Wind turbines versus wildlife

In our quest to find greener sources of energy, what at first seems like a good idea leads to some not-so-green unintended consequences. Such is the case with wind turbines and wind farms.

In an article in The Spectator (a British publication, not the American Spectator), zoologist Clive Hambler notes:

“Wind turbines only last for ‘half as long as previously thought’, according to a new study. But even in their short life spans, those turbines can do a lot of damage. Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. Most environmentalists just don’t want to know. Because they’re so desperate to believe in renewable energy, they’re in a state of denial. But the evidence suggests that, this century at least, renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change.”

“Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds. This breaks down as approximately 110–330 birds per turbine per year and 200–670 bats per year. And these figures may be conservative if you compare them to statistics published in December 2002 by the California Energy Commission: ‘In a summary of avian impacts at wind turbines by Benner et al (1993) bird deaths per turbine per year were as high as 309 in Germany and 895 in Sweden.’”

This danger to birds and bats is not confined to Europe. An article in the Washington Times by Paul Driessen notes:

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and American Bird Conservancy say wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese and other birds every year in the United States, along with countless insect-eating bats.

“New studies reveal that these appalling estimates are frightfully low and based on misleading or even fraudulent data. The horrific reality is that in the United States alone, “eco-friendly” wind turbines kill an estimated 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year.”

In the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations, it seems crony capitalism triumphed over good sense. Lobbying by the wind industry saved its subsidy, the Production Tax Credit, which was set to expire at the end of 2012. The “cliff” deal now extends that subsidy through 2013 thus costing American taxpayers $12 billion, and encouraging use of a very expensive, very unreliable, and to wildlife, a very lethal form of “green” energy production.

See also:

(human) Health Hazards of Wind Turbines

Electricity generated by wind power may raise temperatures and costs

Wind farms raise local and regional temperatures

Thorium, another alternative energy choice

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4 comments

  1. No. The traditional “windmill” design on an industrial scale is probably bad for flying animals — but doesn’t seem like anyone to this point simply bothered to think that “industrial grade” equipment is usually devastaing wehn scaled up.

    Hell – we can apply this same logic to Solar Panel arrays — various animals – flying or otherwise could get messed up (burnt or blinded by interacting with them.

    Cell Towers throw off obscene amounts of radiation – been killing aminals since before wind farms came along.

    Oil form spills has been killing animals for decades.

    There are already wind generators designed to minimize impact that are simply not being readily used – because it always comes down to $$$$.

    [rhetorical]
    ‘If we buy windmill A – it will generate X power which will save us Y dollars and make us a larger profit in the short term because it moves more wind per revolution than windmill B – even thought the cost and profit will balance out after 10 years’

    And money will always win out over the environment until the mass mentality changes on a drastic scale.

    ON THE OTHER HAND — species have been dying out for millions and millions of years before humans ever bothered propogating this planet. It will still continue to happen despite our actions or inaction.

    (except those that still believe the earth was created in 6 days and all life that exists now has always existed – you folks are SOL)

  2. Unanticipated Consequences. The CO2 emitting coal fired power plants are
    a direct result of hippy/environmentalists of the 60-70’s era. Their efforts killed nuclear, coal became
    king, global climate change. Unanticipated
    Consequences.

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