Despite reports that wind turbines could be threatening rare wildlife, the Bear Mountain Wind Park will not be putting any additional safety measures in place to protect them.
The turbines killed 53 brown myotis bats and 18 northern myotis bats, according to assessments done in 2010.
Those species have been recommended to be classified as endangered by the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. However, the decision still awaits consideration by the federal government.
However, until then the species is not endangered, said Neil Mackie, the spokesperson for Alta Gas, and not changes will be made.
“I don’t ever want to imply by any measure that we are happy to kill bats, whether they’re endangered or not. It’s unfortunate when it happens – period,” said Mackie.
“I don’t want to imply that because they aren’t technically endangered that we are indifferent to that, because that’s absolutely not true.”
The amount of bats and birds being killed by the Bear Mountain Wind Park is considerably lower than the North American average killed every year by wind turbines, according to AltaGas.
“One of the things we are relatively satisfied with is we are at a third down the line of the North American average in bird and bat fatalities,” said Mackie.
Mackie said the company does its own monitoring and presents that information to the government.
“We followed through on all our commitments with the government and we have said that we would monitor and provide accurate information, and we’ve done everything we’ve been required to do by the government, and we will continue to do that.”
He explained further that the average for bat fatalities per year is 13.37, Bear Mountain average is 3.02 bats per turbine, according to Mackie.
Environmental consultants for AltaGas said that turbine impact at the park is low.
“The numbers we are seeing are below the numbers we had suggested in our environmental application, and they’re lower than what the government was expecting,” according to Mackie.
He confirmed that if the problem gets worse AltaGas would look at determining what to do about it.
“We monitor and do pay attention to potential mitigation procedures. If we are able to come up with new mitigation procedures we’ll certainly look at putting them in, and of course we try to exceed all government regulations.”