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Showing posts with the label Granite Wind

Sierra Club Publication Promotes Industry Over Wildlife

After flipping through the pages of the Sierra Club's latest issue of Sierra magazine, I am left with a deep disappointment as the organization -- of which I am a member -- continues to sound more like an industry lobby group than a conservation organization.   Much of the March/April issue is dedicated to exulting the wind industry, with less than a page of material that provides a weak description of the industry's impact on wildlife and wildlands, describing the death of birds and bats by wind turbines as "trivial," and placing a lot of optimistic emphasis on the industry's ability to self-regulate.  As another blogger put it, "Not From The Onion: Sierra Magazine’s All-Wind Issue."

The Sierra Club's communication team cannot seem to promote renewable energy while adhering to a conservation ethic, despite ample opportunities to do so, suggesting the wind industry carries substantial influence over the organization and that the battle to eliminate h…

Wind Energy

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Wind energy destroys land, kills birds and bats, and requires immense amounts of steel and concrete, both of which are intense polluters.  And because wind energy is so intermittent -- an unreliable source of power -- utility companies have to contract with natural gas "peaker" plants to generate energy during the times when the wind is not blowing. This means that wind energy is not an efficient means of cutting carbon emissions.  There is no free lunch when it comes to energy, but we do not have to keep ordering from the same menu.  Invest in rooftop solar and energy efficiency, and we can sharply reduce our demand for destructive energy sources like coal, and natural gas, and wind.


Wind energy is not the answer. It is another corporate juggernaut with an insatiable appetite for our natural resources. Wake up, environmental community. Energy efficiency, and rooftop solar is where are efforts should be focused if we are going to defeat coal without regrets.

American Bird Conservancy Seeks Enforced Permit System for Wind Energy

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The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) formally petitioned the Department of Interior to establish and enforce a permit mechanism that would regulate the wind energy industry's impacts on birds.  The petition provides insight into a cavalier energy industry that has shown little regard for wildlife conservation, and Federal agencies ignoring their responsibilities under two major laws -- the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Acts. 

Without regulation, the wind energy industry will push already-imperiled birds and bats into further decline, including the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Whooping Crane, Cerulean Warbler, Hawaiian Goose, and California Condor.  Our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions should not involve such widespread destruction of natural resources.
Currently, it is only voluntary for wind companies to apply for a "take" permit when wind turbines are expected to kill protected birds, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service has fa…

Western Mojave Offers Warning on Wind Energy Impacts

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Several wind energy projects are in the early phases of planning and development throughout the Mojave Desert, including Granite Wind in the Victor Valley and Black Lava Butte near Joshua Tree National Park.  Citizens and conservationists that care for their way of life and land may want to pay attention to what is happening to the desert habitat near Tehachapi and the town of Mojave, California.  Terra-Gen Power LLC is installing over 300 wind turbines -- each nearly 30 stories in height -- across ecologically intact desert lands. The project is known as the Alta Wind Energy Center

Friends of Mojave, a group of concerned citizens, formed to raise awareness about the impacts of the projects on the once quiet rural lifestyle and beautiful desert landscapes.  They have documented the destruction with the photos below:
Wind turbines pose a serious threat to birds and bats once in operation, and wind farms in West Virginia and Pennsylvania have killed thousands of birds and bats.  The nearb…

Vermont Wind Facility A Perfect Example of Greenwashing

Wind turbines are not green, and the video below shows the ugly side to this utility-scale energy behemoth that is altering thousands of square miles across the country.  Not only do they require massive amounts of steel to produce, they are transported by diesel guzzling trucks for hundreds of miles, tons of concrete is needed to pour their foundations, and wide access roads are bulldozed into the land and mountain ridges where they are installed.  Once the blades are spinning, they become a huge threat to rare wildlife, such as golden eagles, hawks, owls, bats, sandhill cranes, etc.  Research indicates that at least 440,000 birds are killed each year by wind turbines, and that number is expected to climb to 1,000,000 per year by 2030 as more wind facilities are constructed.

The video below shows scenes of destruction in Vermont as a mountain ridgeline is blasted away to make way for wind turbines.

This is Green Energy? from Catamount on Vimeo.

But most big environmental organizations …

Granite Mountain Wind Energy Project Under Review

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The Bureau of Land Management plans to resume environmental review of the Granite Mountain wind energy project proposed by Renewable Energy Systems America (RES).   If the Granite Mountain wind energy project is approved, residents of the Victor Valley are likely to lose the majestic site of a golden eagles soaring above the desert, or the high-pitched tone of bats swooping through the night sky in chase of insects.  The project's environmental review was stalled last year as the Department of Interior basically needed time to figure out how to sneak around a Federal law that prohibits the "take" (harassment or death) of bald and golden eagles.  The spinning blades of wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year.   According to the draft environmental impact statement released in 2010 before the project review was halted, several golden eagles are active in the vicinity of Granite Mountain, along with Swainson's hawk, red-tailed hawks, turke…

Death by a Thousand Cuts: Renewable Energy Plans Imperil Desert Ecosystem

Updated information from the Bureau of Land Management depicts the enormous scale of plans to build solar and wind energy facilities on mostly pristine public land, endangering iconic species such as the desert tortoise and golden eagle, locking up prized outdoor recreation areas, and forever changing the character of California's deserts.  The BLM approved a wave of applications in 2010 totaling some 40 square-miles, the most destructive of which continue to face public and legal opposition, and continues to review dozens of additional projects (sampled below) without adequately assessing the cumulative impacts of so much industrial development on desert ecosystems.

Although the Department of Interior is developing the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, both plans will likely focus on maximizing industrial development with conservation functions that are unlikely to effectively counteract the ripple effects on natur…

Angry Birds in Northern California

Following up on a previous post regarding Google's plans to invest millions of dollars in a massive field of wind turbines in the western Mojave Desert, the Los Angeles Times ran a great article today on the dangers of poorly sited wind energy facilities on birds. Google's wind energy projects is one of several proposed for the Mojave Desert, and are expected to have similar impacts as the Altamont Pass project featured in the LA Times article.   A video accompanied the article and is also embedded below.

Granite Mountain Wind Project Cuts Into Bendire's Thrasher ACEC

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According to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Granite Mountain Wind Energy project, part of the project's footprint and the access roads would interfere with the Bendire's Thrasher Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).  The Granite Mountain Wind Energy Project is being proposed for the hills on the outskirts of Apple Valley by Granite Wind LLC.

The Bendire's Thrasher is a threatened species deemed by ornithologists to be so rare that it is difficult to properly assess its recent population trends, although sufficient data suggests that the population has declined approximately 34% since 1966.  The bird's habitat is threatened by urbanization, loss of Joshua Trees, and Off-highway vehicle use resulting in habitat degradation.

Although the Granite Wind Energy project may not be as destructive as other industrial-scale energy projects proposed for the Mojave Desert--such as the Calico Solar Project or the Ridgecrest Solar Power project--it does no…

Granite Wind Energy Project Comment Period...

Someone recently commented on a blog post regarding the impact of wind energy on bats that the comment period for the Granite Wind Energy project proposed for the Apple Valley/Barstow area will close on 01 July.  I have been meaning to catch up with the wind energy projects in the Mojave Desert and should have a post on this soon, but I wanted to share this in the meantime.