Ohio Manages Risk of Wildlife Impacts From Wind Turbines: An Update

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We're not sure what gives birds and bats more stress: wind turbines or ideological opponents of wind turbines who use irrational avian mortality fears as a political wedge. Letting actual field biologists do some site specific research is generally going to be better for the avians and our politics (which are always local). It's even better if all stakeholders agree up front to a risk management plan based on field experience.Preliminary field data gathering is off to a good start in Ohio, as we reported in Migratory Bird Flyways And Off-Shore Wind Farms: A Co-Evolutionary Overlap.

The U.S. State of Ohio has taken the next step - integrating targeted research and risk management provisions. Its a smart way to hedge investment in alternative energy against the risks to biodiversity posed by both wind and climate change.

[The] state is asking companies to sign voluntary agreements to study the risk before and after wind farms are built. And if the companies follow the rules, neither Ohio nor the feds will shut down turbines, even if thousands of animals are killed.

Companies that sign the voluntary agreement would have to notify the state at least 18 months before building turbines. And they would have to monitor sites for as long as a year for eagles, hawks, migratory birds and bats.
Once turbines are running, the companies would monitor for as long as two years to see whether unacceptable numbers of bats and birds were killed. If so, turbines could be shut off or slowed during peak migration periods.