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  • richard s. cimino
    Audubon Society Chapters, California Attorney General and Wind Companies Reach Agreement on Altamont Pass Old wind turbines to be replaced with new turbines
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2010
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      Audubon Society Chapters, California Attorney General and Wind Companies
      Reach Agreement on Altamont Pass
      Old wind turbines to be replaced with new turbines that are safer for birds
      (Berkeley, California, December 6, 2010) In cooperation with the
      California Attorney General's Office, five
      Bay Area Audubon Society chapters and Californians for Renewable Energy
      (CaRE) have reached an agreement
      with wind energy operators owned by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, to
      expedite the replacement of old wind
      turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area with new, larger wind
      turbines that are less likely to harm
      birds.
      Golden Gate Audubon, Santa Clara Valley Audubon, Mt. Diablo Audubon,
      Ohlone Audubon, and Marin
      Audubon joined the Attorney General's Office in negotiating an agreement
      that addresses the state's need for
      renewable wind energy and the state's obligation to protect resident and
      migratory birds.
      "Our agreement sets an aggressive schedule for removing the
      old-generation turbines and replacing them with
      new-generation turbines that should substantially reduce impacts to
      birds," said Michael Lynes, Conservation
      Director with the Golden Gate Audubon Society. "According to experts
      studying the Altamont Pass, the
      removal of the old turbines and replacement with properly-sited turbines
      may reduce impacts to birds by as
      much as 80%."
      Altamont Pass was heavily developed for wind power generation in the
      late 1970s and early 1980s, eventually
      including more than 5800 turbines covering a 56 mi2 area in eastern
      Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. These
      lands at one time provided ample habitat for birds and still serves as
      an important migratory corridor for Golden
      Eagles and other raptors. For much of the last decade, the Bay Area
      Audubon chapters and the operating wind
      companies have struggled to agree on ways to reduce impacts to birds,
      bats and other wildlife while fostering
      the environmental and economic benefits of wind energy generation in the
      Altamont Pass.
      The new agreement reflects the consensus of the Alameda County
      Scientific Review Committee that the only
      way to significantly reduce impacts to birds and keep wind energy
      generation in Altamont Pass is to remove the
      old-generation wind turbines and replace them with better sited,
      new-generation models. And, regardless of
      whether the NextEra Energy Resources companies replace all of their
      turbines on this expedited schedule, they
      have committed to ceasing all operations of their old turbines by the
      end of 2015, three years before they are
      required to do so under their current permits.
      "This agreement addresses the problem arising throughout the state:
      balancing the need for renewable energy
      generation with subsequent impacts to wildlife," said Bob Power,
      Executive Director of the Santa Clara Valley
      Audubon Society. "We appreciate NextEra leading the way in the Altamont
      Pass to remove the old turbines and
      properly install new ones that should significantly reduce risks to
      birds. We are also mindful that impacts to
      wildlife will continue and the Audubon chapters will remain engaged in
      conservation planning and advocacy on
      behalf of birds and other wildlife in the Altamont Pass and throughout
      the Bay Area."
      Golden Gate Audubon Society, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Marin
      Audubon Society, Mt. Diablo
      Audubon Society, and Ohlone Audubon Society are independent nonprofit
      organizations dedicated to protecting
      birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitats. They conserve and
      restore wildlife habitats, connect people of all
      ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay
      Area residents in the protection of
      our shared, local environment.
      Contact: Mike Lynes, Conservation Director, Golden Gate Audubon Society,
      510-843-6551,
      mlynes@...


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