Enviro-Spin Unravels: Eagle ‘Saving’ Technology Just Another Wind Industry Lie

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Lucky survivor: Craig Webb with Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle rescued post turbine collision.

The wind industry has just been caught out lying about a technology that was meant to prevent Eagles being slaughtered by their turbine blades. Cars, cats and skyscrapers don’t kill Eagles, but 60-80 m wind turbine blades with their tips travelling at 350 Kph routinely smash them out of existence.

The rampant slaughter of millions of birds and bats – includes rare, endangered and majestic species, like America’s iconic bald and golden eagles, and Tasmania’s extremely rare wedge-tailed Eagle.

Faced with outrage from real environmentalists, to date, the default response from the wind industry is to lie like fury and – when the corpses can no longer be hidden and the lying fails – to issue court proceedings to literally bury those facts (see our post here).

However, a couple of years back its spin doctors began seeding the narrative with the claim that the industry had developed a new, whizbang technology – IdentiFlight – that would prevent so much as a feather from being ruffled, by shutting off turbines as eagles, hawks and kites etc approached them.

Well, surprise, surprise, it turns out that the IdentiFlight system is yet another cynical ploy by the wind industry to placate those concerned about the fate of our apex avian predators, by pretending to actually care about the critters it’s been killing, en masse, for decades now. Matthew Denholm has this report on how the wind industry’s latest enviro-spin effort has unravelled, with a mounting pile of rare and endangered wedge-tailed Eagle carcasses to prove it.

‘Cutting-edge’ Tasmanian wind farm still a wedge-tailed eagle killer
The Australian
Matthew Denholm
17 August 2023

A wind farm with so-called “industry-leading” bird avoidance technology has killed at least eight endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles, prompting calls for an urgent moratorium on new turbines in eagle zones.

Cattle Hill Wind Farm in Tasmania’s Central Highlands uses IdentiFlight camera technology – which it describes as a “cutting-edge avian detection system” – to stop the wind turbines when birds approach.

However, the system – which is spruiked by the industry and regulators as the foremost solution to wind turbine bird deaths – has failed to prevent the deaths of at least eight eagles in less than four years.

The Australian understands that figure – confirmed by Tasmania’s Environment Protection Authority – includes five eagle deaths in the past 12 months.

“We should be very concerned about this because what we’re looking at here is the start of a planned huge industry,” said eagle expert and wildlife biologist Nick Mooney.

“Everybody has ignored rule 101. That is, if you’re worried about eagles, don’t put wind farms where there’s lots of eagles, and the overseas (scientific) literature stresses that.”

He was aware of 61 wedge-tailed eagles and five white-bellied sea-eagles being found dead or incapacitated during periods of formal mortality monitoring at Tasmania’s existing wind farms.

This was likely the tip of an iceberg, with some wind farms no longer required to monitor for bird deaths and formal monitoring restricted to areas under ­turbines, missing birds that die further afield after being struck.

He was aware of another nine large-scale wind farms proposed for Tasmania, which was concerning given that cumulative impacts of multiple wind farms was still not factored into federal environmental approvals.

Cattle Hill Wind Farm confirmed the deaths. It said its modelling had predicted its turbines would kill 14 eagles after four years and this was allowed under its permit conditions.

Mr Mooney said the system’s shortcomings and any solution should be independently verified.

He said he believed several turbines at Cattle Hill may need to be shut down in the interim, and the massive industry expansion in eagle density areas put on hold until an effective bird avoidance system was developed.

The wedge-tailed eagle recovery plan was due to be updated in 2010, but a promised revamp was yet to materialise, despite the proliferation of wind farms since.
The Australian

Kym Dixon with a not-so-lucky wedge-tailed Eagle, Waterloo SA.