Duke Energy to pay USD 1m in fines for eagle deaths in Wyoming
Nov 25, 2013 - The renewables arm of US utility Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) will pay USD 1 million (EUR 739,000) in federal fines and restitution as part of a settlement agreement related to migratory bird deaths at the firm’s Wyoming wind farms.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) in the US took Duke Energy Renewables to court with misdemeanor charges due to the death of 14 golden eagles for the past three years at the 200-MW Top of the World and the 99-MW Campbell Hill wind farms. The birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
Now that the case has been concluded, the fines and restitution levied against the company will go to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Conservation Fund.
Duke Energy Renewables’ president Greg Wolf explained in a statement on Friday that the company had taken a number of measures, such as new radar technology and turbine curtailment programmes, in order to prevent future accidents. According to environmental development head Tim Hayes the voluntary monitoring and curtailment of turbines are really effective. “Upon implementing these measures, more than a year passed without any known golden eagle fatalities at these sites,” Hayes said.
Duke Energy Renewables will further assess possible avian deterrents and introduce additional conservation measures to minimise the risk of any future avian mortalities from its Wyoming wind farms, it said.