld t d     th d l      d    t   l
                                                                                     •Improve field study methodology and protocols
                                                                                     •Develop high tech methods to reduce impacts

                                                                                  Research is hampered by:
                                                                                     •Funding
                                                                                     •Few pre-and post-construction studies
                                                                                     •Lack of publication of research results




Research Outlets                                                                  Wind Energy Development

Few reports are submitted for peer-review and publication                         Environmental costs & benefits vary in relation to:
                                                                                  •topography
 100%
                                                                                  •vegetation
  80%

                                                                Book              •local fauna
  60%
                                                                Thesis
                                                                Article
                                                                                  •season
  40%
                                                                Report
                                                                                  •opinion
  20%


   0%
         Ch1    Ch2    Ch4    Ch5        Ch6       Ch14

                                    (Sample of chapters from Lucas et al. 2007)




Conservation Benefits                                                             Conservation Benefits




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Potential for Direct Impacts                                                  Potential for Direct Impacts

                             92% occupancy of 42 Golden Eagle                         Golden Eagles, waterfowl and migrant shorebirds
                                                                                      through Briscoe County, Texas
                             nesting areas in 1980-83                                  • Briscoe County is being targeted for large wind energy
                                                                                         developments
                             32% occupancy in 2005-2006.
                                                                                      Resident species of coastal prairie and barrier
                             C        that th      l ti
                             Concern th t the population appears                      islands of Texas
                             to have declined substantively                            • Many species are often on the wing
                                                                                       • We don’t have a good understanding of the potential negative
                                                                                         impacts of wind energy development along the coastal region
                             Stronghold is the Palo Duro – Caprock
                             Canyon Complex (Briscoe County)
                                                                                      Migrants funnel along the Texas Coast and cross
                                                                                      the Gulf of Mexico to and from Texas
                             Briscoe County is targeted for large                      • There is a critical need to develop methods to assess the
                             wind energy developments                                    potential impact of offshore and coastal facilities on migrant
                                                                                         birds and bats




Conservation Conflict                                                         Conservation Conflict / Economic Trade-Off

                                           There is conservation
                                           concern for most prairie                                                         Free-tailed bats form
                                           grouse species                                                                   large breeding
                                                                                                                            season colonies.
                                           Prairie grouse habitat is
                                           attractive for wind energy                                                       Locally they serve as
                                           development                                                                      important natural pest
                                                                                                                            controls
                                           They appear intolerant of
                                           vertical structures                                                              Estimated $741,000
                                                                                                                            value as cotton pest
                                           How conservation efforts                                                         control in 8 counties
                                           and wind energy may
                                           complement or conflict is                                                        This may be reduced
                                           under study                                                                      if local wind energy is
                                                                                                                            a high mortality factor




Wind Energy Research                                                          How Would You Assess Impact

Research is necessary to:                                                     • If asked to assess the impact of a wind
  •Improve understanding of the ecological costs of wind energy                 farm on wildlife in a given area, how would
  •How to mitigate those costs                                                  you go about doing it?
  •Assess direct and indirect mortality rates
   Assess

Research is hampered by:
  •Little advance notice of site development
      •Prevents rigorous pre- and post-construction studies
      •May be due to competition, leases not finalized, poor communication,
      or other reasons
  •Results are seldom submitted to peer review and publication




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Research Needs – Refinement                                  Research Needs - Refinement

Current approach to assess mortality rates at wind
farms depends on 3 factors
                                                                                                    ⎛ N * I *C ⎞
                                                                 Young et al. (2003)                ⎜ k *t * p ⎟
                                                                                                 M =⎜          ⎟
Searcher Efficiency
   • how good are searchers at finding dead things?
                                                                                                    ⎝          ⎠
   • Influenced by species, size, situations and burnout
                                                            N = number of turbines
Scavenger Removal                                           I = Search Interval
   • how long do dead things persist?                       C = number of carcasses found
                                                            K = number of turbines searched
Search Effort                                               T = carcass persistence
   • frequency of searches                                  P = searcher efficiency
   • sample of turbines searched




Exercise                                                     Exercise

• Wind farm of 100 Turbines                                  • Basically, at 40,000/year, you could
• Takes approximately 2 hours / turbine                        conduct 2000 searches = 166 searches /
• Costs $10/hour for searcher ($80/day)                        month
   – Assume no travel costs or overhead                      • 1 search at each turbine and pocket $1320
• Searcher can search 4 turbines per day                     • 2 searches at 83 turbines
• You have a project budget of $40,000 per                   • 3 searches at 55 turbines
  year                                                       • 4 searches at 41 turbines
• How would you conduct the study?




Exercise                                                     Exercise
                                                             G       N         I       C         k       t       p           M
                ⎛ N * I *C ⎞                                 A      100       30       50      100       7      0.25         857.1
                ⎜ k *t * p ⎟
             M =⎜          ⎟                                 B      100       15       50       83       7      0.25         516.4
                ⎝          ⎠                                 C      100       10       50       55       7      0.25         519.5
                                                             D      100       7.5
                                                                              75       50       41       7      0 25
                                                                                                                0.25         522.6
                                                                                                                             522 6
      G     N       I      C       k      t      p
      A    100     30      50    100      7     0.25         E      100        6       50       33       7      0.25         519.5
      B    100     15      50     83      7     0.25         F      100        6       50       33       1      0.25        3636.4
      C    100     10      50     55      7     0.25       •Remember, the mortality estimate is for the search period.
      D    100     7.5     50     41      7     0.25       •If you searched for a year, the estimate is 857 animals for group A
      E    100      6      50     33      7     0.25       •If you searched for 6 months, the estimate would double for a yearly
                                                           estimate
      F    100      6      50     33      1     0.25




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Research Cooperation and Facilitation                                         Research Needs in Texas - Summary


Research is necessary to:                                                     Improved understanding of avian migration patterns,
                                                                              especially in south Texas
  •Refine methodology (searcher efficiency, modeling)
  •Improve understanding of the ecological costs of wind energy
                                                                              Develop technological approaches to reducing strike risk
  •How to mitigate those costs
   How                                                                               y                           g
                                                                              Identify bat roost locations and migration routes
  •Assess direct and indirect mortality rates                                 Understanding of topographical influences of turbine
                                                                              placement
Research is hampered by:
  •Little advance notice of site development
                                                                              Assessment of population level effects
      •Prevents rigorous pre- and post-construction studies                   Evaluate environmental costs – benefit tradeoffs
      •May be due to competition, leases not finalized, poor communication,
                                                                              Industry needs to be responsive to data
      or other reasons
  •Results are seldom submitted to peer review and publication




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