Innovative wind towers won't harm eagles
Wind farms killed about 573,000 birds in the United States last year, according to the Wildlife Society. Since 2008, there were more than 67 bald and golden eagles killed by wind turbines in the U.S., which does not include more than 60 eagles killed annually in California’s Altamont Pass, according to National Audubon Society.
To eliminate the risk for harming eagles or any wildlife there is now a new wind system called INVELOX –patented by SheerWind Inc. – that takes the spinning blades of a turbine out of the sky and puts them safely at or below ground level.
Not only does it eliminate the immediate issue of birds flying into the blades, it also puts an end to the issues from low frequency airborne vibration from the large turbine blades that have a negative influence on humans, wildlife, and livestock.
“This technology with no rotating blades at the top of a tower, will not harm eagles or any feathered friends," says Cyndi Lesher, SheerWind's executive VP and chief administrative officer and former president and CEO, NSP an Excel Energy Co. “By concentrating and accelerating wind, we create a similar effect to the natural wind corridors used by traditional wind towers.
“We can also install in low wind conditions, and close to human populations – safely out of the range of eagle flight patterns and nesting sites. With careful design and planning, who knows, the eagles may find an INVELOX tower the perfect place to build a new nest.”
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INVELOX technology has been reviewed and validated by a technical advisory board, a team of experts from major research universities and agencies. Prototypes were tested under controlled laboratory conditions, and test results were used to build and validate full-scale computational fluid dynamic models. Field data collected to date has validated results.
The technology requires no subsidies, is price competitive with traditional energy, and has far less environmental impact than turbine-topped towers.
“This is just the beginning,” says Lesher. “INVELOX is a deep rethinking of wind harvesting and will change the course of power generation.”
In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a permitting program under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act applicable to developers of renewable energy projects and other activities that may “take” (injure, kill or otherwise disturb) bald and golden eagles. The Eagle Act allows the Service to authorize the programmatic take of eagles, which is take associated with, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity and does not have a long-term impact on the population.
These permits have been for a maximum of five years – a period that does not reflect the actual operating parameters of most renewable energy projects or other similar long term project operations. The recently revised rule, a result of extensive stakeholder engagement and public comment, extends the maximum permit tenure to 30 years, subject to a recurring five-year review process throughout the permit life.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.