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Follow up on wind turbine Bat research  Daniel J. Alberts
 Jun 09, 2005 21:47 PDT 

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Nancy, thanks for this follow up info.

-Daniel

----------
From: Nancy Ferguson <ferg-@charemisd.org>
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 2005 23:06:58 -0400
To: galactic-@nethere.com
Subject: bats


*****************************
FPL Energy veto stymies bat study, group says

By Jim Balow, Staff writer - Charleston Gazette [Charleston, WV] - June
8, 2005

A high-ranking official at FPL Energy has prevented follow-up bat
research at the company's West Virginia wind farm, the head of Bat
Conservation International said Tuesday.

Scientists with the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative, a group formed in
late 2003 to study why electricity-generating wind turbines at FPL's
Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in Tucker County are killing thousands
of bats, conducted a variety of tests last summer at Mountaineer and
another FPL site in Pennsylvania.

After finding large bat kills at both sites, the group proposed
follow-up research this spring and summer, starting in April.

"But at the last minute, Michael Leighton, COO of FPL Energy, decided
he didn't want to do the research," said Merlin Tuttle, director of Bat
Conservation International in Austin, Texas. Ed Arnett, a scientist who
works with Tuttle, led the six-week research project last summer in
West Virginia.

Leighton also vetoed plans for Bat Conservation scientists to do
research at another FPL Energy wind farm in Oklahoma, at no cost to the
company, and cut off access to all FPL sites across the country to
Tuttle and Arnett, Tuttle said.

BWEC scientists released the 187-page report of their 2004 research on
Sunday. It was the first comprehensive study of bat-turbine
interactions. They found the 66 turbines at the two sites killed as
many as 2,900 bats during the six-week study period.

The delay in research is especially significant because wind companies
are scrambling to build more projects before the end of this year, when
lucrative federal tax credits for wind power are set to expire. The
BWEC scientists say wind projects on forested ridgetops - like those in
the Appalachians - are particularly hazardous for bats.

"If the 900 or so turbines proposed are built in a 70-mile radius [of
Mountaineer] prior to finding solutions, it's very easy to extrapolate
from this data to close to 60,000 bats killed a year," Tuttle said.

"That's very likely not an ecologically sustainable kill rate. It's
urgent to find a solution.

"We advanced the state of knowledge pretty dramatically last summer,"
Tuttle said. "We were quite excited to find the kills are pretty
predictable, happening on nights when the wind speed is low.

"The test we want to do is take every other turbine and feather them.
To the average public, you essentially turn them off. The other
turbines would keep running."

Every morning, scientists would check for dead bats under all the
turbines, both feathered and normal. "By comparing mortality, we could
see how much mortality could be saved by not powering up and we could
measure how much it would cost the company in lost power generation.

"By not allowing this research to proceed, we have been set back one to
two years in the most promising solution we have identified to date,"
Tuttle said.

"We don't know if it's a 50 percent solution or 80 percent or 95
percent if adjusted. We can't tell until another company builds a
facility and starts killing bats."

FPL Energy spokesmen told the Gazette in April the company was planning
to focus its research efforts this year on finding deterrents, and
would not support all research proposals.

"FPL's position is for us to make money, we have to have the turbines
turning," spokeswoman Mary Wells said Tuesday. "We feel research has to
be focused on a deterrent, not on turning off turbines.

Spokesman Steve Stengel said FPL believes a deterrent, some sort of
acoustical device to keep bats away from turbines, is the best way to
allow bats and turbines to coexist. Deterrent testing is one of the
types of research proposed by BWEC this year, he said.

"We offered the Mountaineer site for deterrent testing. BWEC said it
could be done in a lab or in a cave. Hopefully the research is done
this year," he said.

Tuttle questioned the sincerity of the company. "I have to ask: If a
company doesn't want to test this simple procedure - it doesn't cost
them any money, they just have to reprogram their computer - I have to
ask if you would be willing to do something that will cost them money.
They say they want to test deterrents, but deterrents will cost money."

BWEC is trying to find other sites for its research, he said.

"We're not going to start up research at a site where the rug is going
to be pulled out from under us halfway through. We had such good data
at Mountaineer and Meyersdale. It would have been great to follow up."

Tuttle said Leighton's decisions have hurt his group's fundraising
efforts. "It's a terribly embarrassing waste of time to go out and
raise a couple hundred thousand dollars, say it is urgent, then go back
and say we can't do the research after all; can we do something else
with your money?

"I don't want to attack the company. I think this is a bad decision by
one person. It's just sad we've had this setback in what we're able to
do. There are a lot of people who aren't going to want to step up and
say as much, but I can tell you there are a lot of people in BWEC that
are chafing at the bit at this decision by FPL Energy.

"I personally like wind power," Tuttle said. "But I can tell you if we
start killing these thousands of bats these data predict, that's going
to put a heck of a dent in the green image of the wind power. We need
to get out ahead to prevent this."

To contact staff writer Jim Balow, use e-mail or call 348-5102.




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<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Follow up on wind turbine Bat research</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY>
Nancy, thanks for this follow up info.<BR>
<BR>
-Daniel<BR>
<BR>
<BLOCKQUOTE>----------<BR>
<B>From: </B>Nancy Ferguson <ferg-@charemisd.org><BR>
<B>Date: </B>Thu, 9 Jun 2005 23:06:58 -0400<BR>
<B>To: </B>galactic-@nethere.com<BR>
<B>Subject: </B>bats<BR>
<BR>
</BLOCKQUOTE><BR>
<BLOCKQUOTE><FONT SIZE="2"><FONT FACE="Arial">*****************************<BR>
FPL Energy veto stymies bat study, group says<BR>
<BR>
By Jim Balow, Staff writer - Charleston Gazette [Charleston, WV] - June<BR>
8, 2005<BR>
<BR>
A high-ranking official at FPL Energy has prevented follow-up bat<BR>
research at the company's West Virginia wind farm, the head of Bat<BR>
Conservation International said Tuesday.<BR>
<BR>
Scientists with the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative, a group formed in<BR>
late 2003 to study why electricity-generating wind turbines at FPL's<BR>
Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in Tucker County are killing thousands<BR>
of bats, conducted a variety of tests last summer at Mountaineer and<BR>
another FPL site in Pennsylvania.<BR>
<BR>
After finding large bat kills at both sites, the group proposed<BR>
follow-up research this spring and summer, starting in April.<BR>
<BR>
"But at the last minute, Michael Leighton, COO of FPL Energy, decided<BR>
he didn't want to do the research," said Merlin Tuttle, director of Bat<BR>
Conservation International in Austin, Texas. Ed Arnett, a scientist who<BR>
works with Tuttle, led the six-week research project last summer in<BR>
West Virginia.<BR>
<BR>
Leighton also vetoed plans for Bat Conservation scientists to do<BR>
research at another FPL Energy wind farm in Oklahoma, at no cost to the<BR>
company, and cut off access to all FPL sites across the country to<BR>
Tuttle and Arnett, Tuttle said.<BR>
<BR>
BWEC scientists released the 187-page report of their 2004 research on<BR>
Sunday. It was the first comprehensive study of bat-turbine<BR>
interactions. They found the 66 turbines at the two sites killed as<BR>
many as 2,900 bats during the six-week study period.<BR>
<BR>
The delay in research is especially significant because wind companies<BR>
are scrambling to build more projects before the end of this year, when<BR>
lucrative federal tax credits for wind power are set to expire. The<BR>
BWEC scientists say wind projects on forested ridgetops - like those in<BR>
the Appalachians - are particularly hazardous for bats.<BR>
<BR>
"If the 900 or so turbines proposed are built in a 70-mile radius [of<BR>
Mountaineer] prior to finding solutions, it's very easy to extrapolate<BR>
from this data to close to 60,000 bats killed a year," Tuttle said.<BR>
<BR>
"That's very likely not an ecologically sustainable kill rate. It's<BR>
urgent to find a solution.<BR>
<BR>
"We advanced the state of knowledge pretty dramatically last summer,"<BR>
Tuttle said. "We were quite excited to find the kills are pretty<BR>
predictable, happening on nights when the wind speed is low.<BR>
<BR>
"The test we want to do is take every other turbine and feather them.<BR>
To the average public, you essentially turn them off. The other<BR>
turbines would keep running."<BR>
<BR>
Every morning, scientists would check for dead bats under all the<BR>
turbines, both feathered and normal. "By comparing mortality, we could<BR>
see how much mortality could be saved by not powering up and we could<BR>
measure how much it would cost the company in lost power generation.<BR>
<BR>
"By not allowing this research to proceed, we have been set back one to<BR>
two years in the most promising solution we have identified to date,"<BR>
Tuttle said.<BR>
<BR>
"We don't know if it's a 50 percent solution or 80 percent or 95<BR>
percent if adjusted. We can't tell until another company builds a<BR>
facility and starts killing bats."<BR>
<BR>
FPL Energy spokesmen told the Gazette in April the company was planning<BR>
to focus its research efforts this year on finding deterrents, and<BR>
would not support all research proposals.<BR>
<BR>
"FPL's position is for us to make money, we have to have the turbines<BR>
turning," spokeswoman Mary Wells said Tuesday. "We feel research has to<BR>
be focused on a deterrent, not on turning off turbines.<BR>
<BR>
Spokesman Steve Stengel said FPL believes a deterrent, some sort of<BR>
acoustical device to keep bats away from turbines, is the best way to<BR>
allow bats and turbines to coexist. Deterrent testing is one of the<BR>
types of research proposed by BWEC this year, he said.<BR>
<BR>
"We offered the Mountaineer site for deterrent testing. BWEC said it<BR>
could be done in a lab or in a cave. Hopefully the research is done<BR>
this year," he said.<BR>
<BR>
Tuttle questioned the sincerity of the company. "I have to ask: If a<BR>
company doesn't want to test this simple procedure - it doesn't cost<BR>
them any money, they just have to reprogram their computer - I have to<BR>
ask if you would be willing to do something that will cost them money.<BR>
They say they want to test deterrents, but deterrents will cost money."<BR>
<BR>
BWEC is trying to find other sites for its research, he said.<BR>
<BR>
"We're not going to start up research at a site where the rug is going<BR>
to be pulled out from under us halfway through. We had such good data<BR>
at Mountaineer and Meyersdale. It would have been great to follow up."<BR>
<BR>
Tuttle said Leighton's decisions have hurt his group's fundraising<BR>
efforts. "It's a terribly embarrassing waste of time to go out and<BR>
raise a couple hundred thousand dollars, say it is urgent, then go back<BR>
and say we can't do the research after all; can we do something else<BR>
with your money?<BR>
<BR>
"I don't want to attack the company. I think this is a bad decision by<BR>
one person. It's just sad we've had this setback in what we're able to<BR>
do. There are a lot of people who aren't going to want to step up and<BR>
say as much, but I can tell you there are a lot of people in BWEC that<BR>
are chafing at the bit at this decision by FPL Energy.<BR>
<BR>
"I personally like wind power," Tuttle said. "But I can tell you if we<BR>
start killing these thousands of bats these data predict, that's going<BR>
to put a heck of a dent in the green image of the wind power. We need<BR>
to get out ahead to prevent this."<BR>
<BR>
To contact staff writer Jim Balow, use e-mail or call 348-5102.<BR>
</FONT></FONT><BR>
</BLOCKQUOTE><BR>
</BODY>
</HTML>


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