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Terra-Gen to install bird monitoring at Alta Wind Energy Centre

UNITED STATES: Terra-Gen Power has been instructed to install a monitoring system to protect rare condors in order to expand its Alta Wind Energy Centre in California.

Terra-Gen's Alta Wind Energy Centre in California
Terra-Gen's Alta Wind Energy Centre in California

In California, Kern County supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the 318MW Alta East. Currently the cluster has a combined capacity of 1.3GW and will eventually go to 3GW.

As a condition of the expansion, developer Terra-Gen Power must install a special VHF monitoring system. It will detect signals from radio transmitters worn by some of the condors even from 16 miles (27 kilometres) away.

Turbines would then be shut down selectively if the condors come closer. The birds have not yet been seen at the project site, but they may move into the area in the future, said officials.

Only about half of California condors wear transmitters. As a result, county planning director Lorelei Oviatt said, the project remains a significant threat to the birds.

The Avalon project, approved in December, was the first to be required to use the warning system

Condors, narrowly saved from extinction, are expanding their foraging territory into the Mojave desert.

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