Saturday, June 9, 2007

GAO Report: Impact of Wind Power on Wildlife

Wind Power: Impacts on Wildlife and Government Responsibilities for Regulating Development and Protecting Wildlife

United States Government Accountability Office | September 2005 | GAO-05-906 |

Why GAO Did This Study
Wind power has recently experienced dramatic growth in the United States, with further growth expected. However, several wind power-generating facilities have killed migratory birds and bats, prompting concern from wildlife biologists and others about the species affected, and the cumulative effects on species populations.

GAO assessed (1) what available studies and experts have reported about the impacts of wind power facilities on wildlife in the United States and what can be done to mitigate or prevent such impacts,(2) the roles and responsibilities of government agencies in regulating wind power facilities, and (3) the roles and responsibilities of government agencies in protecting wildlife. GAO reviewed a sample of six states with wind power development for this report.

What GAO Found
The impact of wind power facilities on wildlife varies by region and by species. Specifically, studies show that wind power facilities in northern California and in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have killed large numbers of raptors and bats, respectively. Studies in other parts of the country show comparatively lower levels of mortality, although most facilities have killed at least some birds. However, many wind power facilities in the United States have not been studied, and, therefore, scientists cannot draw definitive conclusions about the threat that wind power poses to wildlife in general. Further, much is still unknown about migratory bird flyways and overall species population levels, making it difficult to determine the cumulative impact that the wind power industry has on wildlife species. Notably, only a few studies exist concerning ways in which to reduce wildlife fatalities at wind power facilities.

Regulating wind power facilities is largely the responsibility of state and local governments. In the six states GAO reviewed, wind power facilities are subject to local- or state-level processes, such as zoning ordinances to permit the construction and operation of wind power facilities. As part of this process, some agencies require environmental assessments before construction. However, regulatory agency officials do not always have experience or expertise to address environmental and wildlife impacts from wind power. The federal government plays a minimal role in approving wind power facilities, only regulating facilities that are on federal lands or have some form of federal involvement, such as receiving federal funds. In these cases, the wind power project must comply with federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as any relevant state and local laws.

Federal and state laws afford generalized protections to wildlife from wind power as with any other activity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)is the primary agency tasked with implementing wildlife protections in the United States. Three federal laws—the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act— generally forbid harm to various species of wildlife. Although significant wildlife mortality events have occurred at wind power facilities, the federal government has not prosecuted any cases against wind power companies under these wildlife laws, preferring instead to encourage companies to take mitigation steps to avoid future harm. All of the six states GAO reviewed had statutes that can be used to protect some wildlife from wind power impacts; however, similar to FWS, no states have taken any prosecutorial actions against wind power facilities where wildlife mortalities have occurred.

What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends that FWS provide state and local regulatory agencies with information on the potential wildlife impacts from wind power and the resources available to help make decisions about where wind power development should be approved. The Department of the Interior agreed with GAO’s recommendation.

Letter ..... 1
Results in Brief ..... 2
Background ..... 5
Studies Show Wind Power Facility Impacts on Wildlife Vary, Although Notable Gaps in the Literature Remain and Few Studies Address Mitigation .... 10
Regulating Wind Power Facilities on Nonfederal Land Is Largely the Responsibility of State and Local Governments ..... 21
Federal and State Laws Protect Wildlife ..... 33
Conclusions ..... 43
Recommendations for Executive Action ..... 44
Agency Comments and Our Evaluation ..... 44

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology ..... 46
Appendix II: Studies of Bird, Bat, and Raptor Fatality Rates, by Region ..... 49
Appendix III: Comments from the Department of the Interior ..... 51
GAO Comments ..... 54
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments ..... 55

Bibliography ..... 56

Table 1: Type of Regulatory Process and Responsible Agency in Select States ..... 22
Table 2: Federal Wildlife Protection Laws ..... 34
Table 3: Studies of Bird, Bat, and Raptor Fatality Rates, by Region ..... 49

Figure 1: Installed Wind Power-Generating Capacity in Megawatts,
by State, as of January 24, 2005 7
Figure 2: Areas of the United States with High Wind Potential 8
Figure 3: Example of Older Generation Wind Turbines in Altamont
Pass, Northern California 12
Figure 4: Example of a Newer Generation Wind Power Facility 13
Figure 5: Wind Power Facility in Sherman County, Oregon 27
Figure 6: Wind Power Facility in Somerset County,Pennsylvania 28
Figure 7: Wind Power Facility in Tucker County, West Virginia 30

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Wind Energy: Proceedings of the Euromech Colloquium

Wind Energy: Proceedings of the Euromech Colloquium
Edited by Joachim Peinke, Peter Schaumann, and Stephan Barth.
Berlin: Springer, 2007

xxxii, 332 p., 199 illus., 2 in colour | Hardcover ISBN 978-3-540-33865-9 | € 106,95

About this book
This book comprises reports on basic research, as well as research related to the practical exploitation and application of wind energy. "Wind Energy" comprehensively describes the atmospheric turbulent wind condition on different time scales, and the interaction of wind turbines with both wind and water flows, which are significant factors to consider for the design, operation and maintenance of wind turbines in offshore conditions. Topics of particular interest include: wind climate and wind field, gusts, extreme events and turbulence, rotor aerodynamics and wake effects, power production and fluctuations, sea states and wave loads, materials (composites, steel, concrete) and fatigue, and structural health monitoring.

Table of contents
Wind Climate & Wind Fields.- Gusts, Extreme Events & Turbulence.- Power Production & Fluctuations.- Roter Aerodynamics.- Wake Effects.- Materials, Fatigue & Structural Health Monitoring.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ACCIONA Wind Turbine Plant in Iowa

ACCIONA Windpower's first wind turbine plant in the US will be operational this year (26/04/2007)

Located in Iowa, the plant represents an investment of 17 million euros and will have a production capacity of 250 turbines in 2008, a figure that is forecast to rise in later years. It will assemble 1.5 MW and 3 MW wind turbines; the larger model is at an advanced stage of development.

Next week ACCIONA Windpower will begin construction work on its first wind turbine plant in the United States; the facility is expected to be operational by the end of the year. It represents an investment of 16.9 million euros and will produce 250 AW-1500 wind turbines in 2008 using in-house technology. The selected site is West Branch, in the State of Iowa. It is the company's fourth wind turbine assembly plant, with another two in Spain and a third in China.

The choice of Iowa is due to its excellent logistical location in relation to a large number of wind power projects of the ACCIONA Group in the United States, and also to factors such as the existence of an industrial supplier base nearby, the support of the State and the city of West Branch for the investment, and the availability of a skilled workforce and technical training centers. Iowa holds third place in wind power capacity in the US after Texas and California.

The facility will cover 10,000 square meters on a 140,000 m2 site and will create over 100 new jobs in West Branch. ACCIONA Windpower is currently working on structuring a network of US suppliers for the plant, which will eventually become part of the overall supply chain of the company.

For the second consecutive year, in 2006 the USA was the country where wind power facilities were implemented at the fastest rate, which has enabled it to take second place from Spain in the world ranking of accumulated wind power capacity. ACCIONA has major projects under way in the US, some of which will be materialized this year.


ACCIONA's West Branch plant will supply wind turbines for wind farms located throughout North America and will provide the company, when it is operating at full capacity, with worldwide production capacity of 1,740 wind turbines for a total of 2,610 MW per year.

The West Branch facility will utilize ACCIONA's proprietary technology to produce its AW-1500 models, with rotor diameters of 77 and 82 meters for tower heights of 80 meters. The plant will also have the capacity to manufacture the company's future 3 megawatt AW-3000 model turbine.


Corporate information
ACCIONA Windpower is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACCIONA EnergĂ­a, the world leader in the renewables sector, with a presence in eight technologies.. In wind power the company has implemented 4,357 MW in 163 windparks located in 10 countries, of which 3,133 MW are owned by the company. It has three biomass plants- one of them a 25 MW straw-fired facility- and 59 MW in small hydro power stations. In solar energy it has installed 29 MW of photovoltaic power, equivalent to 23 MW of thermal power, and is currently building the biggest plant of this type in the world in the last 15 years in the United States. It produces 1,500 kW wind turbines using in-house technology and quality homologated biodiesel, and also bioethanol from wine-surplus alcohol.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wind Power in Power Systems

Wind Power in Power Systems
Editor(s): Thomas Ackermann
Chichester, West Sussex, England ;; Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley, 2005.

Print ISBN: 9780470855089 | Online ISBN: 9780470012680 | US $170.00

As environmental concerns have focussed attention on the generation of electricity from clean and renewable sources, wind energy has become the world’s fastest growing energy source. The authors draw on substantial practical experience to address the technical, economic and safety issues inherent in the exploitation of wind power in a competitive electricity market. Presenting the reader with all the relevant background information key to understanding the integration of wind power into the power systems, this leading edge text:

***Presents an international perspective on integrating a high penetration of wind power into the power system
***Offers broad coverage ranging from basic network interconnection issues to industry deregulation and future concepts for wind turbines and power systems
***Discusses wind turbine technology, industry standards and regulations along with power quality issues
***Considers future concepts to increase the penetration of wind power in power systems
****Presents models for simulating wind turbines in power systems
***Outlines current research activities

Essential reading for power engineers, wind turbine designers, wind project development and wind energy consultants dealing with the integration of wind power systems into distribution and transmission networks, this text would also be of interest to network engineers working for power utility companies dealing with interconnection issues and graduate students and researchers in the field of wind power and power systems.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Authors CVs
List of Nomenclature
Chapter 1 (Was 2): Introduction
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Chapter 2 (Was 3): Historical Development and Current Status of Wind Power,
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Chapter 3 (Was 4): Wind Power in Power Systems: An Introduction, approx.
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Chapter 4 (Was 5): Generators and Power Electronics for Wind Turbines,
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Chapter 5 (Was 6): Power Quality Standards for Wind Turbines,
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Chapter 6 (Was 8): Power Quality Measurements,
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Chapter 7 (Was 7): Technical Regulations for the Interconnection of Wind Farms,
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Chapter 8 (Was 10): Power System Requirements for Wind Power,
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Chapter 9 (Was 9): The Value of Wind Power,
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Chapter 10 (Was 12): Wind Power in the Danish Power System,
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Chapter 11 (Was 11): Wind Power in the German Power System,
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Chapter 12 (Was 17): Wind Power on Weak Grids in California and US Midwest,
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Chapter 13 (Was 15): Wind Power on the Swedish Island of Gotland,
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Chapter 14 (Was 16): Isolated Systems with Wind Power,
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Chapter 15 (Was 18): Wind Farms in Weak Power Networks in India,
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Chapter 16 (Was 14): Practical Experience with Power Quality and Wind Power,
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Chapter 17 (Was 13): Wind Power Forecast for the German and Danish Network,
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Chapter 18 (Was 19): Economic Aspects of Wind Power in Power Systems, approx.
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Chapter 19 (Was 20): Wind Power and Voltage Control
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Chapter 20 (Was 23): Wind Power in Areas with Limited Transmission Capacity,
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Chapter 21 (Was 21): Benefits of Active Management of Distribution Systems,
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Chapter 22 (Was 22): Transmission Systems for Offshore Wind Farms,
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Chapter 23 (Was 25): Hydrogen as a Means of Transporting and Controlling Wind Power, Contact person:
Chapter 24 (Was 26): Introduction to the Modelling of Wind Turbines,
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Chapter 25 (Was 27): Reduced-Order Modelling of Wind Turbines,
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Chapter 26 (Was 28): High-Order Models of Doubly-Fed Induction Generators,
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Chapter 27 (Was 29): Full-scale Verification of Dynamic Wind Turbine Models of Wind Turbines,
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Chapter 28 (Was 30): Impacts of Wind Power on Power System Dynamics,
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Chapter 29 (Was 31): Aggregated Modelling and Transient Voltage Stability of Large Wind Farms,
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Friday, May 25, 2007

Wind Turbines: Fundamentals, Technologies, Application, Economics

Wind Turbines| Fundamentals, Technologies, Application, Economics
Erich Hau
2nd ed., 2006, XVIII, 783 p., 552 illus., Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-540-24240-6 | US 259.00

About This Book
Wind Turbines addresses all those professionally involved in research, development, manufacture and operation of wind turbines. It provides a cross-disciplinary overview of modern wind turbine technology and an orientation in the associated technical, economic and environmental fields. It is based on the author's experience gained over decades designing wind energy converters with a major industrial manufacturer and, more recently, in technical consulting and in the planning of large wind park installations, with special attention to economics. The second edition accounts for the emerging concerns over increasing numbers of installed wind turbines. In particular, an important new chapter has been added which deals with offshore wind utilisation. All advanced chapters have been extensively revised and in some cases considerably extended.

Table of Contents
Windmills and Windwheels.- Electrical Power from the Wind – The First Attempts.- Basic Concepts of Wind Energy Converters.- Physical Principles of Wind Energy Conversion.- Rotor Aerodynamics.- Loads and Structural Stresses.- Rotor Blades.- Mechanical Drive Train and Nacelle.- Electrical System.- Control Systems and Operation Sequence Control.- Vibration Problems.- The Tower.- The Wind Resource.- Power Output and Energy Yield.- Environmental Impact.- Commercial Applications of Wind Turbines.- Offshore Wind Energy Utilisation.- Wind Turbine Installation and Operation.- Wind Turbine Costs.- Wind Turbine Economics.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wind Energy : Fundamentals, Resource Analysis and Economics

Wind Energy: Fundamentals, Resource Analysis and Economics
Sathyajith Mathew, xii, 246 p. 137 illus. With CD-ROM., 2006, Hardcover. US $ 119 | ISBN: 978-3-540-30905-5 |

About this book
The book covers all the major aspects of wind energy conversion technology. In contrast with other publications on this subject, the author gives due emphasis to wind resource analysis and its economic aspects. The subject is treated from its basics and gradually developed to the advanced level. Such a treatment caters the needs of readers with different subject backgrounds. Each section is discussed with illustrative examples and practical problems. Software, based on the analytical techniques discussed in the publication, is provided on an enclosed CD-ROM. An extensive bibliography is appended to each chapter to give further guidance to the readers.

Table of Contents
Introduction.- Basics of wind energy conversion.- Analysis of wind regimes.- Wind energy conversion systems.- Performance of wind energy conversion systems.- Wind energy and environment.- Economics of wind energy.- Appendix.- Index.

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Avian Literature Database

"The Avian Literature Database is a bibliographic database of documents of effects of wind energy development (including towers, power lines, and other wires) on birds."


"The effects of wind energy development on birds include mortality factors such as collision and electrocution, and impacts on nesting, foraging, roosting/loafing, and other bird disturbances.

The database also contains documents on the potential impacts of wind energy development on humans, including visual and noise disturbances.

The database includes documents from journals, periodicals, conference proceedings, government publications, utility company reports, books, and magazines. The database currently contains the abstracts of documents published through 1995. NREL intends to update this database on a regular basis, adding document citations and abstracts as more documents are published. The database is maintained by the National Wind Technology Center ... .

The database is searchable by different parameters, including keywords or phrases, author, publication year, and title."


The basis of the Avian Literature Database is two documents originally compiled by or for the California Energy Commission. One document, Effects of Wind Energy Development: An Annotated Bibliography (P700-96-001CN), was prepared by Susan Orloff and Anne Flannery from Ibis Environmental Services for BioSystems Analysis, Inc. in 1996. The second document, Avian Collision and Electrocution: An Annotated Bibliography (P700-95-001), was prepared by staff at the California Energy Commission and was completed in 1995. These two documents have been aggregated into the database.

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