November 9, 2004

Cape Wind and the bats

The Army Corps of Engineers has released its 4,000-page report on the impacts of the 24-square-mile 130-tower Cape Wind facility proposed for Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod. Unsurprisingly, they think it'll be fine. For example, although migrating red bats traverse Nantucket Sound, they have determined that there is only "limited collision risk for migratory bats." Meanwhile, study continues at the 44-tower Backbone Mountain facility in West Virginia because a preliminary study last year found that over 400 bats were killed in a mere 2 months. FPL Energy's own in-house environmentalist says that the number was probably more like 2,000 since searches for carcasses were done only weekly, giving scavengers plenty of time to find them first.

He is also curious about what attracts bats to wind turbines, which many people have noticed. Is it the insects attracted by the lights, subaural vibrations, curiosity, or something else? Bat Conservation International has reported bats being killed by turbines where bats were never known to fly before.

If this one issue is an example, it is obvious that the Cape Wind report is deeply flawed if not downright disingenuous.