avian radar

EAGLE KILLED AT PATTERN ENERGY WIND FARM

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Pattern Energy has claimed that a Merlin Avian Radar system at its Ocotillo Express Wind Facility will detect eagles and allow turbines to be shut down to save them from the whirling blades. Avian radar is also proposed at other wind projects proposed in East County.

But now ECM has learned that an eagle was killed at Pattern’s Spring Valley Wind project near Great Basin National Park in Nevada. According to Bureau of Land Management documents, Pattern had claimed in Appendix F, its Avian and Bat Protection Plan, that it planned to install three separate radar systems at the Spring Valley project to prevent deaths of birds and bats, including both Merlin and Vesper technology. 

Pattern did not respond to an ECM request for comment. The death, along with mounting evidence indicating avian radar is failing to protect birds at wind sites, raises serious concerns over the fate of eagles in our region, where three more wind farms are proposed in San Diego’s East County.


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USING RADAR TO CONTROL WIND TURBINES AND REDUCE BIRD KILLS: DOES IT WORK?



By Serena Scaglione and Miriam Raftery

April 22, 2012 (Ocotillo)-One of the major criticisms of wind energy facilities is the deadly impact of the fast-whirling blades on birds.  Most notoriously, thousands of golden eagles have been killed at the Altamont wind farm; however significant numbers of bird deaths have occurred at many other wind facilities.

Now, wind farm developers are touting radar systems similar to those used by the U.S. Air Force and NASA.  In aviation, the technology detects large flocks of incoming birds and is sold to avoid bird collisions with aircraft.  At wind facilities, avian radar in theory offers the potential reduce bird kills by shutting off turbines before birds reach the blades. 

Just how effective these systems are at wind facilities, however, remains debatable.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.