On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the availability of a special take permit for golden eagles for the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, California, 60 miles east of San Francisco. The first such permit to be issued in the nation to a wind farm, the permit allows up to five golden eagles to be accidently killed, harmed or disturbed over five years in exchange for steps to prevent injuries or deaths to eagles from electrocution by retrofitting power poles and other measures. Absent the permit, such accidents cold draw criminal charges, which discourages private investment in wind farms.
Service Director Daniel Ashe said the permit encourages development of renewable energy while requiring the wind company to take steps to protect eagles from turbines and power lines. The move will help California reach its goal of producing one-third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, he said. “We can’t solve the problem of eagle mortality at wind farms overnight,” Ashe said in a statement. “But this commonsense solution merits the support of all who advocate for the long-term conservation of eagles.”
While this is the first such permit, it has been reported that Federal wildlife officials in California, Nevada and Southern Oregon are working on two more applications for five-year eagle permits and one for 30 years.
The Shiloh IV Wind Project, a subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy, is a 102 megawatt wind farm. Approximately 235 Kenetech 100kW turbines originally installed in 1989 were removed and replaced in 2012 with 50 REpower turbines, each with a rated capacity of 2.05 MW. The power generated is sold to PG&E under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
More information is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/27/2014-14953/golden-eagles-programmatic-take-permit-decision-finding-of-no-significant-impact-of-final#print_view or contact us.