Wind Power and Birds – Bird deaths causing concern about true value of wind farm

The wind turbine farm in Altamont Pass, CA has killed approximately 22,000 birds over its 20 year lifetime, so two environmental groups want the operator permits for the farm revoked.

Let’s look at these numbers, shall we? 22,000 birds over 7000 turbines is just over 3 birds / turbine, and 0.157… birds/turbine/year. Wow, are those things safe!

The article quotes someone saying that this is “a terrestrial Exxon Valdez every year”. The Exxon Valdez disaster killed an estimated 250,000 birds, including 250 bald eagles. If you _only_ count the bald eagles, I suppose you can force the statistic…

On the other hand:

bq. many more birds are killed annually in collisions with vehicles (60 million), window panes (98 million) and communication towers (4 million) than die nationwide in wind turbines (10,000 to 40,000).

bq. Even the common household cat […] is responsible for more bird deaths than turbines.

None of this takes into account the birds that would have been killed by the pollution generated by a non-wind powerplant producing the same power.

In conclusion: what are these people smoking?

posted at 10:12 pm on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 in Science and Technology | Comments Off on Wind Power and Birds

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