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For Release: IMMEDIATE						      
Contact: Maureen Wren
Thursday, January 24, 2008							
          (518) 402-8000

Assessments Will Provide Better Understanding About Bird and Bat

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today
proposed guidelines to assist commercial wind energy developers assess
the potential impacts turbines may have on birds and bats. Developed in
consultation with energy officials, wildlife advocates and other
stakeholders, the guidelines are intended to continue the state’s
effort to promote wind power as a renewable energy resource while
minimizing the potential impacts to birds and bats.

"Wind energy development is an important component of Governor Eliot
Spitzer’s clean renewable energy initiative in New York," DEC
Commissioner Pete Grannis said. "As proposals for commercial wind energy
ventures continue to increase across the state, these draft guidelines
will provide a valuable tool for those evaluating a project, as well as
for our staff charged with protecting the state’s critical bird and
bat populations."

In addition to Governor Spitzer’s clean energy strategy that will
reduce electricity consumption by 15 percent below the forecasted level
in 2015, New York is working towards achieving a Renewable Portfolio
Standard whereby the state must meet a goal of 25 percent renewable
energy generation by 2013.

Currently, six wind farms are operating with a rated capacity of 423 mw
from 263 turbines in Madison, Wyoming, Lewis and Erie counties.  Five
other wind farms that are under construction in Clinton, Wyoming and
Steuben counties will provide an additional 405 mw from 238 turbines
when completed sometime in the summer of 2008.  More than 30 additional
wind farm siting proposals are actively undergoing environmental review.

As construction of wind turbines increases, there is also the increased
potential for birds and bats to collide with the towers and rotating
blades.  The presence of spinning turbines may also induce behavioral
changes in nesting or migrating birds, and in foraging bats.  During the
environmental review process, wind energy proposals must include
assessments of the impacts the project could have on wildlife -
especially birds and bats - and other natural resources. These
assessments have been completed on a case-by-case basis. 

The proposed guidelines provide a standardized process for completing
assessments, which both benefits project applicants and improves the
quality of the information obtained about bird and bat populations. 

The new guidelines outline DEC’s recommendations to commercial wind
energy developers on how to characterize bird and bat resources at wind
energy sites and how to document and estimate bird and bat mortality
resulting from collisions with turbines.  The protocols in the
guidelines are intended to allow comparison of data collected at
different sites and in different years so that the information can be
used to assess the ecological effects of wind energy generation.
Protocols for both pre-construction studies and post-construction
monitoring are included in the proposed guidelines. 

DEC began development of the draft guidelines announced today after
collaborating with the New York State Energy Research and Development
Authority (NYSERDA) and other stakeholders at a New York Wind/Wildlife
Technical Workshop sponsored by NYSERDA in August 2006. Workshop
participants presented information on bird and bat impacts at existing
wind farms as well as various study methods and sampling technologies.
Since the workshop, DEC has met with individual wind energy developers
to discuss recommendations for pre-construction studies and
post-construction monitoring at specific locations.  Information
presented at the workshop and the shared experiences provided by the
developers have been incorporated into the proposed guidelines.

The proposed guidelines are available for review at
http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/40899.html on the DEC website. Public
comments can be submitted until March 7, 2008.  Comments can be mailed
to Brianna Gary at NYSDEC Bureau of Habitat, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor,
Albany, NY 12233-4756 or sent via email directly from the website.


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