Friday, 22 March 2013

Wind Turbines kill up to 39 million birds a year!

Diagram: Jim Wiegand
The Greens are all for wild life and the preservation of natural things. We must surely soon see the Greens campaigning against the terrible slaughter of 39 million birds a year.

Who or what is doing the killing. Why, wind turbines!

From Raptor Politics:
Dr. Mark Avery, Conservation Officer for the RSPB stated that this “may only be the tip of the Iceberg”. The problem is to an extent that wind turbines and raptors enjoy the same conditions. Wind rising on the side of a hill creating ideal soaring conditions.  Also ideal for wind turbines. It might be conjectured that deaths of bats and small birds produce a feeding table below that turbines and with blade tips travelling at 200mph and the vortices that they create which tend to tumble birds you have a recipe for disaster. Graham Martin of Birmingham University states that raptors eyes are designed to look down to see their prey. They are not designed to see turbine blades straight ahead. So we have a situation that Environmental Statements often term birds deaths as at an acceptable level(?) and thereafter deny any birds are killed; unless they are radio tagged;  or anecdotal evidence that suggests that since a wind farm has started to operated there are less raptors around.

Jim Wiegand, for, writes:

Big Wind hides evidence of turbine bird kills – and gets rewarded. Here’s how they do it.

In 1984 the California Energy Commission said “many institutional, engineering, environmental and economic issues must be resolved before the industry is secure and its growth can be assured.” Though it was not clearly stated, the primary environmental issue alluded to was the extreme hazard that wind turbines posed to raptors. 
Since the early 1980s, the industry has known there is no way its propeller-style turbines could ever be safe for raptors. With exposed blade tips spinning in open space at speeds up to 200 mph, it was impossible. Wind developers also knew they would have a public relations nightmare if people ever learned how many eagles are actually being cut in half – or left with a smashed wing, to stumble around for days before dying. 
To hide this awful truth, strict wind farm operating guidelines were established – including high security, gag orders in leases and other agreements, and the prevention of accurate, meaningful mortality studies.

Jim Weigand then examines 2004 report from the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). The study lasted five years (1998-2003), and researchers did not have full access to all the Altamont turbines. He compatres this study with  the Wildlife Reporting Response System that is currently the only analysis happening or permitted at most wind farms.
The WRRS is the power companies’ own fatality reporting system, and allows paid personnel to collect and count carcasses. It explains why mortality numbers are always on the low side and why many high-profile species are disappearing near turbine installations.  
“We found one raptor carcass buried under rocks and another stuffed in a ground squirrel burrow. One operator neglected to inform us when a golden eagle was removed as part of the WRRS. Based on these experiences, it is possible that we missed other carcasses that were removed.” 
Read More at CFACT.

See also Eagles in the wind turbines.

Surprisingly, an American Wind Farm has applied for a licence to kill Bald Eagles. (Link)
From Dr Bonner R. Cohen

A wind energy company is seeking federal approval to kill several bald eagles each year within the Mississippi River Flyway in southeastern Minnesota in the process of providing intermitten wind power for local electricity consumers.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials report the proposed New Era Wind Farm will likely kill between eight and 14 bald eagles each year, in addition to numerous other protected birds and bats. 
USFWS officials say wind farm operators may be able to reduce the number of anticipated bird and bat deaths through such measures as shutting down the wind turbines during migratory seasons and when birds and bats congregate in the area. Such measures, however, would reduce the efficiency of the wind turbines, which already fall short of efficiency and cost comparisons with conventional electricity generation.