Saturday, December 18, 2010

Good sense eventually prevails for raptors!

Given the weather, or more precisely, the road conditions, I've elected to stay put and catch up on a few tasks! As some will notice ,this is the second post of the day, the previous one referring to yesterday ( Friday 17th ).Recent times have also allowed me to put out posts on my other Blogs, so take a look at those too!!

In recent times the Altamont Pass area, California, USA has been the focus of much acrimonious debate and action due to the extensive number of wind turbines present there and the effects these were having on local and migrant raptor populations. A 2004 State study showed that between 880-1330 were being killed there annually!!

The major wind energy producer (NextEra Energy Resources) has now agreed , as part of a legal settlement, to replace 2400 wind turbines within four years and pay $2.5million that can be used in a variety of ways to reduce raptor deaths and enhance breeding habitat.

The knub of the issue is that there will be much larger turbines ( that produce more energy ), but such will be fewer in number and ,thereby, reduce the number of blades that raptors might collide with. Not a complete solution but, clearly, a major improvement over the previous situation. Understandably this outcome is being hailed as a landmark agreement and one which other participants in the industry may well take as a benchmark. Were that many of the ageing turbines in the Tarifa area, SW Spain had been subject to change and replacement years ago given they are strung out as a "barrier" across one of the most important raptor migration points in southern Europe!! Having said that, some inroads have been made into the problem, but with an increasing area of turbines appearing as well, so progress is a confusing mixture!!

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