Displacement

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Displacement is poorly studied compared to the other types of impacts associated with wind energy projects. Although some limited data have been obtained at wind energy facilities, most of the concerns and predicted impacts have been based on data from analogous, non-wind developments such as roads and power plants. Displacement effects are species-specific; some species do not appear to be affected, while others are. Spatial displacement can occur when certain grassland and possibly shrub steppe species avoid areas around turbines for breeding, which can result in potentially significant population decline.

A concern of the FWS is displacement of prairie and shrub-steppe grouse due to grouse avoidance of tall structures (such as wind turbines). This issue was addressed in the FWS' 2003 Interim Guidance on Avoiding and Minimizing Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines (Interim Guidelines), and discussion of this issue is continuing with presentations at NWCC Research Results meetings. The FWS has established a Federal Advisory Committee (slated to meet in the spring of 2008) to revise the 2003 interim guidelines, and the grouse displacement issue will be addressed in detail. The NWCC, with funding from a variety of public and private sources, commissioned a 4-year, comprehensive study of the effect of wind energy development on greater prairie chickens by Kansas State University in 2006.

Until displacement effects are better understood, early coordination with state and federal agencies regarding prairie and shrub-steppe grouse is recommended for those wind energy facility sites in which year-round or important seasonal habitat for grouse are present.

Studies are underway to investigate the impact from displacement on grassland birds in the Dakotas by the Northern Prairie Research Center, and on greater prairie chickens in Kansas by Kansas State University. Pre-construction breeding grassland surveys were initiated by the National Biological Survey, now a part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in 2005, in collaboration with the NWCC to develop a grassland bird survey protocol (then click on songbird protocol).

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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