Concerns Over Birds Could Shoot Down 540 MW Shetland Islands Wind Farm

golden plover photo

photo: Ólafur Larsen via flickr

Back in May the initial applications for a 540 MW wind farm in the Shetland Islands were submitted. Now the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has issued a formal objection to the plans on the grounds that local bird populations could be hurt:Several EU Protected Species Could Be Disturbed
From the RSPB statement:

After scrutinising in detail the developer's application, assessments have revealed there would be significant and unacceptable adverse impacts on many bird species should the development proceed as currently proposed.

Significant numbers of nationally important populations of whimbrels, red throated divers, golden plovers and merlins are likely to be displaced or killed by some of the turbines. Several of these species are given EU protected status.

Disturbing Peatlands Could Increase Carbon Payback Time
Furthermore, the RSPB noted that, because the wind farm development plans suggest that disturbance to peatland habitats could be significant -- peat soils store tremendous amounts of carbon, much of which is released into the atmosphere as the soils are exposed to air and begin drying out -- and that in a worst case scenario the payback time until the project was truly carbon neutral would be 48.5 years. RSPB described such a scenario as "entirely unacceptable".

Project Could Bring in £23 Million per Year
Plans for the wind farm envision 150 turbines erected on some 250 hectares on the central mainland of Shetland. Expected costs for the project are £800 million ($1.32 billion), with expected yearly revenue being about £23 million ($38 million).

The BBC reports that about 3,500 people have signed a petition objecting to the proposed wind farm.

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