As I have discovered over the years, wind industry research is not really research, it is a performance designed to fool the ignorant. I have not read a single wind industry related study or survey conducted after 1985 that I consider credible. The studies conducted for this wind project fall into this same pattern. The results derived from the research conducted for the Aqua Ventus wind project, by New Jersey Audubon, Stantec Consulting Services and the University of Maine, Castine 1/8 Scale Test Turbine study should never be accepted as complete, conclusive or scientific. I will first point out a few problems with the New Jersey Audubon Radar Study.
Monhegan Island, located about10 mi offshore along mid-coast Maine, is widely recognized as a world-class birding hotspot and bird stopover site. This island is one of many in the region that dozens of bird species use during their island-hopping movements. The fact that Audubon failed to mention the importance of this region to so many species in their radar study is telling.
Yet on their website, Audubon is quick to point how important this Island is when selling their $1795 birding tours:
“Our time will be filled observing some of the incredible array of birds that reside on or visit this island, such as flycatchers, thrushes, vireos, warblers (over 20 species possible), sparrows, finches, and blackbirds. We will scan the ocean waves for waterfowl, alcids, shearwaters, jaegers, and other seabirds, while raptors pass by in their search for prey on the island. The list of possibilities reads like a checklist, and we’ll search for species such as Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Black Guillemot, Manx Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Black-legged Kittiwake, Parasitic Jaeger, Red-necked Phalarope, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Philadelphia Vireo, Connecticut Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Clay-colored Sparrow, and many more!! Regularly sighted vagrants include Western Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Dickcissel, Lark Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, and more. Monhegan has also hosted a stunning list of rarities, topped by the likes of Magnificent Frigatebird, Bridled Tern, Swallow-tailed Kite, Say’s Phoebe, White-winged Dove, Northern Wheatear, Lazuli Bunting, and Lark Bunting!”
From “RADAR MONITORING OF BIRD AND BAT MOVEMENT PATTERNS ON MONHEGAN ISLAND, MAINE AND ITS COASTAL WATERS”, here are a few telltale quotes:
…… “The average height and size of wind turbines have also increased over time (Wiser and Bolinger 2008). These developments have led to concern about potential negative impacts of wind power development on wildlife and their habitats, particularly migratory birds and bats, and have prompted calls for the development of standard guidelines for identifying, assessing, and monitoring those potential impacts (USFWS 2012)”.
So, what’s wrong with this statement? Everything because none of the standard guidelines for identifying, assessing, and monitoring those “potential” turbine impacts (USFWS 2012) are scientific and this can be easily proven. What I have witnessed in my analysis of hundreds of wind energy documents is this……… The bigger the turbines, the further from the truth wind energy research has drifted. Wind turbine impacts are also not potential. Turbine impacts are real and they are devastating to species. . …….“The intent of this work was to provide information that could be used to support decisions regarding possible development of wind resources in the Gulf of Maine. The scientific information presented in this report provides essential biological data that can inform development of resource management policy, and support review processes by federal agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and responsible state agencies in Maine.
This statement above is very misleading and biased. Not only because their work was derived from inaccurate keyhole methodologies that avoided true field conditions, nothing about this study/report is conclusive. New Jersery Audubon even admits to research flaws over and over again. Some of these flaws are more obvious than others.
…………..“Our radars were configured to sample relatively small volumes of space compared to the extent migration and other types of bird and bat movement (e.g., post-breeding dispersal, post-fledging dispersal) that likely occurs in Gulf of Maine, and more specifically, the offshore waters in the vicinity of Monhegan Island.”
…………“Additionally, we use the term "target" rather than "individual" or "flock" because the number of birds or bats represented as single entities by the radar was unknown.
……………..“Our inability to distinguish between birds and bats during radar monitoring, or distinguish among species in each of these taxa, also is important to note. Flight behavior (e.g., migration phenology, altitude) of several avian taxa (e.g., passerines) overlap with those reported for bats (Larkin 1991, Bruderer and Boldt 2001, Kunz and Fenton 2003). Consequently, we could not determine the relative contribution of birds or bats in spatial or temporal patterns we observed.”
………..”Furthermore, that we experienced some detections that were attributable to large-bodied, fast-flying insects (e.g., dragonflies [OrderOdonata], moths (Order Lepidoptera]) is important to note.” ……………“Although we attempted to remove insect contamination through image-processing steps, our inability to remove it completely is certain. To reflect our uncertainty about the identity of aerial vertebrates in our radar data, we refer to entities detected by the radars as "targets," throughout this report..” …………“This meant that our target passage estimates were conservative, as some of the weaker reflectors in the yellow spectrum and possibly the higher green spectrum values were likely birds or bats.” I will point out that a flock of migrating birds should never be dismissed as a single target. What this means is that a single "target" could represent a thousand birds. They should also never be confused with insects. Proper research methodology could have eliminated these critical or convenient data collection problems.
…………..“ Data images with precipitation, insect contamination or any other unwanted propagation were removed from subsequent data analyses either using data processing software developed by NJAS or by manually removing images from data sets before analyses. In extreme cases (e.g., continuous rain), we removed entire days or nights of data from analysis when the number of images with contamination was > 50% of the total images collected.”
From what I have seen with wind industry research, these were likely, very important bird migration days that were conveniently dismissed. Sort of like having the tiny 50 meter mortality search areas around the huge Wolfe Island turbines so most carcasses could be overlooked.
There is no discussion for the radar targets recorded under 200 meters, which the approximate height of the proposed 6 MW turbine’s deadly rotor sweep . A look at the data and one can easily see that most of the targets recorded, were recorded under a 200 meter altitude. Instead this report mentions this nonsense……………
…………. two altitudinal strata, 0-25 m above radar level (arl, TR25), 26-50 m arl, which are likely most relevant to the height of the proposed test turbine (TR50).”
Test turbine??? As I will soon explain, the pint sized “test turbine is nothing close to being the massive turbine planned for this Monhegan Island location. Who thought up this dumb methodology and why would anyone accept it?? ……….In contrast, the Monhegan Island assessment was for a 1/3 scale test turbine that would measure approximately 50 m in height with one of the turbine blades in the upright position. Given this, we focused our analyses of altitudinal distribution on two strata,0 – 25 m and 26 – 50 m above sea level, which is considerably lower than typically considered in these kinds of assessments.”
Only 50 meters in height? Wake up folks. All radar the data should reconfigured for a full scale 600 ft turbine, like the 6 mw turbines planned for this site.
……………. “We also present results of data analyses and discussion of these results in the context of collision risk and the findings of other relevant studies.” Why Audubon thinks they can make this leap is inexcusable, especially when their research and analysis is so inadequate. Ethical research would not make comparisons to collision risks and other radar studies with such incomplete data. But they do and Audubon goes on to cite fraudulent wind industry studies in their discussion.
None of this poor research conducted by Audubon is surprising because Audubon has a history of wind energy bias, bungling, coverup, and research incompetence going back to Altamont and their settlement with Enron. I will give just a clear example of all this from their involvement at Altamont Pass.
Audubon and fraudulent research The lawsuit and move to shut down turbines at Altamont Pass was supposed to save eagles. But it was a grandstanding publicity stunt that sadly was really a big lie. The media, developers, the federal agencies and especially the Audubon, all embraced this mitigation move at Altamont.
Now read the truth all these people did not tell the public.
The majority of eagles killed at Altamont are killed during the months of May-Sept. These are primarily local and regional eagle offspring dispersing from their nests. This pattern of slaughter has occurred for decades. The public would know all this if developers and the USFWS were not in collusion hiding turbine impacts and if Audubon knew what real research really is.
In the settlement with Alameda County, Audubon and developers there was an agreement to shut off the turbines during key eagle migration periods. This shut down period that garnered loads of publicity in the media was conducted in the winter but did very little for these eagles.
From May to September this wind resource area, not only kills the most eagles, it also generates the most electricity April-Sept) and with it the most money.
Their contrived plan to save eagles, was to turn off half of Altamont’s more than 5000 turbines during November and December, alternating with the second half being shut down during January and February. This plan was hardly a sacrifice and it was a planned failure that could have been easily avoided. Here is some of the proof I have relating to this annual eagle carnage. I was given these eagle mortality figures from USFWS agents. In these 2- year figures, 56 % of the golden eagles reported killed at Altamont, were picked up and shipped to the Denver eagle Repository in May-Sept. They won’t tell you but most of them are immature eagles. Winter eagle Migration has little nothing to do with the majority of this late spring and summer dispersal of eagles wandering into the Altamont killing fields. Also keep in mind that not all eagles being killed are reported. The Wind tech I interviewed a while back, told me of 5 unreported golden eagles fatalities found in one month at his wind farm. They were killed during this same May- Sept. time period.
Here is the reported Altamont EAGLE CARCASS COUNT given to me from the USFWS. ………….”Jim, below is a monthly break-down for Altamont dating back to 2013 regarding eagle fatalities. I can not guarantee these numbers are exact, but I am confident that they are certainly close.”
February 2013: 4
March 2013: 3
April 2013: 3
May 2013: 1
June 2013: 3
July 2013: 2
August 2013: 5
September 2013: 5
October 2013: 6
November 2013: 1
December 2013: 0
TOTAL USFWS reported eagle carcasses from Altamont 2013 ......... 33
January 2014: 1
February 2014: 0
March 2014: 4
April 2014: 3
May 2014: 5
June 2014: 8
July 2014: 3
August 2014: 2
September 2014: 5
October 2014: 4
November 2014: 2
December 2014: 0
TOTAL USFWS reported eagle carcasses from Altamont 2014 ......... 37
More reasons dismiss all wind energy opinions given by Audubon
At Altamont the 2005-2010 mortality study used by Audubon to assess the required reductions in raptor mortality for the Audubon settlement. Yet, in this study 6,133 carcasses were found (over 5 times more) than the previous 1998-2003 study. In this study only 56 eagle carcasses were collected over a five-year period.
In the 2005-2010 mortality study similar searches with 30 day intervals were uses and more than 1,500 (over 10 times more) carcasses were dismissed from the data and called incidental (see table 2-2). This total also includes 21 additional eagle carcasses that were picked up the WRRS and dismissed from calculations. These studies reported a total of 126 golden eagle carcasses or about 21 per year.
With this increased carcass, the Audubon Society fraudulently reported a substantial decline in eagle mortality. As I stated earlier wind industry research is not really research, it is a performance designed to fool the ignorant. Audubon was in on this performance and since their Condor settlement with the industry, Audubon has received substantial funding from their association with wind energy.