Monday, July 25, 2005

Windmill Idling is for the birds

Wintertime, when Californians traditionall use less electricity than normal, is also a convenient time to shut down the State's windmills in order to protect the birds...or so the theory goes.

Windmills in the Altamont Pass near Livermore will be partially shut down this winter to protect birds that have been flying into turbine blades and dying in large numbers.

This is the first time since the wind farm opened 24 years ago that the operation will be curtailed to protect migrating birds and raptors, such as golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and Western burrowing owls.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval to the seasonal shutdown and other measures this month — steps that went beyond what the wind energy industry supported but that didn't completely satisfy environmentalists either.