Audubon North Carolina Wind Power Development Position
Audubon North Carolina (ANC) supports the implementation of the North Carolina Energy Policy, especially its emphasis on conservation, efficiency, and development of renewable sources of energy. ANC recognizes that significant wind resources are available for power generation in many parts of North Carolina and supports the development of this clean and renewable form of energy, both at the residential and utility scale.
ANC also recognizes that these technologies are not without their own environmental impacts and consequences. Where possible, these sources of energy should be developed with immediate and cumulative negative impacts to the habitats and flora and fauna of the State of North Carolina kept to a minimum.
Specifically, wind energy projects in the state should adhere to strenuous siting criteria, mitigating the impacts to resident, wintering, and migrating birds and bats, which have been shown to be at risk at certain commercial wind energy sites around the country. These siting decisions should be made following accepted industry and regulatory standards such as those proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in their Interim Guidelines (2004) and the National Wind Coordinating Committee in their guidelines for siting wind projects (1999).
Sites for potential development wind energy development in North Carolina should be studied by qualified biologists with site surveys, literature reviews, and examination of new or existing detailed studies (radar, acoustic, etc) that adequately address bird or bat usage, risk, species of concern present, or other factors that may increase the risk to populations of North Carolina’s bird or bat communities.
ANC also encourages the State of North Carolina to codify these requirements as part of a mandatory North Carolina Environmental Protection Act review of proposed commercial wind development. ANC also supports further research into the effects of wind development on bird and bat populations in the state. Regional studies of bird migration routes, altitudes, and other pertinent questions are also encouraged, especially in regions of high wind resource to assist in the responsible development of that resource.
Approved by the Audubon North Carolina Board of Trustees, 10/16/04
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