Wind Turbine in Hull, MA. Credit: fdmount
Guidance regarding use of the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee's recommendations.
The Wind FAC Committee spent considerable time and effort developing their recommended scientifically based approach to assessing potential risk to wildlife and their habitats from wind-energy development. The tiered approach set forth in the Committee’s Recommendations is a biologically sound risk assessment approach that includes:
- formulating appropriate questions regarding potential wildlife impacts,
- collecting data in ever increasing detail to answer those questions,
- making risk assumptions based on sufficient data prior to construction of wind facilities,
- using best-management practices during construction, operation, and decommissioning,
- testing assumptions after construction and during wind facility operations, and
- adjusting operations and/or mitigation as needed. The tiered approach is complementary with Strategic Habitat Conservation by looking first at landscapes and then focuses on the most appropriate sites for wind-energy development, with a goal of avoiding and minimizing wildlife impacts.
The Service is aware of industry embracing the Recommendations developed by the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee. It is very encouraging to have industry coming to us voluntarily as they plan future wind-energy projects. We recognize that the Committee's Recommendations to the Secretary are, at this point, just recommendations. Despite the fact the Service cannot advocate for the use of the Recommendations for wind-energy development at this point in time, we recognize that the Recommendations represent a new and comprehensive effort to address the wildlife impacts of wind-energy development. It is of course expected that a wind-energy developer would want to consider using the Recommendations in its assessment of a wind project on the potential impacts to wildlife.
Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines Near Completion
The Service anticipates the finalization of its voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines in early 2012. The Guidelines are designed to provide federal and state agencies, developers, and consultants with a process for planning, operating and monitoring wind energy facilities that minimize impacts to birds, bats and other wildlife. The final Guidelines will incorporate the advice of the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee and comments from the public. The Committee included representatives of federal and state agencies, tribes, wind energy development organizations, and wildlife conservation organizations, and was formed to provide the Service with advice and recommendations on its land-based wind energy guidelines. A Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register to announce when the Guidelines are finalized. The Guidelines will be implemented on a voluntary basis immediately upon publication. Training on the Guidelines is under development and will be available within six months of publication.
January 5, 2012
4/13/10: As announced in today's press release, the Recommendations of the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee have been transmitted to the Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Committee provided advice and recommendations on how to avoid and minimize the impacts of land-based wind farms on wildlife and its habitats.
Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee Recommendations to the Secretary
Wind Turbine Advisory Committee Information
For more information on the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory please contact:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Habitat and Resource Conservation
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Room 840
Arlington, VA 22203