The US Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a probe on the death of a golden eagle at the Spring Valley Wind Farm, which is near the Utah border. Pattern Energy owns the 152 megawatt wind energy facility that sells power to Las Vegas-based NV Energy. The company turned over the eagle carcass to federal officials within 36 hours of its discovery.
Critics of the newly built Nevada wind farm said that it was placed in the flight path of endangered golden eagles. The company doesn’t have a federal take permit that would allow the incidental death of a golden or bald eagle.
Wind energy projects are not required to get take permits but those that don’t have one are subject to investigation and possible prosecution under federal law. Getting a permit and engaging with the service before accidental deaths of any eagles is the best possible outcome for the companies and wildlife.
It is unfortunate for the eagle to die but it is still amazing to find out that only a single eagle has died in the property considering the size of the wind farm. The facility is on top 7,500 acres and has 66 turbines that stands over 400 feet. The death of the golden eagle is the first incident since the wind farm started operating in August 8, 2012.
Animal deaths can’t be eliminated but Pattern Energy has taken steps to minimize disturbances and damages to nature. In 2010, developers of wind farm spent $500,000 on a study of Rose Cave, which is the home of more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats. The group already anticipated the deaths of 193 bats and 203 birds caused by the wind turbines.