Proposed Wind Energy Developmentin and Around Lake Erie:The Need to Proactively Engage for Wildlife and Habitat Lake Erie Millennium Network Conference March 1, 2006 University of Windsor Rich Greenwood, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Liaison to U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office Team Leader Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team
Presentation Overview What is the emerging issue? What are the needs to address the issue? How can the needs be addressed?
WHAT IS THE ISSUE? Dramatic Growth of Wind Energy Proposals in and Around Lake Erie The Need to Proactively Engage in Wind Energy to Determine How to Minimize Impacts to Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat
What is driving the increase in proposed Lake Erie wind energy projects? • Technology is advancing rapidly • Costs of equipment are dropping • Incentives provided for development of alternative energy sources (set to expire in 2007) • The prevalence of high wind energy areas • Western basin shallowness makes offshore development more feasible from technological and cost standpoints
Why is Lake Erie prime for consideration? • Wind Resource Areas • Shallowest Great Lake – costs increase with depth • Close to major markets • Transmission available
There are Documented Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat Impacts from Wind Energy ProjectsIncluding direct mortality to birds and bats
Lake Erie Wind Energy FarmsAre Being Proposed In Areas of High Risk to Wildlife Including: • Ridge Lines along Eastern Basin Coastline – Area of Significance to Raptor Migration & highest spring nocturnal passerine migration rates documented in North America • Coastal Habitat/Wetlands - adjacent to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge • Western Lake Erie Islands • Offshore in the Western Basin
TYPES OF POTENTIAL IMPACTS TO WILDLIFE • Habitat loss – “foot print” • Displacement • Barrier effects • Habitat Fragmentation • Collision mortality • Cumulative impacts - each of the above together, and with other projects
Potential Wildlife Resource Concernsfor Terrestrial Wind Projects • Direct Effects • Mortality • Habitat loss/modification • Interior forest loss • Habitat fragmentation • Indirect Effects • Reduced nesting density • Habitat abandonment • Loss of refugia • Attraction to modified habitat • CumulativeEffects
Echo location does not seem to help bats avoid colliding with wind turbines. For many bats, the maximum useful distance for detecting insects is about 12 ft. Since turbine blade tip speed can be 180 mph or higher, for a bat at close range there is not much time to react.
World Record Kill Continues - Unabated • World’s largest kill of wildlife by wind turbines was discovered in 2003 during the first year of operation of the Mountaineer project in West Virginia. • Between 1,400 and 4,000 bats are estimated to be killed each year - a rate of 47.5 per turbine. • This contrasts with previous estimates of <2 bats killed per turbine, particularly in the West. • Owner: Florida Power and Light Developer: Atlantic Renewable (now PPM) Consultant: Curry and Kerlinger
Foot Print: Wind Power PlantsRequire a Lot of Area • 2,000 turbines = ~ 250 miles of ridge line • 10,000turbines = ~1250 miles of ridge line
Habitat Fragmentation: what AWEA says “Wind energy can negatively impact birds and other wildlife by fragmenting habitat, both through installation and operation of wind turbines themselves and through the roads and power lines that may be needed. This has been raised as an issue in areas with unbroken stretches of prairie grassland or of forests. More research is needed to better understand these impacts.” (See: Frequently Asked Questions, American Wind Energy Association’s web site.)
Potential Offshore Environmental Concerns • Lake Ice • Vessel traffic • Port Availability • Fisheries • Migratory Birds/Bats • Benthos • Staging and Construction Effects • Sediment Structure • Noise/Vibrations • Hydrology • Transmission lines/Grid connections • Submerged cables • Electromagnetic fields • Logistics • View shed • Coastal Effects • Lake ecosystem • Navigation safety • Air Traffic Safety • Archaeology • Cumulative
Larger Turbines Predicted • GEis predicting that 5-7 MW turbines with 120-160 m rotor diameters may soon be available ("next generation"). • Also, 20 MW turbines with 200 m rotor diameters are a future possibility (rising 700 or 800 feet above water).
Turbine Blade Mountaineer Wind Energy Plant West Virginia 115feet
Mountaineer Wind Energy Plant Allegheny Plateau, West Virginia NEG Micon NM72C Wind Turbines 44 1.5 megawatt turbines generate 66 megawatts of electricity. Hub height 228 feet Blade length 115 feet
What are the Needs and Approaches to Engage to Minimize Wildlife Impact? Regulating Wind Power: Largely responsibility of state (provincial ?) & local governments U.S. Federal Government has a minimal regulatory role, unless federal funding or lands used: Kicks in NEPA, CWA However regulatory agency officials often lack experience or expertise to address the environmental and wildlife impacts
What are the Needs and Approaches to Engage to Minimize Wildlife Impact? State – provincial and federal laws afford generalized protections to wildlife from wind power The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is primary agency tasked with implementing wildlife-wind power protections in U.S., three federal laws: Migratory Bird Treaty Act Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act Endangered Species Act
What Are the Needs to Engage and Minimize Wildlife Impact? Provide state, provincial, and local regulatory agencies, resource managers, and the industry the resource information to assist good, sustainable decisions: Which could include: Mapping Areas of Low Risk to Wildlife – determine, gather and make available geospacial data/data layers
What Are the Needs to Advance the Dialogue & Make Progress? Collaborate to identify and develop consensus for what are the Priority Research & Information Needs Determining, Analysis, and Addressing Gaps of the State of the Guidance – address how to provide adequate guidelines that are consistent (“no surprises”) based on good science Including for: siting, Pre- and Post Construction Monitoring, BMPs, BATs, and other Assessment Recommendations & Protocols Identify Who’s Doing What With Wind: Develop Support/Expertise & Communication/Coordination Networks
Addressing The Issue The way forward . . . Toward Wildlife-Friendly Wind PowerWith a Focus on Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Basin
GLBET WILDLIFE AND WIND ENERGY INITIATIVE DECEMBER 2004 GLBET MEETING Shedd Aquarium Chicago “ … is anyone … working with wind energy?” Bob Russell – Great Lakes Migratory Birds Team Update
New GLBET Collaborative Wildlife and Wind Energy Aroundthe Great Lakes – Understanding Fish and Wildlife Impacts of Land-based and Offshore Wind Development: Approach, Tools, Techniques for Making Informed Decisions Foster a better understanding of the needs and concerns, suggest a consistent approach in addressing wind development, and solicit feedback from key resource specialists – including leading scientists, managers, regulators, industry representatives, conservationists, and the public. • Develop in partnership a resource tool box to address wildlife/wind issues • Prepare for and facilitate a conference in the Lake Erie Basin • Refine and add to toolbox based on conference & other coordination efforts • Identify next steps post-conference, along with a “call to action”
Wildlife & Wind Energy Tool Box • Information showing areas of low risk to wildlife and their habitats which then can be overlaid onto the wind potential maps • Summary/status of wildlife impacts-Issues of concern • Priority Research and information needs identified collaboratively • Evaluation, summary, and recommendations for using new technologies, and data sources useful for assessment purposes (i.e., NOAA-DOI NEXRAD MOA) • Summary of pre- and post- Construction Guidance, Monitoring and Assessment Needs (Need help with Canadian Sources) • Coordination and Communication Tools Regarding Wildlife-Wind Energy: “Who’s Who in Wind & Wildlife”, Fact Sheets on Various Wind Energy and Wildlife Related Topics, and a Wildlife-Wind Resources Web Site Repository
Toward Wildlife-Friendly Wind Power:A Focus on the Great Lakes Basin Who should attend? •Local, state, provincial, federal and tribal agencies •Nongovernment organizations •Researchers studying fish and wildlife issues •Wind energy industry Conference sessions will focus on: •Communicating information about potential wildlife concerns of wind power generation •Sharing resources available to help make informed decisions about where wind power facilities should be located •Advancing knowledge of land-based and offshore wind and wildlife, including impacts to wildlife, tools and techniques, risk and impact assessment, laws and regulations, siting protocols, and monitoring •Developing consistent research and management approaches for resource managers, regulators, scientists, decision makers, the wind energy industry, conservationists, elected officials and other stakeholders Toledo, Ohio June 27-29, 2006 Organized by: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes National Program Office Illinois Natural History Survey U.S. Geological Survey Registration information, agenda and conference updates will be online at:http://www.fws.gov/midwest/greatlakes
Next Steps: Outreach – Communication Coordination for Tool Box Products – Conference Expected Outcomes: Mid-March through June Conference – June 27-29: Toledo, Ohio Post-Conference Follow-up for Tool Box Products Implement Collaborative “Call to Action”
Toward Wildlife Friendly Wind Power – allowing for: • Conservation of wildlife that is in the public trust - for the enjoyment of people now and in the future. • Development of renewable energy, including from wind, that is friendly to birds, bats, other wildlife. • Informed decisions based on adequate environmental assessment, including: • use of the affected air space by birds and bats over time, • impacts to wildlife - direct, indirect, and cumulative. Adequate, credible information is needed for siting decisions.
This collaboration is supportive of… Great Lakes Regional Collaborative Species/Habitat and Sustainability Priorities SOLEC – providing good information for good decision making Lake Erie LaMP – Ecosystem Objectives GAO Charge to Assist States for Wind Power to Protect Wildlife
Toward Wildlife Friendly Wind Power:A Focus on the Great Lakes Basinwww.fws.gov/midwest/greatlakes/Wildlife-Wind Coordination/CommunicationEmail List: email@example.com Special Thanks To… Great Lakes National Program Office Gary Gulezian - Director Karen Rodriguez – Habitat Program Dan O’Riordan – Lake Erie Program GLNPO-GLBET Action Work Group Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team Partners Alex Hoar – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lake Erie Millennium Network Conference Organizers