2-15-10: Bats<Wind Turbines

February 15, 2010 at 7:57 am 4 comments

Recently in West Virginia a deal was reached that would allow a wind farm to continue construction in a way that would not harm some of our flying friends indigenous to the area. It’s not birds that have been having problems with wind turbines, it’s bats. The agreement in West Virginia could impact how and where wind farms are built in Maryland. Already one installation in Maryland was halted last year to allow for an investigation into the environmental impact of the turbines . Genevieve Wright, a research at the University of Maryland’s Bat Lab, knows all about this problem. Nathan talks to Wright.

Entry filed under: On Air, Policy, Science, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wayne H Thomas  |  February 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    How do I contact Geneieve Wright?

  • 3. Dan Boone  |  February 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Great topic – so glad you gave it some airtime!
    However, many of Sterner’s ad-libbed facts were a bit off.
    For example, shutting down the WV windplant to protect endangered Indiana Bats allows unrestricted operation during 5 entire months of the year when they are hibernating (not 3 months). Plus, the wind turbines can operate during the daytime for the remaining 7 months – which nets an equivalent of nearly 4 full months of allowable operation time. Thus, contrary to Sterner’s claim that there would be only 3 months of operation time when wind turbines could be operated optimally to protect bats, in actuality they would be allowed unrestricted operation for 9 months.
    In addition, as one of many “opponents” of wind energy development along forested Appalachian ridgetops, I resent his insinuation that my long-standing concern over the threat posed by wind turbines to bats and other wildlife is merely a ruse – since he apparently believes (and publicly insinuated in this piece) that my real motivation is aesthetic impact – due to threat to visual landscape. I was disappointed at Sterner’s injection of personal bias at the very end of this otherwise interesting and timely story.
    Hope you will air a story about the pending loss of the only nesting habitat for the State-endangered Mourning Warbler due to the Synergics wind project in western MD. Or about a related violation of the State Endangered Species Law by the Governor – who intends to provide public funds to Synergics by forcing University of MD and other State agencies to purchase electricity from this company’s planned windplant in Garrett County.

    • 4. mdmorn  |  February 22, 2010 at 10:41 am

      From Nathan:

      I wouldn’t say that “many” of my facts were wrong. On the topic of the operational plan for wind turbines, yes.

      Walking into the studio that morning, I didn’t know the details of the restricted/unrestricted operation plan for the WV wind farm… I just knew that the plan existed, and was counting on the guest to flesh that issue out. The guest didn’t appear to know anything about it, and my ad-libbed guesses as to the details of the plan were indeed incorrect. For that, I apologize. On reflection, those 15 seconds of the interview should have been excised.

      On the second point, I said “a lot of the opposition” involves the way that these things look. That’s certainly what all coverage I’ve read has said – and it’s pretty much the only real point of opposition to wind farms in my home county in PA, where they’re also being considered. People there have told me they’re playing up the environmental card, when they really care about aesthetics.

      HOWEVER – I didn’t mean to be dismissive of any fears about the environmental and ecological impact of wind farms. My “bias” is that those concerns should be addressed – indeed, that’s one of the reasons we did this story.


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