But much of the review also focused on the High Prairie Wind Farm. This spring, entrepreneurs hired by Ameren to study bird and bat mortality there
endangered Indiana bats and other protected species, including a bald eagle, near the project’s turbines, according to a report by Stantec Consulting Services, a Canadian company. Ameren, which was already slowing its turbines from sunset to sunrise, began on April 19 to shut them down completely at night. Marke, the economist, filed written testimony last month fearing that High Prairie, if it killed too many protected species, would also have to shut down its daytime operations. State experts had warned that the site could encounter problems. “This project is in one of the worst places in Missouri for wind power development from an endangered species perspective,” said Kathryn Womack, resource scientist for the state’s Department of Conservation, in a testimonial submitted in 2018. “Bats will be killed by this project. It’s just a matter of how many and when these deaths will occur.” Some then argued that Ameren should not be allowed to bill customers if the company continued with construction and encountered problems later. “Ameren Missouri could have chosen to acquire wind in a number of locations that did not include the presence of endangered species maternity colonies (e.g. , Indiana bats) and identified raptor nests (bald eagles), “Marke wrote in a 2018 testimony.” The costs associated with this inaction are expected to be borne by Ameren shareholders alone. Misso uri. ”Ameren said he worked closely with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation to plan, build and start High Prairie. The company said it had completed “numerous” wildlife studies, which became the basis for “unanimous agreement to meet local conditions.” Ultimately, all parties involved in High Prairie’s application either approved the project or did not object to its final approval. But things changed once the turbines started spinning. “Once the facility started producing clean energy, we all started to learn new information regarding the behavior of wildlife,” Ameren said in a statement.