Elliott Negin, who is the director of news and commentary at the Union of Concerned Scientist, believes that the impact of wind turbines on birds is ‘overblown’ and brings up some pretty strong arguments for wind.
In his article, Wind Energy Threat to Birds Is Overblown, he goes head to head with Robert Bryce, “the billionaire co-owner of the coal, oil and gas conglomerate Koch Industries”. It is often difficult for people to stay objective when they are in a particular company which is for or against a cause. Mr. Bryce has a lot invested in non-renewables and is, as a result, pretty harsh on the competition.
Unfortunately, news sources and blogs have also been rampant with accusations that the wind industry is killing far too many birds and bats. Many of us in the industry are quite familiar with this common complaint. But the fact of the matter is, many more birds are being killed by other means, like cats, buildings, transmission lines, and even pesticides.
The wind industry is still fairly new, and we’re learning a lot as wind energy becomes more popular and widely used. Companies are making sure to take bird migratory paths into consideration when siting new turbines, and now with larger blades that don’t spin as fast, it also prevents more bird and bat deaths from occurring.
Until we can all agree on the hard and real facts, there will continue to be a lot of unfair finger pointing at renewables.
The real fact is, coal, oil and gas have negatively affected wildlife in many ways, for many years, along with the health and wellbeing of people. And not only that, look at what some of it has done to our planet, with global warming and the damage done to our ozone. Every source of energy has its advantages and disadvantages, and nothing is truly perfect. But when you look at the real pros and cons of wind energy, the good far outweighs the bad, and it looks incredibly appealing next to the older more traditional sources, which also leave a lot of waste and toxicities behind. Overall, the impact of wind turbines on birds is very minimal, and taken into greater consideration with newer installations and our greater knowledge.
My bet will always be on renewable energy, and yes I’m also ‘biased’ being that I work in the industry. However, in my defense, I have looked at hundreds of reports and statistics and facts to make my opinion as educated as possible. I encourage everyone else to do the same!