Wind turbines, birds and endangered species

With all of the gang green’s hoopla about wind power being one of the energy sources of the future, there is one teensy, weensy little snag that will probably end up doing the entire scheme in: endangered species. An article published in Live Science back in May gives a look at evidence for a potential lawsuit.

The article states:

Wind turbines kill more than 573,000 birds each year in the United States, according to The Associated Press, including federally protected species like bald eagles and golden eagles.

It goes on to say:

Even bats are falling victim to wind-turbine blades: The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates that more than 10,000 bats are killed in the state each year by wind turbines, the Wall Street Journal reports.

It gets better:

Though it can appear as though they’re turning at a slow, almost relaxed pace, wind-turbine blades actually move very rapidly: The outer tips of some turbines’ blades can reach speeds of 179 mph (288 kilometers per hour) and can easily slice off an eagle’s wing.

And when hawks, falcons and eagles are flying, they’re usually looking down at the ground for prey, not glancing up to watch for a knifelike blade whipping down on them from above.

“There is nothing in the evolution of eagles that would come near to describing a wind turbine,” Grainger Hunt, a raptor specialist with the Peregrine Fund, told the AP. “There has never been an opportunity to adapt to that sort of threat.”

Compounding the problem is the design of some wind turbines: The lattice work found on older models makes an ideal perch for larger birds of prey, so they’re attracted to the same spires that are also a death trap.

Wind-farm siting is another factor. Many wind farms, like the Altamont Pass Wind Farm in northern California, were constructed in the middle of important migratory routes and are surrounded by prime raptor habitat.

There you have it, folks. While predators and even buildings can kill birds, renewables will eventually go by the wayside not only when the money for them is put on the chopping block (like what is happening in Europe) but also for the threat they pose to bird species deemed endangered. The stage is set for an environmentalist group to file a lawsuit against wind turbines and the farms made up of them down the line. This website has provided numerous examples of endangered species laws being used by green NIMBYs to prevent construction of light rail lines, freeway construction and even county parks. Not only does wind power suck at providing for our energy needs, it will almost certainly end up in gang green’s crosshairs. In the meantime, marvel at the dead silence of groups like PETA who make not a peep for the deaths of birds due to spinning wind turbine blades.