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.
(human) Health Hazards of Wind Turbines