Video Focuses on Cohocton Wind Farm Benefits By Chris Madison (AWEA)

Some representative quotes from local citizens featured in the video: "We’ve always had wind here … my dad and I have talked about it for 25 years–you know, we ought to harness the wind and DO something with it."

"There were in excess of 250 people working on this wind energy project, and I know that over half of them were from the local area."

"I’ve seen a lot of changes–from horses to tractors, steam engines to diesel locomotives on the trains, and I like the project. I like the windmills comin’ in."

Great to see and hear.

Developed by First Wind, Cohocton Wind farm is an operating project delivering clean, renewable power to New York. Together with Cohocton community members, the Cohocton Wind farm is committed to building long-term, local energy solutions.

Cohocton Wind is a 125 MW project featuring 50 2.5 MW Clipper Wind turbines. This project delivers enough power for 50,000 Northeast homes or the equivalent or energy generated from 115,000 barrels of oil.

Cohocton Wind believes that responsible wind power development begins by building relationships. That’s why from the project’s inception, our personnel have met with landowners, local businesses, political leaders, and citizens to bring about active participation in the project’s development.

The goal of the Cohocton Wind farm is to deliver clean, renewable wind energy that provides natural power. Working together, we can provide long-term, local solutions.

Below are some basic answers to frequently asked questions and concerns about wind energy. If you have any additional questions about wind energy or the Cohocton Wind farm, please visit the resources section or contact us.

Q: What benefit does a wind farm have for me if I don’t have any wind turbines on my land?

A: A wind farm generates value for a local community, including:

* Revenues to Towns: Property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes.
* Revenues to Farming and Landowners: Providing significant and stable revenues to local landowners.
* Short Term Construction Benefits: The construction of the Garvie Mountain Wind farm will produce full and part time jobs and create a significant demand for local construction materials and services. It is First Wind Canada’s policy to subcontract locally for construction to the greatest extent possible.
* Long Term Operations and Maintenance: Operation and maintenance of the Garvie Mountain Wind farm will produce approximately 4-6 long term service jobs. It is First Wind Canada’s policy to hire and train locally to the greatest extent possible.
* Electricity Supply: America’s energy demand continues to increase and wind energy provides a way to meet a portion of this increase without the drawbacks of other types of power generation:
-Coal plants produce significant amounts of pollutants including carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas), SO2 (acid rain), NOx (acid rain and smog), particulate matter (asthma and other air pollution related illnesses), carbon monoxide, and mercury (contamination of fish and water supplies).
-Natural gas-fired plants, while cleaner than coal and oil, are often not cost competitive due to large and sudden fuel price increases.
-Large-scale hydroelectric projects have significant human and natural environmental impacts from the flooding of large areas of land.

Q: Do wind turbines shed ice?

A: Wind turbines shut down during icing events due to either imbalance detection or the control anemometer icing (the control anemometer tells the turbine how fast the wind is moving). Any ice buildup tends to shed while the turbine is at rest or while it is starting up (that is, moving at slower than operational speed). Due to this, and the fact that the ice sheds in thin, non-aerodynamic pieces that break apart as they fall, current turbine setbacks from roads and residences should be sufficient to protect the public from ice shed. To date, there has not been one insurance claim for injury due to ice shed.

Source: Energy Insurance Brokers / South Bay Risk Management and Insurance Services / Garrad Hassan

Q: How does wind power affect birds and bats?

A: First Wind conducts extensive, multi-season environmental reviews of each potential project site to determine its impact on local wildlife. While we make every effort to minimize the impact of our wind turbines on birds and bats, it is impossible to ensure no bird or bat will be affected. When compared to other causes of death to bird and bats, however, we believe the benefits to the overall wildlife environment outweighs the risk. In fact, recent data shows wind turbines account for less than 0.003% of all annual bird fatalities in the U.S.

Many studies on the subject are ongoing, and most remain inconclusive on the full impact of wind power on wildlife. First Wind closely monitors research in this area as part of its environmental reviews. The National Research Council, in a comprehensive review of wind power, recently offered this perspective:

The overall importance of turbine-related deaths for bird populations is unclear. Collisions with wind turbines represent one element of the cumulative anthropogenic impacts on bird populations; other impacts include collisions with tall buildings, communications towers, other structures, and vehicles, as well as other sources of mortality such as predation by house cats (Erickson et al. 2001, 2005).

While estimation of avian fatalities caused by wind power generation is possible, the data on total bird deaths caused by most anthropogenic sources, including wind turbines, are sparse and less reliable than one would wish, and therefore it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the incremental contribution of wind-powered generation to cumulative bird deaths in time and space at current levels of development.

Data on bat fatalities are even sparser. While there have been a few reports of bat kills from other anthropogenic sources (e.g., through collisions with buildings and communications towers), the recent bat fatalities from wind turbines appear to be unprecedentedly high. More data on direct comparisons of turbine types are needed to establish whether and why migratory bats appear to be at the greatest risk of being killed. Clearly, a better understanding of the biology of the populations at risk and analysis of the cumulative effects of wind turbines and other anthropogenic sources on bird and bat mortality are needed.

Having said the above, we provide here estimates summarized by Erickson et al. (2005) and estimates reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2002a). Those sources emphasize the uncertainty in the estimates, but the numbers are so large that they are not obscured even by the uncertainty:

* Collisions with buildings kill 97 to 976 million birds annually
* Collisions with high-tension lines kill at least 130 million birds, perhaps more than 1 billion
* Collisions with communications towers kill between 4 and 5 million based on “conservative estimates,” but could be as high as 50 million
* Cars may kill 80 million birds per year
* Toxic chemicals, including pesticides, kill more than 72 million birds each year
* Domestic cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and other species each year
* Collisions with wind turbines killed an estimated 20,000 to 37,000 birds per year in 2003, with all but 9,200 of those deaths occurring in California

Erickson et al. (2005) estimates that total cumulative bird mortality in the United States “may easily approach 1 billion birds per year.” Clearly, bird deaths caused by wind turbines are a minute fraction of the total anthropogenic bird deaths—less than 0.003% in 2003 based on the estimates of Erickson et al. (2005).

By Chris Madison, AWEA