California energy company does right thing for birds and abandons plans for wind farm

Pattern Energy Group will not build 2000 acre wind farm near Sacramento-

Plans for a 2000 acre (3 1/2 square mile) wind farm NW of Sacramento have been scrapped because of its probable bad effects on the local bird population.  The wind farm, which would capture enough energy for 100 megawatts of electricity had not stirred much controversy, but according to a story in the Sacramento Bee, the CEO said the project was shelved anyway because of potential impacts on the local bird population.

Wind farms have frequently been opposed because of predicted and actual effects on birds, and also, especially bats. Bat often explode in the low pressure on backside of the blades. New designs that have less impact on birds are being developed.  Location is also very important. Environmental benefits of non-polluting energy can be wiped out if favorable wind conditions for power generation are the only criterion considered.

The shape of the turbine and even its color make a big difference. Some colors attract insects and, as a result, birds and bats. It turns out light purple may attract the fewest insects and the common white of light gray the most (so are the worst).



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  1. Nancy Avatar

    Nice to see a corporation putting the welfare of wildlife above profit.

  2. Ken Cole Avatar

    As a cynic I am starting to believe that many of these proposed projects are just a way to get the projects through that they really want. In-other-words, they propose four of them knowing that if they get rid of one or more they will get the others because they know that people will react well when they decide to drop the worst projects as they did here.

    1. aves Avatar

      I think your suspicions are well founded. Especially with the USFWS offering only recommendations and voluntary guidelines instead of actual rules to minimize the impact on wildlife. It is a huge threat to whooping cranes with a network of turbines proposed along the migration route of the Wood Buffalo-Aransas flock:

  3. Nancy Avatar


    +Dallas said the proposed wind farm has received appropriate permits but does not have a contract to sell power to any of the local utilities.
    Such contracts are crucial to getting renewable projects off the ground+

    I was trying to be optimistic about their “official” reasoning behind the decision but that obvious fact did stand out in the article.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    A related article and an interesting site to wander around in:

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The link above is interesting, casting a very negative light on wind power, especially subsidized wind power.

      The facts are damming, but they probably need to be checked.

      I do see the site has a strong preference for libertarian Ron Paul, who sees all things government as bad. The article also blames the “failure” of wind power on “global warming hysteria.” Of course this is a very contentious issue. but most scientists don’t think it is a myth or that the weak responses of governments and businesses so far is hysterical.

      Our view of wind power in this forum has generally been that the big defect in its deployment has been reliance on the same old centralized production model as oil, coal, and nuclear, with long distance transmission lines, a big corporate (or perhaps best “bureaucratic”) system that is excessively disruptive to wildlife and the environment. The system created is also insecure (subject to large scale failure due to natural disaster or sabotage), and inefficient (excessive loss of energy). Finally, large systems of this kind are almost always hostile to democracy.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Would appear we here in the US are not the only ones tossing the subject of wind turbines around:

        The comments below the article are also interesting and be sure and check out the other forums (China & world) Kind of an eye opener…….

      2. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        The iffeciencies alone are enough to make most of these projects a complete waste. Big wind/solar farms aren’t about “green energy” anymore, they are mostly about greed. Pigs at the trough of taxpayer money…..

  5. Leslie Avatar

    sacramento is in the pacific flyway. Good news


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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