BigWind lobbies against penalites for killing bats

Allowing an industrial wind site to ‘donate’ to bat preservation, at the same time it is ‘slicing/dicing’ them is like a pharmacy selling cigarettes- –ludicrous! Would you take time to ‘comment’ at the US Fish and Wildlife Service? Find the link here:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R5-ES-2011-0024-3614

If we continue to allow the devastation of bats, farmers will be forced to use more pesticides on our food!…

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is considering modifying a part of the listing known as the 4(d) rule, which spells out measures that certain industries can take that will protect them from prosecution in the event their activities result in the “take” — or death — of a member of a protected species.

While the bats are threatened primarily by a fungal disease called White-Nose Syndrome, they are also vulnerable to a wide range of man-made hazards, including wind turbines….

As of May 4, when the listing takes effect, wind-farm developers and operators will have two difficult choices, according to Stu Webster, director of permitting and environmental for Iberdrola Renewables. During sensitive times of the day and the year, they can hike to 6.9 meters per second their turbines’ cut-in speed — the wind speed at which the blades begin to spin and produce energy. The FWS contends that no bats will fly into turbines rotating at that speed.

“The whole cut-in speed issue centers around the hypothesis that bats are not flying around in relatively high wind,” Webster said.

Alternatively, developers can seek an “incidental take permit,” allowing them to avoid prosecution for any inadvertent animal deaths. Such a permit for a wind farm typically requires some increase in cut-in speed, as well as a contribution towards the preservation or restoration of bat habitat.

Either scenario poses problems, according to Webster.

Given the exponential relationship between wind speed and power production – a twofold increase in wind speed, for example, could lead to something like a fourfold increase in power generation – a cut-in speed of 6.9 m/s would have a dramatically greater impact on operations than, say, a cut-in speed of 4.5 or 5 m/s, which the industry advocates.

Webster also notes that wind-turbine technology has improved substantially in recent years, and while new turbines are agile enough to comply with complex bat-preserving regimens, older turbines may not be.

“It’s not a slam-dunk that any wind farm can accommodate these operational changes,” Webster said.

Nonetheless, the wind industry has lobbied the Service to include it in a 4(d) exemption, and it will continue working toward that end. Even if the wind industry is granted certain exemptions, Webster said, “It would not come without an impact to our operations.”…

In comments it submitted to FWS in March, the American Wind Energy Association proposed a revised 4(d) rule that would give wind-farm operators the choice of:

• reducing cut-in speed to 4.5 meters per second from mid-summer through early fall, along with a onetime donation of $3,500 per megawatt (for an industry-wide total of $227 million) to a bat conservation fund, or
• reducing the cut-in speed during those months to 5 meters per second wind speed, without any payment towards bat conservation….

Bats provide insect control for farmers, and studies have placed their value in the billions of dollars per year….

Bat listing’s impact on wind industry yet to be determined | Midwest Energy News.

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