Monday, May 07, 2007

Wind farm off Delaware shore?

Bluewater Wind would like to put wind turbines at least 6 nautical miles, or nearly 7 regular miles, offshore for two reasons, a company official says.

"All our ornithologists and . . . all the avian experts tell us" that nearly all migratory bird flyways are much closer to land, and the issue of whether wind turbines can be seen is "almost a nonissue because it's so far out," said Jim Lanard, director of strategic planning and communications.

But David Mizrahi, an avian ecologist and vice president of research for the New Jersey Audubon Society, said, "I'd be a lot more cautious about (the bird issue) than he is."

People who go on boats much farther than 6 miles off New Jersey to see pelagic birds can see them "in very large numbers," said Mizrahi, who often uses radar to study bird and bat movement patterns.

While Europe has numerous offshore wind facilities, none has been built so far in the United States. Proposals are pending for wind farms off Cape Cod, Long Island and Delaware.
A Bluewater Wind official said birds avoid the turbines and cited data from European off-shore wind farms. He said, "They sweep around the wind farm. When they go through it, they go below rotor height or above rotor height . . . but the main behavior is an avoidance behavior. They'll avoid the wind park."

That sounds slightly encouraging. What do you think?


Blogger Patrick Belardo said...

I'd be interested to know what studies have been done on pelagic bird behavior vs. land bird behavior.

May 08, 2007 7:56 AM  

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