Wind power and birds

A spokesman for Power Co. of Wyoming (PCW), which is working on a very large wind farm in Carbon County, Wyo., said Wednesday that its wildlife assessment efforts are consistent with avian guidelines for wind power recently issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

An AP article quoted PCW Vice President of Land and Environmental Affairs Garry Miller, who said the firm is doing extensive studies to determine potential impacts of the wind turbines project on birds and other species of wildlife.

"What we’re doing is we are applying best available science and looking at best industry practices," Miller said. "I think, from our standpoint, these guidelines really validate what we’ve done and the work that we’ve undertaken."

The effort includes using sophisticated radar to track bird migration and movements within the proposed project area, he said. For instance, the radar already has shown that the wind turbines will not impede any bird migrations because the birds fly too high over the area, he said.

The USFWS guidelines resulted from a 3 1/2-year process in which wind turbines industry representatives worked with the Service, state wildlife agencies, and wildlife groups (National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Massachusetts Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, and Bat Conservation International) to develop consensus recommendations on protection for migratory birds and other wildlife.

When the guidelines were issued, AWEA CEO Denise Bode commented, “The country needs more wind energy for its American manufacturing and construction jobs, environmental benefits, and national energy security. These guidelines set the highest standard, either voluntary or mandatory, of wildlife protection for any industry. It is our hope that in conjunction with rapid training and sensible implementation, the guidelines will promote improved siting practices and increased wildlife protection that in turn will foster the continued rapid growth of wind energy across the nation.”

Tom Gray,