Standard Metrics and Methods for Conducting Avian/Wind Energy Interaction Studies

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Anderson, R.; Davis, H.; Kendall, W.; Drive, H.; Mayer, L.; Morrison, M.; Sinclair, K.; Strickland, D.; Ugoretz, S. (1997). Standard Metrics and Methods for Conducting Avian/Wind Energy Interaction Studies. Report by California Energy Commission, California State University, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Western Ecosystems Technology Inc (WEST), and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. pp 8.

The awareness of the problem of avian fatalities at large scale wind energy developments first emerged in the late 1980`s at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (WRA) in Central California. Observations of dead raptors at the Altamont Pass WRA triggered concern on the part of regulatory agencies, environmental/conservation groups, resource agencies, and wind and electric utility industries. This led the California Energy Commission staff, along with the planning departments of Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties, to commission a study of bird mortality at the Altamont Pass WRA. In addition to the Altamont Pass WRA, other studies and observations have established that windplants kill birds. Depending upon the specific factors, this may or may not be a serious problem. The current level of scrutiny and caution exhibited during the permitting of a new windplant development in the United States results in costly delays and studies. This is occurring during a highly competitive period for electrical production companies in the USA. Clarification of the bird fatality issue is needed to bring it into perspective. This means standardizing metrics, defining terms, and recommending methods to be used in addressing or studying wind energy/bird interactions.

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