YOU CAN’T BE AGAINST RENEWABLE ENERGY, WIND AND SOLAR, IF YOU ARE FOR PROTECTING BIRDS.

David O’Neill, chief conservation officer at the Audubon Society

One of the best-known advocates for wildlife, the Audubon Society, supports wind power. From its website: “Audubon strongly supports properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source that helps reduce the threat posed to birds and people by climate change. However, we also advocate that wind power facilities should be planned, sited, and operated in ways that minimize harm to birds and other wildlife…”

For every project, E.ON conducts careful environmental studies. We work with federal and state wildlife agencies to ensure our projects minimize potential harm to birds or bats and make changes to placement and layout design, if necessary.

The National Wildlife Federation, along with 117 other conservation, sportsmen and business groups signed a letter asking Congress to support U.S. renewable energy projects.

Do birds and bats occasionally get struck by turbine blades? Yes. But today’s wind farms are carefully designed to minimize such events, and wind energy is significantly less harmful to birds and bats than buildings, vehicles, power lines, communication towers, and even house cats.

BIRDS

Extensive report published by the American Wind Wildlife Institute: https://awwi.org/resources/summary-of-wind-power-interactions-with-wildlife.

The following is from the American Wind Energy Association

The Truth:

Wind power is far less harmful to wildlife than traditional energy sources – this includes birds and their critical habitats. It is one of the only energy sources without population-level impacts, such as climate change-related habitat loss.

  • No form of energy generation is free from impact. However, studies have shown wind energy’s impacts to be the lowest, as it emits no air or water pollution, requires no mining or drilling for fuel, uses no water in the generation of electricity, and creates no hazardous or radioactive waste requiring permanent storage.
  • Incidental losses at turbine sites will never be more than an extremely small fraction of bird deaths caused by human activities—an estimated 134,000-230,000 of the more than 5 billion small passerines in North America according to the most comprehensive analysis to date. Other causes include buildings (550 million), power lines (130 million), cars (80 million), pesticide poisoning, (67 million), and radio and cell towers (6.8 million).
  • Even with its relatively low impacts, the wind industry is held to a very high standard and takes seriously its duty to study, avoid, minimize, and mitigate any wildlife impacts. Resulting conservation programs by wind developers save habitat and help protect birds.

BATS

The following is from the American Wind Energy Association

The Truth:

The wind industry is actively engaged in groundbreaking research to reduce bat collisions at wind farms.

  • As a clean energy source, wind is one of the most compatible with wildlife. The wind industry has taken a systematic approach to identifying potential impacts on bats and other wildlife, and is engaged in initiatives to reduce, if not eliminate, those impacts.
  • The Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC) was formed in 2003 by Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), AWEA, and the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. BWEC researches bat losses at wind energy projects and is actively investigating several promising techniques to reduce them, such as acoustic deterrents and potential mitigation through changes in operations.
  • The wind industry is helping to fund research into White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease, which has devastated cave dwelling bats throughout the Northeast and Midwest and is viewed by experts as the single greatest near-term threat to their populations.
  • The wind industry voluntarily studies and mitigates for wildlife impacts more so than any other industry, including for wildlife not protected by federal law. This is demonstrated by the inclusion of non-protected bats under the siting practices outlined in the voluntary USFWS “Land-based Wind Energy Guidelines.”