Skip to comments.Pa. Wind Turbines Destroying Environment
Posted on 07/19/2011 7:11:46 PM PDT by Tribune7
Bats, as scary as they are to some, are one of the more useful mammals in creation. The diets of those species common in Pennsylvania consist of mosquitoes and other insect pests including the ones that damage crops.
A colony of 100 brown bats can consume of a quarter-million insects in a single night. Science magazine has estimated the pest control service provided by bats can save farmers about $74 per acre.
Well, the unattractive wind turbines built at the hectoring of the nature worshipers who've managed to convince most that they are the arbiters of all dogma scientific are turning out to be a bit of an environmental disaster.
The 420 wind turbines in use in Pennsylvania killed 10,000 bats last year.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.billlawrenceonline.com ...
Proponents are missing a huge benefit here.
Feed the shredded poultry downstream to the starving victims of the Baraqqi Depression.
Give the bats time to adapt to the change in their environment...Darwinism in action. Eventually, the smart bats will avoid death by windmill. Dumb ones will still die, like they do now. It’s evolution.
Same bat time. Same bat breakfast.
College hippies **** up everything they touch. What a joke.
Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Bats aren’t free flying like birds. They gather....barns, houses, caves...
It’s a shame that they didn’t get Pelosi, Helen Thomas, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, Barbara Boxer and Justice Ginsberg, all members of the “Old Bats Society” (affectionately known as the “Old BS”.
They claim anecdotally in China that it affect local weather to a high degree, in that case causing droughts. It needs to be investigated.
Unintended consequences of liberal policy, volume 3,463,547.
They also mess with weather radar, which could cost human lives.
This sounds like a job for the Dark Knight.
Dumb bats eat just as many pest insects as smart bats. Why would you want any bats to die needlessly?
You haven't succumbed to this earth-worshipping, tree-hugging, wind-power crap, have ya?
... and other crevices in buildings.
A few years ago, up the street from me was an impressive bat colony. Its location was in a crack between two commercial buildings, right behind a well-lit billboard. That illuminated billboard attracted plenty of flying insects every night, and the bats had a feast.
I suppose someone thought the bats were a nuisance and called an exterminator, and now... no more bats.
Demand for tomatoes will drop precipitously as the human population suffers through increases in malaria, west nile virus, yellow fever and other mosquito borne diseases.
Say it ain’t so...a green technology destroying the environment? /s =.=
(We took a drive through the PA countryside to visit relatives, instead of taking route 80. We were shocked at the number of windmills on top of the mountains.)
“Scores of Protected Golden Eagles Dying after Colliding with Wind Turbines”
By David Gardner...Daily Mail...6/6/11
“California’s attempts to switch to green energy have inadvertently put the survival of the states golden eagles at risk.
The 200ft high turbines, which have been operating since the 1980s, lie in the heart of the grassy canyons that are home to one of the highest densities of nesting golden eagles in the US.
Now the drive for renewable power sources, such as wind and the sun, being promoted by President Obama and state Governor Jerry Brown has raised fears that the number of newborn golden eagles may not be able to keep pace with the number of turbine fatalities.
Nationwide, about 440,000 birds are said to be accidentally killed at wind farms each year, as well as thousands more bats.
We taxpayers have spent millions of dollars saving the California condor from extinction, Gary George, spokesman for Audubon California, told the Times.
How’s the public going to feel about wind energy if a condor hits the turbines?
don’t know if you are interested but here’s a ping.
They sure screw up the scenery of the Poconos. I'd love to see one get stuck in the middle of Lower Merion.
Another liberal “solution” that worse than the “problem”.
I once had a bat go between the blades of a running fan to come in a bedroom window. I don’t know if the sonar allowed it to go between the blades, or if the sonar didn’t show the fan blades and the bat just got lucky. That said, the tips of those windmills are moving really fast, when they move at all. I don’t think many realize just how big those windmills are.
Well OK, just send those extra 25,000,000 bugs over to the nearest,EPA Office.
They are just another brand of Communist, and what they want is the Proletariat under their thumbs, or dead, or both.
Making energy astronomically expensive moves their plan along.
No more to it than that.
Dead bats are turning up beneath wind turbines all over the world. Bat fatalities have now been documented at nearly every wind facility in North America where adequate surveys for bats have been conducted, and several of these sites are estimated to cause the deaths of thousands of bats per year.
Aug. 25, 2008 -- Researchers have found the cause behind mysterious bat deaths near wind turbines, in which many bat carcasses appeared uninjured. The explanation to this puzzle is that the bats' lungs effectively blow up from the rapid pressure drop that occurs as air flows over the turbine blades.
Accidently, he didn't know where he was going to be, my son camped very close to those windmills in Somerset a few weeks ago.
I mentioned these bats and he confirms - none. No dead birds, no bats. His only negative on the windmills was how they ruined the quiet and scenic value and view of the countryside.
The main problem he had was Whosh, Whosh, Whosh from the props all night long. Never again, he said.
The wind turbines were obsolete when they built them.
Animals can’t “adapt” to changes which occur too rapidly. Many hundreds of wind turbines have been installed in the path of bird and bat migration in just a few years, thanks to idiots and their fraudulent theory of anthropogenic global warming.
Don't know where you got that idea, but it is quite wrong. Bats are indeed 'free flying like birds.' They fly where they want to and when they want to. They fly where they can find insects to eat, and just like birds fly to where they can find things to eat. Both bats and birds fly within a somewhat restricted area near where they call home. Both bats and bird migrate - to a greater or lesser degree depending on which species they happen to be.
I've observed may bats where I work, and in nearby mountainous areas where they live. They are often quite playful in the air, often sparing with their fellow flyers, usually when they are leaving 'for the hunt.'
Wind turbines create tremendous new problems that must be solved by liberals and New Government Programs. Ain’t it wonderful?
The birds and the bats were long gone before he got there.
Paging Rachel Carson...please pick up the flaming red courtesy phone.
Magic birds and bats? There was no clean up crew.
Not saying it doesn't happen, it is just exaggerated.
Please, my son and i are not supportive of these windmills but the birds and bats story is not correct, according eye witnesses.
Cool picture though.
They look like they spin slow, but they are so big the tips are going really fast, like suppopsedly 100-200mph. It’s a shame about the bats, they are neat and useful creatures. This and that white nose thing is pretty rough.
The environmentalist, animal worshipping weirdos are liars, of course.
You’d better duck — SIEMENS just dispatched a hit-man.
Electricity generated from renewable energy resources is an environmentally-preferred alternative to conventionally produced electricity from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. Many people believe that wind turbines should be part of the solution to a healthier environment, not part of the problem.
Over the past fifteen years, a number of reports have appeared in the popular press about wind turbines killing birds. Some writers have gone so far as to dub wind generators "raptor-matics" and "cuisinarts of the sky". Unfortunately, some of these articles have been used as "evidence" to stop the construction of a wind generator in someone's back yard. The reports of dead birds create a dilemma. Do wind generators really kill birds? If so, how serious is the problem?
A confused public oftentimes does not know what to believe. Many people participate in the U.S.'s second largest past time, bird watching. Other's are truly concerned about the environment and what they perceive as yet another assault on our fragile ecosystem. Unwittingly, they rally behind the few ill-informed obstructionists who have realized that the perception of bird mortality due to wind turbines is a hot button issue, with the power to bring construction to a halt.
Birds live a tenuous existence. There are any number of things that can cause their individual deaths or collective demise. For example, bird collisions with objects in nature are a rather common occurrence, and young birds are quite clumsy when it comes to landing on a perch after flight. As a result, about 30% of total first-year bird deaths are attributed to natural collisions.
By far, the largest causes of mortality among birds include loss of habitat due to human infringement, environmental despoliation, and collisions with man-made objects. Since wind turbines fall into the last category, it is worthwhile to examine other human causes of avian deaths and compare these to mortality from wind turbines.
Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year in the U.S.1 Many of the affected birds are those with large wingspans, including raptors and waterfowl. While attempting to land on power lines and poles, birds are sometimes electrocuted when their wings span between two hot wires. Many other birds are killed as their flight paths intersect the power lines strung between poles and towers. One report states that: "for some types of birds, power line collisions appear to be a significant source of mortality." 2
Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually in the U.S.3 As more vehicles share the roadway, and our automotive society becomes more pervasive, these numbers will only increase. Our dependence on oil has taken its toll on birds too. Even the relatively high incidence of bird kills at Altamont Pass (about 92 per year) pales in comparison to the number of birds killed from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. In fact, according to author Paul Gipe, the Altamont Pass wind farm would have to operate for 500 to 1000 years to "achieve" the same mortality level as the Exxon Valdez event in 1989.
Tall building and residential house windows also claim their share of birds. Some of the five million tall buildings in U.S. cities have been documented as being a chronic mortality problem for migrating birds. There are more than 100 million houses in the U.S. House windows are more of a problem for birds in rural areas than in cities or towns. While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.4
Lighted communication towers turn out to be one of the more serious problems for birds, especially for migratory species that fly at night. One study began its conclusion with, "It is apparent from the analysis of the data that significant numbers of birds are dying in collisions with communications towers, their guy wires, and related structures."5 Another report states, "The main environmental problem we are watching out for with telecommunication towers are the deaths of birds and bats."6
This is not news, as bird collisions with lighted television and radio towers have been documented for over 50 years. Some towers are responsible for very high episodic fatalities. One television transmitter tower in Eau Claire, WI, was responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 birds on each of 24 consecutive nights. A "record 30,000 birds were estimated killed on one night" at this same tower.7 In Kansas, 10,000 birds were killed in one night by a telecommunications tower.8 Numerous large bird kills, while not as dramatic as the examples cited above, continue to occur across the country at telecommunication tower sites.
The number of telecommunication towers in the U.S. currently exceeds 77,000, and this number could easily double by 2010. The rush to construction is being driven mainly by our use of cell phones, and to a lesser extent by the impending switch to digital television and radio. Current mortality estimates due to telecommunication towers are 40 to 50 million birds per year.9 The proliferation of these towers in the near future will only exacerbate this situation.
Agricultural pesticides are "conservatively estimated" to directly kill 67 million birds per year.10 These numbers do not account for avian mortality associated with other pesticide applications, such as on golf courses. Nor do they take into consideration secondary losses due to pesticide use as these toxic chemicals travel up the food chain. This includes poisoning due to birds ingesting sprayed insects, the intended target of the pesticides.
Cats, both feral and housecats, also take their toll on birds. A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report states that, "recent research suggests that rural free-ranging domestic cats in Wisconsin may be killing between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year."11
There are other studies on the impacts of jet engines, smoke stacks, bridges, and any number of other human structures and activities that threaten birds on a daily basis. Together, human infrastructure and industrial activities are responsible for one to four million bird deaths per day!
But what about wind turbines?
Commercial wind turbines
Since the mid-1980's, a number of research organizations, universities, and consultants have conducted studies on avian mortality due to wind turbines. In the U.S., these studies were prompted because of the relatively high number of raptors that were found dead at the Altamont Pass Wind Farms near San Francisco.
After dozens of studies spanning nearly two decades, we now know that the Altamont Pass situation is unusual in the U.S. The high raptor mortality there was the result of a convergence of factors, some of which were due to the bad siting in the local ecosystem while others were due to the wind turbine and tower technology used at the time. In fact, a very different situation exists not far away at the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farms near Palm Springs. A 1986 study found that 69 million birds flew though the San Gorgonio Pass during the Spring and Fall migrations. During both migrating seasons, only 38 dead birds were found during that typical year, representing only 0.00006% of the migrating population.
A report recently prepared for the Bonneville Power Administration in the Northwest U.S. states that "raptor mortality has been absent to very low at all newer generation wind plants studied in the U.S. This and other information regarding wind turbine design and wind plant/wind turbine siting strongly suggests that the level of raptor mortality observed at Altamont Pass is quite unique."12
The National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) completed a comparison of wind farm avian mortality with bird mortality caused by other man-made structures in the U.S.
The NWCC did not conduct its own study, but analyzed all of the research done to date on various causes of avian mortality, including commercial wind farm turbines. They report that "data collected outside California indicate an average of 1.83 avian fatalities per turbine (for all species combined), and 0.006 raptor fatalities per turbine per year. Based on current projections of 3,500 operational wind turbines in the US by the end of 2001, excluding California, the total annual mortality was estimated at approximately 6,400 bird fatalities per year for all species combined."13
This report states that its intent is to "put avian mortality associated with windpower development into perspective with other significant sources of avian collision mortality across the United States."14 The NWCC reports that: "Based on current estimates, windplant related avian collision fatalities probably represent from 0.01% to 0.02% (i.e., 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000) of the annual avian collision fatalities in the United States."15 That is, commercial wind turbines cause the direct deaths of only 0.01% to 0.02% of all of the birds killed by collisions with man-made structures and activities in the U.S.
Back in Wisconsin
My home state of Wisconsin is a good example of current research. In December of 2002, the report "Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin" was released. The study was completed by Robert Howe and Amy Wolf of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and William Evans. Their study covered a two-year period between 1999 and 2001, in the area surrounding the 31 turbines operating in Kewaunee County by Madison Gas & Electric (MG&E) and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Corporation.
The report found that over the study period, 25 bird carcasses were found at the sites. The report states that "the resulting mortality rate of 1.29 birds/tower/year is close to the nationwide estimate of 2.19 birds/tower.16- The report further states, "While bird collisions do occur (with commercial wind turbines) the impacts on global populations appear to be relatively minor, especially in comparison with other human-related causes of mortality such as communications towers, collisions with buildings, and vehicles collisions. This is especially true for small scale facilities like the MG&E and WPS wind farms in Kewaunee County."17
The report goes on to say, "previous studies suggest that the frequency of avian collisions with wind turbines is low, and the impact of wind power on bird populations today is negligible. Our study provides little evidence to refute this claim."18
So, while wind farms are responsible for the deaths of some birds, when put into the perspective of other causes of avian mortality, the impact is quite low. In other words, bird mortality at wind farms, compared to other human-related causes of bird mortality, is biologically and statistically insignificant. There is no evidence that birds are routinely being battered out of the air by rotating wind turbine blades as postulated by some in the popular press.
Home-sized wind systems
How does all of this impact the homeowner who wishes to secure a building permit to install a wind generator and tower on his or her property? They will likely still be quizzed by zoning officials or a concerned public with little to go on but the sensational headlines in the regional press. But while the press may or may not get the facts right, peoples' concerns are real, and need to be addressed with factual information such as is presented here.
While there have been any number of studies done on bird mortality caused by commercial wind installations, none have been done on the impact of home-sized wind systems on birds. The reason? It is just not an issue, especially when "big" wind's impact on birds is considered biologically insignificant.
When confronted with the question of why there were no studies done on home-sized wind systems and birds, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources person familiar with these issues responded, "it is not even on the radar screen." There has never been a report or documentation of a home-sized wind turbine killing birds in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, or any other government or research organization for that matter, just does not have the financial resources to conduct a study just because a zoning official requests it, especially given the lack of evidence nationwide that any problem exists with home-sized turbines. Based on our best available information, the relatively smaller blades and short tower heights of residential wind energy systems do not present a threat to birds.
See also: Bats and Wind Turbines
1. National Wind Coordinating Committee Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States (NWCC), p. 10.
2. NWCC, p. 10.
3. NWCC, p. 8.
4. Tower Kill p. 2.
5. Communication Towers: A Deadly Hazard To Birds p. 19.
6. Battered By Airwaves p. 6.
7. Battered By Airwaves p. 4.
8. Communication Tower Guidelines Could Protect Migrating Birds p. 2.
9. NWCC p. 12.
10. The Environmental and Economic Costs of Pesticide Use p. 1.
11. Cats and Wildlife: A Conservation Dilemma p. 2.
12. Synthesis and Comparison of Baseline Avian and Bat Use, Raptor Nesting and Mortality information from Proposed and Existing Wind Developments p. 7.
13. NWCC p. 2.
14. NWCC p. 1.
15. NWCC p. 2.
16. Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin p. 68.
17. Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin p. 75.
18. Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin p. 67.
Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States; National Wind
Coordinating Committee; West, Inc.; August, 2001
Battered By Airwaves; Wendy K. Weisenel; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; October, 2002.
Cats and Wildlife: A Conservation Dilemma; John S. Coleman, Stanley A. Temple, and Scott R. Craven; University of Wisconsin-Extension; 1997.
Communication Towers: A Deadly Hazard To Birds; Gavin G. Shire, Karen Brown, and Gerald Winegrad; American Bird Conservancy; Jume, 2000.
Communication Tower Guidelines Could Protect Migrating Birds; Cat Laazaroff; Environmental News Service; 2002.
Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin; Robert W. Howe, William Evans, and Amy T. Wolf; November, 2002.
Synthesis and Comparison of Baseline Avian and Bat Use, Raptor Nesting and Mortality information from Proposed and Existing Wind Developments; West, Inc.; December, 2002
The Environmental and Economic Costs of Pesticide; David Pimentel and H. Acquay; Bioscience; November, 1992.
Tower Kill; Joe Eaton; Earth Island Journal; Winter, 2003.
-- Mick Sagrillo, Sagrillo Power & Light Co.
I happen to live near several. large wind farms that are also in the vicinity of areas where wildlife migrates, and wildlife habitat... and guess what... wildlife adapts. Before the wind farms were built, it was argued they would be harmful to wildlife. DNR monitored - comcerns did not pan-out.
Real men like nukes
Where is Don Quixote when you need him?
Redo on the second link.
Larger project (requires beer and friends).
Propeller blades, like an oar or canoe paddle in water, also generate tight high-speed eddies in the air. Not good for little flying creatures.