Maybe I’m just slow to catch on to how eagles behave, how wind farms are set up, and how hard eagles work to stay out of the way of said turbines.
While I struggle to get myself educated, I found some bemusement (confused, bewildered) in a report from Bismarck Tribune as the PSC hears facts of Hettinger-area wind project.
Last week I mentioned Adams county approved zoning for a 75 tower wind farm. See Slice-and-dice farm approved in North Dakota.
The Public Service Commission still needs to approve the plan. At the hearing a few things were mentioned.
There is a golden eagle nest in the area where the farm will be constructed. The developer has a two-mile setback from the nest. As long as the eagles and their babies don’t fly more than 10,000 feet from their nest, they won’t be in danger. A 12.5 square mile area is plenty of room to hunt, right?
Of course, if any of the eagles decide to range further while looking for food, they might end up in this casualty count:
Other minor issues are that the wind farm doesn’t have any contracts with anyone to buy any of the electricity they will generate, according to the article. Without long-term contracts, I think that means they will be selling on the spot market. The PSC might check to see what that does to the financial forecasts of the slice-and-dice operation.
Also, the developer didn’t make any token payments to the residents in the area who have to put up with the impaired viewshed (cool, a new word for me), noise, and flickering shadows. That is a zero-cost externality.
The towers will be in the airspace of a planned expansion of the Hettinger airport. But the article says the developer will just get a waiver from the FAA.