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STATE ENERGY COMMISSION RELEASES LARGEST STUDY EVER ON THE EFFECTS OF WIND TURBINES ON BIRDS OF PREY

 STATE ENERGY COMMISSION RELEASES LARGEST STUDY EVER ON
 THE EFFECTS OF WIND TURBINES ON BIRDS OF PREY
 SACRAMENTO, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Energy Commission today released findings from the most comprehensive study ever conducted in the nation to investigate deaths of several species of birds, including federally protected golden eagles, near wind turbines in the Altamont Pass.
 Results of the study, contained in a new Energy Commission report, entitled Wind Turbine Effects on Avian Activity, Habitat Use and Mortality, examines data compiled during 1989-1991 from the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and another wind resource area under development in Solano County. The Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area is the largest wind turbine development in the world.
 The report recommends several experimental actions to further investigate contributing factors to turbine-related mortalities and the effectiveness of turbine and habitat alterations that could potentially reduce deaths of raptors (eagles, hawks, owls and vultures). These recommendations include:
 -- Painting wind turbine blades to make them more visible to the raptors
 -- Developing effective noise-producing devices activated intermittently or at the approach of a bird, that will cause the bird to change its flight path to avoid the distracting noise
 -- Removing raptor food sources from the vicinity of turbines to reduce foraging activity of birds
 California's new state Energy Plan, prepared by the Energy Commission and endorsed by Gov. Pete Wilson in October 1991, advocates energy diversity and the increased use of wind energy generation and other renewable energy resources to offset the state's dependence on conventional energy resources, such as fossil fuels.
 "While wind turbines are considered a valuable technology for generating electricity, this study reveals that the loss of raptors, some of which are protected by federal law, is an issue of concern in the Altamont Wind Resource Area," said Charles R. Imbrecht, state Energy Commission chairman. "The Energy Commission will be working closely with the wind energy industry and other local, state and federal agencies to solve this problem."
 Of the 182 birds found dead in the study's sample sites comprising 13-square-miles in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, 119 (65 percent) were raptors. Of all birds found dead, 55 percent are attributed to collisions with moving wind turbines, 11 percent to collision with electrical wires, 8 percent by electrocution, and 26 percent to unknown causes. Sixteen federally protected golden eagles were found dead on the sample sites during the two-year study.
 The report estimates that as many as 567 raptors may have been killed in the entire 80-square-mile Altamont Pass wind resource areas during the study period, and an average of 39 eagles may have been killed each year.
 "The information provided in this report will enable government agencies and those developing and operating wind power plants throughout California and the United States to effectively reduce the avian impacts that apparently result from this clean source of energy," Imbrecht said.
 Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties sponsored the two-year study that was funded by the California Energy Commission and conducted by Bio Systems Analysis Inc.
 Copies of the report (Publication number 700-92-001) can be obtained by contacting the California Energy Commission, Publications Office, 1516 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814, phone 916-654-5200.
 -0- 5/4/92
 /CONTACT: Claudia Barker of the California Energy Commission, 916-654-4989/ CO: California Energy Commission ST: California IN: OIL SU:


RM -- SF004 -- 6092 05/04/92 13:32 EDT
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Date:May 4, 1992
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