Wind turbine design and placement can mitigate negative effect on birds

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

URBANA, Ill. – Wind energy is increasingly seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, as it contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that by 2050, wind turbines will contribute more than 20% of the global electricity supply. However, the rapid expansion of wind farms has raised concerns about the impact of wind turbines on wildlife.

Research in that area has been limited and has yielded conflicting results. A new study, published in Energy Science, provides comprehensive data on how turbines affect bird populations.

While the study did find a negative effect on some breeding birds, it also suggests ways to mitigate that effect through wind turbine design and placement, explains Madhu Khanna, professor of agricultural and consumer economics in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. Khanna is co-author of the study.

“We found that there was a negative impact of three birds lost for every turbine within 400 meters of a bird habitat. The impact faded away as distance increased,” Khanna says.

Overall, the researchers estimate that about 150,000 birds are affected by wind turbines in the U.S. every year. This includes both direct and indirect effects; that is, bird collisions with turbines as well as changes in bird habitat due to wind disturbances and other factors. The effects vary for different types of birds. When looking specifically at grassland birds, the researchers found fewer negative impacts than for other types of breeding birds.

The researchers analyzed data on wind turbines, breeding birds, land use, and weather across the United States over a six-year period. The study included 1,670 wind turbines and 86 bird observation routes across 36 states from 2008 to 2014.

“We compared bird routes that were close to turbines with those that were further away, making it possible to more easily and precisely identify the impact of the turbine, while controlling for other unobservable factors,” explains Ruiqing Miao, assistant professor of agricultural economics at Auburn University and lead author on the study.

The negative impacts on birds identified in this study are lower than estimates from some other studies. However, those studies were done on a smaller scale. This research uses a large dataset over a longer time frame, yielding more systematic and accurate information.

The researchers also found that the size of the wind turbine and the length of the blades make a difference: taller turbines and shorter blades reduce the impact on birds. Other studies have found that turbine height was negatively correlated with bird count, but the present study separated height from blade length and found length to be the more important factor.

The study’s findings can be used to inform decisions about wind turbine placement and design. Because the impact on birds diminishes as the distance increases, the researchers suggest that wind turbines be placed outside a 1,600 meter buffer zone of high-density bird habitats. They also recommend that turbines be taller but with shorter blade length.

Policy decisions regarding wind energy must consider the tradeoff between sustainable energy and bird populations, Khanna points out. “No single technology is such that it is only beneficial and has no negative consequences. You can minimize the effect by making the recommended adjustments,” she says.

###

The article, “Effect of wind turbines on bird abundance: A national scale analysis based on fixed effects models” is published in Energy Policy.

Authors include Ruiqing Miao, Prasenjit N. Ghosh, and Jian Rong, Auburn University; Madhu Khanna, University of Illinois; and Weiwei Wang, Dell Financial Services, Austin, Texas.

From EurekAlert!

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162 thoughts on “Wind turbine design and placement can mitigate negative effect on birds

  1. ”Overall, the researchers estimate that about 150,000 birds are affected by wind turbines in the U.S. every year”

    Affected? I think you mean killed.

    • Uhh … studies by leading ornithological groups like Sibley Guides (a worldwide birdwatchers guide) report that total human caused avian mortality (dead birds) is approx. 2 billion birds in the US alone EVERY YEAR. Furthermore, Sibley and avian researchers show that these annual bird deaths have zero impact on the bird population and the stability of said population.

      The 150,000 bird deaths per year attributed to wind turbines is literally unmeasurable, way down below the noise level of bird deaths.

      And I can hear the retorts that I always get when I cite these FACTS – “well, but raptors are the ones affected.” Well, all raptors are BIRDS, so however many raptors are killed by wind turbines each year are a SUBSET OF 150,000 BIRD DEATHS per year.

      All raptor populations in the US and North America are stable if not increasing.

      The primary human-related causes of bird deaths are birds flying into building windows (approx.ONE BILLION BIRDS IN THE US EACH YEAR) , and feral cats- – i.e., domesticated housecats left to roam outdoors. The next highest human cause of bird mortality is powerlines used by all manner of electric power plants. These sources all result in hundreds of millions of bird deaths in the US each year.

      150,000 is literally NOTHING.

      But aside from all of the above FACTS, the ironic silliness of the haters of alternative energy sources shedding masses of crocodile tears over birds is, well, just silly. Knock it off. You don’t care about birds – you simply are looking for any fact-free propaganda you can gin up to make false attacks on alternative energy sources, which of course has zilch to do with whether or not “global warming” is happening or if it is caused by CO2 emissions from mankind (the answer is “no!” to both questions).

      Stick to real science, and leave the false fake ecology concern trolling alone. It is not persuasive, and it simply makes you guys sound just as unhinged as the Al Gores and Greta Thunburgs.

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, two fake facts don’t make a real fact, and two stupids don’t make a smart.

      • The point is one that is made in the article, that being there is no form of energy production that is free of impact, and these numbers are results from the relatively very few turbines that make up the current contribution to the energy mix, say 2% of the total.
        The article suggests limitations on turbines, limitations that further reduce the applicability of an already inherently limited modality. In essence it makes a stark and honest admission that low density wind energy, while it can have a place in the portfolio, is unlikely to be the impact-free holy grail to supplant current concentrated generation as some would insist.

      • If humans were killing 2 billion birds a year, then there would be no birds left.

        All of your lies have been dealt with over and over again.

        • Also your primary human induced cause of birds flying into building windows …
          Just how many building windows are out there?
          In New York city, the Empire State Building contains over 6000 windows but it’s facade is mostly concrete. Modern buildings are almost entirely glass faced and contain upwards of 15,000 Windows each. The city of New York proper (Manhattan Island) has upwards of 100,000,000 windows. 1 city in 1 State in 1 country of the world. Ten cities the size of New York City would equate to 1,000,000,000 (billion) windows. Globally windows total more than 10 Trillion.
          If Windows were as contributory to bird mortality as Wind Turbines 3:1, buildings would kill birds in the Trillions.

          • In addition, in cities like New York, most of those tall buildings are standing next to each other. There’s not enough room between the buildings for birds to build up enough speed to hurt themselves even if they did hit the windows.

      • “But aside from all of the above FACTS, the ironic silliness of the haters of alternative energy sources shedding masses of crocodile tears over birds is, well, just silly. Knock it off. You don’t care about birds – you simply are looking for any fact-free propaganda you can gin up to make false attacks on alternative energy sources…..”

        I don’t doubt there’s some of that. But I see much more fact free propaganda on the alarmist side, starting with the particularly dirty tactic of weaponizing perfectly normal weather events. I find that particularly scummy.

      • Your claims would have to struggle and receive several promotions before they could even rise to the level of nonsense.

      • Duane,
        As you stated, in overall bird mortality a cause of 150,000 is small potatoes. However the birds chance to encounter a turbine is equally negligible due to potential exposure. According to a 2018 article in the WaPo the entire U.S. has, at that time, 57,636 installed turbines so their supplied metric is probably a valid comparative number. 150,000:57,636 yields an approximate ratio of 3:1 for bird kills per turbine. And, since you brought it up, I wonder how many are Raptors? Then how does mortality stand up when there are Millions of potential conflicts rather than 57,000?
        See
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/05/11/every-one-of-americas-57636-wind-turbines-mapped/

        While the study did find a negative effect on some breeding birds, it also suggests ways to mitigate that effect through wind turbine design and placement, explains Madhu Khanna, professor of agricultural and consumer economics in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. Khanna is co-author of the study.

        I wonder what affect they have on non-breeding birds?

      • It’s funny to see an environmentally-minded person justify doing for a favored energy technology what environmentalists condemn other energy sectors for doing. Btw, a study was done in India that found a wind farm killed 75% of the raptor population over a 20-year period. That’s literally not NOTHING.

      • Duane

        The latest estimate I have read for bird mortality is 600 million, so you have rounded up significantly.
        https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/08/americas/bird-building-collisions-scli-intl-scn/index.html

        I question whether feral cats are the scourge suggested. If cats were not taking birds, then native predators such as bobcats and foxes would have a more abundant food supply and their populations would increase in the absence of feral competitors. While my cat frequently takes chipmunks, in five years I have not seen any evidence of her taking birds.

        You have obviously formed a fact-free opinion on the motivation behind “the haters of alternative energy sources shedding masses of crocodile tears over birds” The larger point is that there are always unintended consequences to actions, and one of them is the trade-off between wind turbines and bird mortality, with a disproportionate killing of raptors. This is happening while the installed capacity of wind turbines is low. Imagine what it will be like if all coal plants are replaced with turbines. If you are OK with wind turbines competing with high-rise buildings for killing birds, just say so. It demonstrates your priorities.

      • “haters of alternative energy sources”

        Ah yes, the old anyone who doesn’t worship as I do is a hater.

        It’s easier than actually dealing with the facts, just declare everyone else a hater and ignore them.

      • And yet while the oil industry is fined for killing a few birds, wind turbines operators have been getting a free ride for killing many more birds. “(September 7, 2011) The United States Attorney in North Dakota has charged seven oil companies in seven separate cases with violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for the illegal killing of 28 migratory birds. Yet, American Bird Conservancy – the nation’s leading bird conservation organization – reports that the wind industry, despite killing more than 400,000 birds annually, has yet to face a single charge.”
        https://abcbirds.org/article/oil-companies-prosecuted-for-avian-deaths-but-wind-companies-kill-birds-with-impunity/

      • When presented with reasonable numbers the “bird-killer” effect of wind turbines may be no more pernicious than the “fish-killer” effect of power plants intake pipes. I am willing to amend my comprehension if such a case exists.
        “You gotta break eggs to make omelets.”
        No energy production is free from impacts to the planet. Nothing we do is free from impact on the planet.
        We have to live here too. Living inefficiently has a bigger and worse impact.

      • Duane, sorry, your statement is nonsense.
        U.S. to give 30-year wind farm permits; thousands of eagle deaths seen

        https://reut.rs/2GqVDtg

        (Reuters) – Wind farms will be granted 30-year U.S. government permits that could allow for thousands of accidental eagle deaths due to collisions with company turbines, towers and electrical wires, U.S. wildlife managers said on Wednesday.

        Wind energy companies had sought the change from the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing they needed the longer permits to provide more stability to investors in the growing renewable power industry.
        In 2013, the agency approved a similar plan extending “eagle-take” permits to 30 years, but a U.S. judge overturned it last year. The judge agreed with conservation groups that the agency had failed to properly assess the impact on federally protected eagle populations.

        …The revised permit requires companies to hire a third party to collect data on eagle deaths rather than consultants hired by permit holders, a change hailed by Defenders of Wildlife, a backer of the measure.
        Also, revealed from this lawsuit;
        From a lawsuit. Guess who’s been counting the dead birds?
        “The revised permit requires companies to hire a third party to collect data on eagle deaths rather than consultants hired by permit holders, a change hailed by Defenders of Wildlife…”
        https://reut.rs/2GqVDtg
        Plus, this.
        4 Reasons Why it’s a Bad Argument to Say Cats Kill More Birds Than Wind Turbines
        * https://www.kcet.org/redefine/4-reasons-why-its-a-bad-argument-to-say-cats-kill-more-birds-than-wind-turbines
        * 


      • Poland has a problem with wind farms, it’s the low frequency hum. Poland is looking for better options.

      • Why then are bird populations (black throated finch) used in efforts to stop coal mines in Queensland Australia. The orange bellied parrot was used successfully by the greens to stop a wind turbine project in Gippsland Victoria. The Greens love to be reminded of that one.

        Now all of a sudden, birds count for NOTHING in the minds of some.

      • Hey Duane- give us the methods used for these estimates. Just like dealing with the climate, asking activists for totally unbiased surveys is just as silly as asking Michael Mann to forecast the temperature.

      • If Duane had actually read the paper he claims to be citing, he would have known that it claims that the 3 billion birds were lost since 1970.
        That’s 3 billion over 50 years, not 3 billion a year as Duane is so desperate to believe.
        It also says nothing about buildings and feral cats.

    • To my knowledge no windmill owner has ever been charged with killing a bald eagle.

      Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment. The fine doubles for an organization. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction for violation of the Act

      • Dave, not only have they not been charged, look what they did to a scientist who was studying bird deaths at their wind farm in Calif.

        Re: Dr. Smallwood’s Research at Altamont Pass Wind Resources Area
        http://bit.ly/316G4z4
        September 8, 2006, letter from the Attorney General of California to attorneys representing Altamont Pass wind energy companies:
        “It has recently come to our attention that Dr. Shawn Smallwood, who has conducted in-deptth research on bird mortality at Altamont Pass, has been subjected to numerous attacks on his professional integrity and credibility for his role in conducting research at the site. I assume that you are aware of this situation … some of the attacks appear to be orchestrated by the California Wind Energy Association and segments of the California wind industry, including companies operating at Altamont Pass. As you know, Dr. Smallwood has conducted more field research and authored and published more studies concerning the bird deaths at Altamont Pass than any other scientist in his field. …
        ____
        If windfarms don’t kill eagles and other endangered/threatened species, why did they go after Dr. Smallwood with such a vengence?

      • Dave, that’s one of the REAL issues here — the blatant 2-tiered (in)justice system allowing pin-wheels to commit crimes as opposed to the persecution an avg citizen gets.

        The other real one is the inefficiency & unreliability of pin-wheels (there are a few partial exceptions) compared to fossil-fuel, hydro and nuke energy sources.

    • Are they only counting breeding bird deaths? Does this mean they are excluding bird deaths not occurring during the breeding season?

    • Has any windmill owner ever been charged with killing a bald eagle?

      Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment. The fine doubles for an organization. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction for violation of the Act.

      Some laws are more lawey than others.

      • Wind Turbine operators were given a “Eagle Killing Pass” by outgoing President Obama back in the middle of December of 2015 – just as he was “done” Transforming America.
        https://www.apnews.com/b8dd6050c702467e8be4b1272a3adc87
        AP news: “WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Wednesday finalized a rule that lets wind-energy companies operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years — even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles.
        Under the new rule, wind companies and other power providers will not face a penalty if they kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles, nearly four times the current limit. Deaths of the more rare golden eagles would be allowed without penalty so long as companies minimize losses by taking steps such as retrofitting power poles to reduce the risk of electrocution.
        The new rule will conserve eagles while also spurring development of a pollution-free energy source intended to ease global warming, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s energy plan, said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.”

  2. Criticism of the murderous effect of these expensive, short-lived and non-recyclable machines on birds, bats and other life forms must have reached a level where the perpetrators can no longer hope to ignore it and have it go away. It is to be hoped that the end of the CAGW bubble comes before the last piece of virgin landscape and/or bird or bat is destroyed by these monstrosities.

  3. It’s very clever. Shorter blade length gives less negative impact on birds. Taking this breakthrough to it’s logical conclusion, zero blade length gives zero impact. Now we have zero blade length there is no longer any need for the towers. Win/win.
    Or am I being silly

    • Alternatively, make the blades longer than the tower height. That way they can’t turn & therefore can’t injure birds.

    • University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

      URBANA, Ill. – Wind energy is increasingly seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels [THAT IS FALSE, DUE TO THE FATAL FLAWS OF INTERMITTENCY, DIFFUSIVITY, AND LACK OF AFFORDABLE STORAGE], as it contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions {THAT IS FALSE TOO, DUE TO THE NEED FOR CONVENTIONAL SPINNING RESERVE WHEN THE WIND DOES NOT BLOW].

      LIKE THE WHOLE GLOBAL WARMING SCAM, THIS PAPER STARTS WITH CORE FALSEHOODS AND THEN BUILDS ON THEM.

      • Also, blades at the end of their life are land filled. That doesn’t meet the definition of sustainability.

      • Add to that “…by 2050 will contribute more that 20% of the global electricity supply,…”
        – Well Yippie Doo! And using IPCC calculations how much will this impact temperatures in 2050? (Anyone? Bjorn?, Bjorn?)

        None of these folks seem to be able to think holistically:
        – If we adopted their total recommendations, that would include “electrifying” automobiles, tractor trailers, farm equipment, trains etc. I’m sure they haven’t calculated the added load on the electrical energy sector in 2050 if that were to occur.

        Once you surrender to belief and imagination, I guess anything is possible.

      • Wind farms paid £1m a week to switch off
        New figures show £53m was given to the wind industry last year to keep turbines switched off to regulate electricity supplied to National Grid
        http://bit.ly/2VzsIu4
        ALLAN,
        Sustainable if the tax and ratepayers have unlimited supllies of money. They don’t.
        Wind farms are being paid more than £1 million a week to switch off their turbines.
        Latest industry figures show £53.1 million was handed out to green energy companies over the past 12 months for shutting down turbines. The money is paid by consumers through a subsidy added on to electricity bills.
        The turbines have to be shut down at certain times because Britain’s electricity network is unable to cope with the power they produce. The wind farm owners then receive compensation payments for not producing electricity.

  4. Two questions:

    1 What does “We found that there was a negative impact of three birds lost for every turbine within 400 meters of a bird habitat. The impact faded away as distance increased,” mean?

    2 What is a non breeding bird?

      • 1) the farther away from where birds are found that the turbine is placed, the less likely it is that it will kill a bird.

    • A non breeding bird is a bird not on breeding territory. for example geese may breed in Greenland, but winter in the UK.

    • Non breeding Bird is the one you can get from a Deli or Rotisserie, the Cooked kind, usually a Chicken, sometimes a crispy skinned Duck though.

    • Yes. “…negative effect on some birds…..” ???

      Kind of like describing 9/11 as “….somebody did something….”

      The UN statistics are that somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 birds are KILLED by windmills….and those are old statistics for this rapidly growing technology. I have never seen any calculation for birds being “effected” by windmills. What is that? Being annoyed by their noise? Being disrupted in their natural habitat? “Effected?” Really?

      CAGW allows evil in the name of Noble Cause Justification.

    • [What does] “The impact faded away as distance increased,” mean?”

      It means that the farther away a bird is from a windmill, the safer the bird is.

      • I thought it might mean…
        The faster the turbine blades are rotating,
        The farther they throw the bird carcass,
        And the more damage done,
        The gentler the carcass falls to earth.

    • me@home
      You asked, “What is a non-breeding bird?” They are the species that have become extinct.

  5. Another fantasy model.

    “The article, “Effect of wind turbines on bird abundance: A national scale analysis based on fixed effects models” is published in Energy Policy.”

    Birds be da*ned, build those wind turbines.

  6. ” It is estimated that by 2050, wind turbines will contribute more than 20% of the global electricity supply. ”

    Estimated by who? How?

    • IIRC, there’s a rule of thumb that says that you can have 16% wind power without destabilizing the grid. 20% isn’t that much more. Hmmm.

    • And the existing installations would have been replaced at least twice – so how does that contribute to reduced emissions?

    • ”It is estimated that by 2050, wind turbines will contribute more than 20% of the global electricity
      supply. ”

      Maybe when global energy production is cut by 50%, wind will produce 20% of it.

    • In 2017, wind energy provided 4.4% of annual worldwide electric power usage.

      Anybody willing to make a prediction of growth 30+ years into the future—starting from such a low percentage value, and having no sense of potential energy generation/efficiency advancements (i.e., LCOE reductions) in competing electrical generation technologies—is basically peeing into the wind.

      That is, such a prediction is careless and ridiculous.

  7. This is a pointless study – who would design a taĺl turbine with short blades?

    You might as well suggest that putting one down a mine is safer….

    Incidentally, has anyone done a study on the dangers to Ostriches yet?

  8. Ask the Great All-Knowing Oracle any Question!
    The Oracle has Questions. Excellent!

    Question 1: What does “…three birds lost…,” mean?
    The researchers had three birds at one point but set them down, and could not find them again. The Oracle knows that the birds simply flew off when set down. Unfortunately, this left the researchers confused and flummoxed as they could not understand how their specimens could just disappear into thin air, as they seemed to have done.

    Question 2 What is a non breeding bird?
    An ER protester.

    The Oracle Has Spoken.

  9. B.S. I call B.S. on this study.

    The impact on birds and BATS is much larger than 3 per windmill per…uh…unit of time??? What kind of study doesn’t include the unit of time? Maybe 3 birds/bats per minute, or even per hour, but per year? B.S.

    There are dozens of eagles killed every month in wind farms near their hunting grounds. Wind turbines near bat caves can have dozens of bats per day lying about. The reason you might start finding less is you have killed off or disrupted (moved) the local breeding populations. So any study over a larger period of time will of course find fewer and fewer birds disrupted (exploded).

    There is a very sound scientific method to reducing wind turbine destruction of bird and bat populations – stop building the tax leeching structures. If you want green energy, build nuclear power plants.

    Wind turbines are great for niche applications where normal power grid connections are not possible or desirable. Same for solar – I imagine solar will take off in regions of sunny California where their government regulated power companies are completely failing in their only purpose to exist. But stop trying to pave the entire world in these monstrosities. I am so tired of looking at Texas wind turbines on previously beautiful hill tops I could scream. Plant them in the cornfields and I don’t care…well…except for the damage to wildlife of course.

    If California and New York want green energy let them build the infrastructure on their own property – see how THAT goes. Destroy your own landscapes and waterscapes with these ridiculous sources of power.

    • Robert,
      At three per year, this is a vast quantity given potential exposure. Imagine if the ratio 3:1 held for window kills. Say you have 10 windows in your house, for the same ratio to hold, you would find 30 dead birds a year surrounding your home. 1 dead bird below a single window every 12 days.
      A typical newly constructed glass faced high rise would find 124 dead birds daily. 1 bird death every 5 minutes to equal the killing potential of a wind turbine killing 3 birds annually.

  10. “When looking specifically at grassland birds, the researchers found fewer negative impacts than for other types of breeding birds.”

    Grassland birds? So ground hugging flyers rather than soarers?

  11. I did a quick word search for “kill”, “death”, etc. Nothing but euphemisms for birds becoming demised. Maybe they are pining for the fjords (Monty Python dead parrot).

  12. “Wind energy is increasingly seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, ”
    =========================================
    Only by gullible fools.

    • “Only by gullible fools.”

      Isn’t that the truth! Wind energy would supply 20 percent by 2050, so they say. What do they suppose will make up the other 80 percent?

      Generating our electricity with windmills is one of the stupidest ideas humanity has ever come up with. Any rational look at the issue will tell you so.

    • I was wondering how a wind generator is ”sustainable’.

      Does it replace itself? Does it generate wind sufficient for it to drive itself?

      Their definition of ‘sustainable’ would be another general obfuscation of the meaning of common English words.

      • Well, since a recent study showed that over the life of a wind turbine, it didn’t produce enough energy to create another turbine (i.e. energy used in mining, manufacturing and erecting), I don’t think the word ‘sustainable’ has ANY place in the narrative!

  13. Perhaps a wind turbine with vertical axis might save some birds? A horizontally moving wing might be easier for a bird to avoid and probably it has lower speed.
    Probably less effective, but also less advanced and less expensive construction might compensate.
    There are such soon in production https://seatwirl.com/

  14. Towers are not cheap and what they effectively say is that the tower needs to be taller for the same size turbine/blades, which also will demand more foundation in the ground. The result will be even more expensive wind turbines per kW produced.

    What about the bats and Batman?
    What about endangered eagles? Assume the will be max altitude signs in bird language!
    Will the migrating birds be given air maps with approved bird migration corridors? It works well for the commercial airlines!
    What about infra-sound?

    I was told that my 5 horsepower fan for drying hay on the hayloft would need a fine mesh guard, in case there should come a nosy bird. Hey, that fan is used for a week once every third year and is so noisy it disturbs the neighbor a mile away.

    But wind turbines are holy, giving us more expensive electrical power, decrease the property prices, keep the tourists away from the former scenic areas and eat up resources like mad – what is there not to like about them 🙂

    • It would have to be one hell of big museum. Bigger than the Smithsonian. I therefore vote “in a landfill”. We can put pictures in the museum.

  15. Indeed in the UK you have to have a years bird survey work before you can place a windfarm, even offshore: UK windfarms simply are not placed where they are a problem for birds. Germany also has strict planning laws…

    • If this were the case, wind farms wouldn’t exist except on the moon where there are no birds. Any place else, where you are close enough to population centers, bird potential exists. Wind farms are placed where they’re convenient for society and where they’ll work best regardless of what birds utilize the area.

  16. I had to read this twice:

    “Policy decisions regarding wind energy must consider the tradeoff between sustainable energy and bird populations, Khanna points out. “No single technology is such that it is only beneficial and has no negative consequences.””

    Substitute for “bird populations” “destruction of virgin forest” or “turning a landscape into a moonscape in the search for rare earth minerals.” Amounts to the same thing.

  17. IMO, public awareness of vibro-acoustic disease caused by the infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) generated by wind turbines is what’s going to eventually kill the wind industry in its current form. Most people don’t really care much about birds being killed, but they get very personal when it comes to their own health. Here’s an article describing what an ardent environmentalist went through when he published in a Sierra Club-affiliated magazine a couple of articles documenting the detrimental health effects of ILFN on humans and wildlife, which was later retracted by the publisher, who apparently was pressured by the Sierra Club. It really says something when environmentalists themselves are opposed to wind turbines, as they should because at the scale they are done (for profit’s sake) they are obscene, destructive monstrosities.

    https://www.masterresource.org/sierra-club-environmental-pressure-groups/sierra-club-infrasound-study-iii/

    These are the two retracted articles:

    Part 1
    https://www.masterresource.org/wind-power-health-effects/wind-turbine-infrasound-part-i/

    Part 2
    https://www.masterresource.org/wind-power-health-effects/wind-turbine-infrasound-part-ii/

  18. Amazing. They have discovered that if you construct turbines where there aren’t any birds, there will be no bird casualties.
    Eamon.

  19. Repost. First comment went into moderation because I used the word k!ll.

    IMO, public awareness of vibro-acoustic disease caused by the infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) generated by wind turbines is what’s going to eventually k!ll the wind industry in its current form. Most people don’t really care much about birds being sl@ughtered, but they get very personal when it comes to their own health. Here’s an article describing what an ardent environmentalist went through when he published in a Sierra Club-affiliated magazine a couple of articles documenting the detrimental health effects of ILFN on humans and wildlife, which was later retracted by the publisher, who apparently was pressured by the Sierra Club. It really says something when environmentalists themselves become opposed to wind turbines, as they should because at the scale they are done (for profit’s sake) they are obscene, destructive monstrosities.

    https://www.masterresource.org/sierra-club-environmental-pressure-groups/sierra-club-infrasound-study-iii/

    These are the two retracted articles:

    Part 1
    https://www.masterresource.org/wind-power-health-effects/wind-turbine-infrasound-part-i/

    Part 2
    https://www.masterresource.org/wind-power-health-effects/wind-turbine-infrasound-part-ii/

  20. The effect of wind turbines on flying insects is enormous, (they keep scraping the blades clean of the debris – that’s hundreds of millions of insects) unmeasured and will undoubtedly deplete and damage populations of such insects – some of which are mosquitoes and will not be missed, but others are rare and endangered (some moths and butterflies spring to mind as an example) and some are major food sources for birds, and others are major pollenators. I wish someone would quantify this impact.

    • May I remind the WUWT community that while the greatest belief about bird mortality is cats, in reality one need only look at the bird bodies that litter the ground and calculate the egg production and lifespan of a breeding par to realise that for the average small bird around 90% need to die befire reaching breeding age.

      I know have no cats for about 500 yards and the squirrels have moved back in. The garden has been liberally sprinkled with dead birds all summer, with no obvious cause of death. With no cats to bring them to my attention, mostly the crows eat them.

      Summary: 90% of small birds need to die before breeding to keep the population stable at the limits of their food resource base. Many will die of starvation. Most people don’t find the bodies. but cats do and bring them as presents. They do not kill them. It takes a a really stupid bird – an AOC level stupid bird – to get caught by a cat

      • Leo Smith

        “I know have no cats for about 500 yards…”

        … but you do so as if you would be the expert in the domain:

        “They do not kill them. It takes a a really stupid bird – an AOC level stupid bird – to get caught by a cat”

        You completely lack experience concerning that field, Leo Smith.

        We have no cats, but live in a place where at least six cats share our 800 m² garden for the known purposes (the very first one being of course excretion of feces outside of their ‘home’).

        And unlike you, we know how many birds they really catch.

        • Bindidon
          And if there were no feral cats, do you suppose other potential bird predators would not take advantage of the lack of competition? That is, with a more plentiful food source, wouldn’t you expect the survival rate of other predators to increase?

    • Windows don’t k!ll raptors and bats. There’s a big difference between 4000 sparrows k!lled and 4000 Bald eagles k!lled. I just read recently that that approximate figure is the number of Bald eagles a wind facility is allowed to k!ll with no consequences. Talk about an obscene subsidy.

      • icisil

        “I just read recently that that approximate figure is the number of Bald eagles a wind facility is allowed to k!ll with no consequences.”

        Please cite your source. Isn’t it a bit strange that where we live (Europ) this statistics is absolutely unknown?

        I think what you ‘just read recently’ is an invention by people trying to discredit renewable energy forms.

        Btw, icisil: the eagle population is far less in danger than that of small birds: CONUS has lost about three billions of the latter since the 1970s.

        • Did you even attempt to research anything yourself, or are you accustomed to just believing and regurgitating things that agree with your bias?

          1. open Google in your browser
          2. enter, “eagles killed by wind turbines”
          3. click on the FIRST entry returned, https://www.eagles.org/take-action/wind-turbine-fatalities/
          4. read three whole paragraphs (sorry, I know it’s hard work) and try to comprehend: “At the infamous Altamont Wind Resource Area alone, more than 2,000 Golden Eagles have been killed by the wind turbines there.”

          That’s a start.

          It’s funny. I have noticed that the inability to do this laborious research is almost completely limited to liberals and millennials.

        • “Isn’t it a bit strange that where we live (Europ) this statistics is absolutely unknown?”
          Maybe because there are no bald eagles in Europe?

          And since you seem keen on people quoting sources what is your source for the loss of small birds in continetal US?

        • Just the other day my kitten came home with a couple of bald eagles and a red tailed hawk (IIRC, maybe not?)

          Now I’m a bit confused because Duane says 2 billion per year which should be about 100 billion since the 1970s, not 3. Can’t you alarmists get your stories straight? Or are you calling Duane a liar?

          • Bindidon: things are never as they are first appear.

            “In the post, McGill observes that, of the 2.9 billion birds lost, many belong to species that are not native to North America. Just two of those species — the European Starling and the House Sparrow — account for close to 15 percent of the net population loss recorded by the researchers. “The irony is that land managers and conservation agencies have actually spent a lot of money to try to drive down or eliminate invasive species,” McGill said in an interview with Undark.

            McGill also argues that, for many other species — especially those that thrive on farmland — population numbers may have actually been inflated in 1970, a result of generations of forest clearance and prairie destruction. By that reckoning, some of the decline may not be a catastrophic drop, but simply a return to an earlier baseline population that precedes the arrival of Europeans.”
            https://undark.org/article/in-a-new-study-on-bird-loss-some-scientists-say-subtlety-is-lost-too/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

            But one NEVER sees a follow-up story on these scare-mongering studies. You have to find the info yourself. I guess some people only read what other people want them to read.

          • So you’re not the least bit skeptical of National Geographic? No risk that they are pushing a green agenda I suppose.

            All I can say is that if anything, I see more birds than in the past. Ducks and geese and turkeys, hawks and all manner of blackbirds. It’s hard to imagine that we could have had 3 billion more than we have now. That works out to almost 1000 “lost” birds for each human

        • Bindidon,
          WIND lobbyists say that bird deaths are small compared with millions that collide with windows etc. This is a fallacy. The argument ignores affected species. If, fifty pigeons fly into windows, it has no effect on the population. But, when a breeding raptor is chopped, it represents a significant loss for the species.
          http://bit.ly/2YU2UwS

    • So, the motive is Green, not green, and not environmentally friendly. The first step is to dispel political, social, and industry myths that are first-order forcings of misaligned development.

    • I agree with you on the one side, but there is concern about some speeches of significant value and importance being severely impacted by wind turbines,apart from humans. If you harm or kill an eagle, you get prosecuted if caught. However, wind turbines get dispensation to legally do so. Much the same goes for bats in many countries.
      Related to this article, how many bees are slaughtered by wind turbines? Bees are on the decline many places, which is not very good, and don’t tell me cats and windows slag any significant number of bees, bats and eagles.
      So yes, let the wind turbines do away with de unwanted insects, but I do not think there is a technique to make the wind turbines distinguish between good and bad.

      • Carl Friis-Hansen

        I’m not a lobbyist of the wind turbine industry. I simply see that all what Mankind does potentially destroys animal life.

        Eagles are no longer entitled to life as dolphins and tunas! About 100 million tunas and sharks are fished evera year mainly for their dicks, which are perceived as a delicacy, and thrown back into the sea alive.

        Nobody speaks about that.

        “Related to this article, how many bees are slaughtered by wind turbines? ”

        Bees? Wow. Do you really believe that bees fly at an altitude corresponding to the lower end of a wind turbine?

        Sorry, but… the major cause for bee destruction in the US seems rather to be their industrial abuse for the fertilization of fruit trees. They are stored on giant trucks moving all the year long from California to Florida etc etc.

  21. I have had experience in both bird death mitigation at gold mines utilizing cyanide and bird death at wind turbine sites. The gold mines went through a sequence of attempting to mitigate bird deaths, where the birds came into contact with pregnant cyanide ponds, which sequence included, more-or-less in order: scarecrows, loud rock music, propane cannons, and finally, physical barriers like nets, which work. Now we have the wind turbines chopping up birds (at a rate much greater than the cited rate in the study) and they only seek to reduce somewhat the bird carnage, in a virtue-signaling way, and not actually eliminate the bird deaths. This is demonstrative of the entire anti-carbon crowd, intentions are the only thing that counts.

  22. The best placement area would be the sea bed, horizontal.

    A Spanish study showed a max kill ratio of 1000 birds per year per turbine. It was conducted in one particular area of Basque country about 10 years ago, so not the most killer turbines, but in a key migratory corridor.

  23. “No single technology is such that it is only beneficial and has no negative consequences. You can minimize the effect by making the recommended adjustments,” she says.
    Molten salt small modular reactors have no negative consequences and are not unreliable,
    primitive 17th Century ,environmenatally obnoxious mechannives like wind turbines. They are inferior low carbon generators of power.

      • Patrick MJD

        “Apart from the fact we don’t have any commercially operating MS reactors working ANYWHERE!”

        Thanks nor noting this!

        How is it possible to write, like ColMosby did: “Molten salt small modular reactors have no negative consequences and are not unreliable” ?

        If molten salt reactors would have worked 40 years ago, the French nuclear optimists never and never would have engineered two 4G reactors based on liquid sodium! And even these two were a complete failure. Their dismantling costs bypass everything imaginable.

    • ColMosby,
      Molten salt small modular . . .

      “There you go again.” [Governor Ronald Reagan, 1980]

      The rule of 5s:
      Get 5 working for 5 years. 50 under construction. 500 more financed and permitted. Until then . . .

  24. This article says a lot about the quality of the Unversity and the scientists involved.
    Seems to me that the reputation of academia and scientists is taking a knocking these days.
    Drips working under pressure often comes to mind.

  25. They can “mitigate” their effect but they CANNOT eliminate it. Wind turb ines will continue to kill flying creatures for ever.

  26. Chicken wire screens around their facilities would stop the killing.

    Any other business would be required to jump through hoops to prevent harming birds. These yahoos are exempted.

    When analyzing the cost of wind, throw in the cost of protective screens around the facility.

    Same for concentrated solar.

    No other businesses could get away with it. Green corruption.

  27. The study says that turbines with shorter blades will “affect” fewer birds. Seems logical.

    Of course, shorter blades mean less power being generated, which means more turbines needed to produce the target power generation for a project, so overall bird mortality will either be greater, or less, or unchanged. Numbers are not quantified, so we don’t kow. Plus more access roads, meaning more habitat fragmentation.

    They also recommend taller towers, which means more steel for construction, more cement for stable foundations, so more energy and materials used in building the wind farm.

    Valuable study, no?

  28. So to summarize this study: to reduce bird deaths, don’t put wind turbines near birds, and reduce the size of the blades, reducing the kill-zone.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    (yes, sarc)

    • OK, after gaining more time to research ….
      several are in Ag Econ . One of the most political groups at universities .
      Gotta get in on the bandwagon ….
      😉

  29. The Port of Corpus Christi, Texas just “inherited” a small number of turbines on their property from a bankruptcy. They, with downchannel Harbor Island, have been the temporary storage for parts from ships before trucked inland. It is not sure what they will do with them. What are the shipping costs, among others, especially if you put in the disruption? Trucks carrying pipelines get no such police and police-like protection. We already tried this experiment once decades ago. Resulted in a number of fossil towers. I guess it takes three times to learn things these days, like how you separate the electricity by source as is advertised.

    • For bald eagles in the US, that subsidy amounts to $373,800,000 per wind farm per 30 years ($89,000 x 4200).

      • That figure is actually too low for eagles. In the US, fines can be up to $500,000 per bird. So that would make the subsidy $2,100,000,000 per wind farm per 30 years, or $70 million per year.

  30. wind power is ecologically WORSE than the internal combustion engine. Draining kinetic energy from the atmosphere is environmentally LETHAL. Pollenation depends on the wind. Oxygenation of the oceans depend on the wind. Trees depend on the wind to drive up sap in the Spring. We don’t know what we are messing with when we institute WIND TURBINES because no major study has been done that fully characterizes the role of the wind in the biome of Earth. Say “NO!” to wind power – it’s a catastrophe in its infancy.

  31. “However, the rapid expansion of wind farms has raised concerns about the impact of wind turbines on wildlife.”

    “We found that there was a negative impact of three birds lost for every turbine within 400 meters of a bird habitat.”

    There are several ways to impact wild life death rate near turbines.

    1. Change design and location of turbines, as proposed in paper.
    2. Control population level of wildlife. Current design and location of wind turbines will reduce level of wildlife. Once bird level reaches 0 in vicinity of wind turbines, death rate will be 0. This can be accelerated by hunting birds near wind turbines. Problem solved at lower cost. Pass out the shotguns!

    /s

  32. Interesting study, but the conclusion falls short of what is needed:

    1) Modeling shows that bird interactions with structures decrease with altitude. Above 8,000 meters there is essentially no avian presence. Bat and insect presence zero out even lower.

    2) Modeling also shows that wind velocity increases with altitude, allowing turbines with smaller blades to spin faster and generate more power.

    3) Modeling also shows that harmful effects of infra-sound decrease rapidly with distance, becoming undetectable by 10 kilometers.

    The obvious conclusion is wind turbine towers should be 9,000 – 12,000 meters, putting them into the polar jet stream. They need to have blades and rotors capable of operating at wind speeds up to 400 km/hr so the only time they aren’t generating useful power is when jet stream velocity is below the cut in speed.

    So it is clear we can generate 100% completely renewable energy from high-altitude turbines, with no objectionable ground-level noise at any frequency and essentially zero impact to birds. The models are 99.97% certain on this.

    /sarc, in case you were unsure.

    • Alan Watt, CDL7
      You remarked, “Bat and insect presence zero out even lower.” One time when I was flying back to California from Salt Lake City, in a small plane, we were continually being hit by large insects (locusts?) that left large yellow splotches on the windscreen, struts, and wings. We were at about 10,000 feet altitude. I was surprised at how numerous the insects were at that altitude.

  33. Wind turbine companies should be fined the same that oil companies have to pay for killing birds.
    Which is around $1000-2000 per dead bird.
    All should be equal before the law.

  34. “The fact is, in recent years, many missing condors have most likely perished at wind farms in California. Many of the captive bed condors, released into the wild since 1992, have turned up missing. Nearly 1⁄3 (one-third) of all the captive bred condors released, perish for unknown reasons. If one looks into the scientific literature, collision is nearly always listed as a major cause of death to condors. But there is never any mention of collision in association with the thousands of prop wind turbines with blade tips spinning at 200 miles per hour in their habitat.”
    https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2009/10/07/wind-turbines-are-killing-condors/
    This is 10 years old, granted, but not much has changed. If anything, it’s gotten worse with the erection of
    more and more of these birdchoppers. There are bird-friendly designs, but the unreliable energy companies are too interested in pursuing the almighty dollar to investigate anything other than taller, longer, faster. It is mind-boggling to see the people who claim to be environmentalists cheering their greed.

  35. “We compared bird routes that were close to turbines with those that were further away, making it possible to more easily and precisely identify the impact of the turbine”
    You can easily and precisely identify the impact of the turbine by looking for a cloud of feathers.

  36. There are things that kill birds in the wild. They’re called predators. As long as the turbines aren’t taking out too many in bulk, they’ll evolve to avoid this new predator.

  37. The Windelec’s “bird slayer” problem:

    Windelecs don’t “slay” air borne creatures.

    The operating rotary wing of the windelec

    with passing the airborne creature abrupt produces negative pressure,

    the airborne animal’s abrupt pressure drop in the lungs ends in immediately collapse of the lungs.

    Where many air borne animals die, there is a lot of free hunting grounds for young air borne predators, ie insect eaters and avivores: bats & birds.

  38. The Windelec’s “bird slayer” problem:

    Windelecs don’t “slay” air borne creatures.

    The operating rotary wing of the windelec

    with passing the airborne creature abrupt produces negative pressure,

    the airborne animal’s abrupt pressure drop in the lungs ends in immediately collapse of the lungs.

    Where many air borne animals die, there is a lot of free hunting space for young air borne predators, ie insect eaters and other avivores: bats & birds.

  39. Nothing against talking about bats & wind turbines!

    Today I read this on the web site of the French newspaper Le Monde (translated using Google):

    Bats are in danger. These wonders of nature, which for tens of millions of years, reigned over the earth’s nights, now face a multitude of aggressions. The most spectacular decimates the bats of North America.

    Discovered in 2007 in the eastern United States, the white-nose syndrome has already killed millions of people. This fungus attacks the animal’s metabolism, boosts its winter energy consumption, leaving carpets of little brown bats, Eastern pipistrelles or northern vespertilions at the foot of the caves.

    Did anybody ever care about that here, since 2007?
    I guess no…

    If wind turbines could help us in avoiding the accumulation of that nuclear waste no one knows in Europe how to get rid of, I would welcome them.

    Not every country is lucky about having giant desertic areas where to securely put it in 🙂

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