Ensuring that Wind Is For the Birds
According to this report from Solar Access
, (9/03/03), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently published in the Federal Register voluntary interim guidelines
to help energy companies avoid and minimize wildlife impacts from wind turbines. These guidelines are intended to help energy companies locate and design wind energy facilities to ensure protection of wildlife resources, while streamlining the site selection and facility design process to avoid unanticipated conflicts after the construction of wind facilities. As the article reports, the USFWS guidelines focus on three key areas: 1) the proper evaluation and selection of potential wind energy development sites; 2) the proper location and design of turbines and associated structures within sites selected for development; and 3) research and monitoring to identify and assess impacts to wildlife. The guidance is intended for land-based wind turbines and wind farms on all Federal, State, and private lands within the United States.
For now, application of the guidelines is voluntary and USFWS has solicited further comments on guideline effectiveness. The guidelines will be evaluated over a two-year period, and then modified as necessary. To view the guidelines or file comments, link here.
At the same time, the article notes that the Department of the Interior ("DOI") has been separately re-evaluating its existing renewable energy programs on its lands under DOI management. It is also assessing current limitations on industry access to Federal lands. These actions are intended to both increase the DOI's use of renewable energy and to assist industry in increasing renewable energy production, in an environmentally friendly manner, on Department-managed lands. Development of wind energy is a significant component of this DOI initiative.