The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) confirmed the death of a golden eagle at Pattern Energy's 151.8 MW Spring Valley wind farm, located in Ely, Nev.
The golden eagle, which is federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, is the second of its kind to be killed at the Pattern wind farm since it began operating in August 2012. Now, environmental groups, which filed earlier suits to block the building of the Las Vegas-area wind farm, will likely urge the FWS to take enforcement action.
While the federal agency had not yet determined a course of action, FWS spokesperson Dan Balduini told the Associated Press, ‘We're aware of it.’
When contacted by NAW, Pattern Energy maintains it properly followed avian protocols.
‘Under our original permit with the FWS, it was expected there may be golden eagle fatalities, and the project implemented mitigation measures, including power pole retrofits, to account for this,’ explains Rene Braud, Pattern Energy's director of environmental compliance and policy.
‘Last year, we applied for an eagle take permit with the FWS. It is unfortunate when any eagle is lost, and we will continue our efforts to reduce the project's impact. We would note that this is the second [fatality] over a period of three years of operations, while we have provided clean power to more than 45,000 homes each year with zero emissions. We also believe that other energy facilities and industries result in far more bird fatalities than wind projects.’