Laurie & Leanne and all,
The south-west Victorian windfarms proposal is going through a formal
environmental impact assessment process, substantially because of the
Orange-bellied Parrot issue. There are other issues as well, such as visual
impact, an issue which loomed fairly large in the decision by VCAT
(Victoria's planning tribunal) a year or two ago to overturn a planning
permit for a windfarm at Cape Bridgewater near Portland. There are a number
of things to be aware of with regard to the implications of windfarm
proposals for birds:
Although the speed of rotation at less than 50 rpm might not sound much, the
blades are very long and the tip speed would be well over 200 km/h. Birds
would generally not be accustomed to dealing with bits of their environment
moving at that sort of speed.
Many birds probably travel at night, at which time visibility is likely to
be an issue.
Some of the Californian windfarms which were implicated in heavy mortalities
of migrating birds, especially birds of prey, were set out in linear arrays,
with lines of closely spaced turbines set at intervals across high valleys
to catch unidirectional winds. This sort of array makes it very hard for
any bird to pass through the windfarm without running the gauntlet, unless
they fly high enough to go right over the top of the tallest turbine's
blades. Because turbines can't be placed too close behind one another,
arrays on sites where wind might come from any direction (such as SW
Victoria) have to be much more open. In other words, different windfarm
proposals can have quite different implications for birds.
The Victorian EES for the windfarm proposals is also serving the assessment
purposes of the Commonwealth EPBC Act. It would be great if lots of
bird-conscious people examine the EES/EIS when it is publicly exhibited and
make submissions based on what is presented in the document.
I'm not actually working on this one, but if anyone wants to pursue more
information about the stage the process is at or wants to make contact with
the people in the Department of infrastructure reponsible for managing the
environmental assessment process, please drop me an email at
and I'll put you in touch.