Study Links Taller Wind Turbines To More Bird Deaths

A new attempt to get some firm idea of how damaging wind power plants are to bird populations in the United States suggests that the trend toward taller towers could be leading to more deaths. On the other hand, the new research also reveals that siting fewer new turbines in California and more in the Great Plains – where the wind resource is rich and increasingly being exploited – could decrease the risk to birds.

The new study, by scientists at the Smithsonian Institution Migratory Bird Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oklahoma State University, comes amid a hot discussion of new U.S. permitting policies regarding the incidental deaths of bald and golden eagles at wind power plants.

colorado renewable energy

Colorado wind farm (image via Wikimedia Commons

This study didn’t focus at the species level, but instead analyzed available data to model bird mortality in an era in which lattice towers have largely given way to monopole towers with turbine hub heights often 80 meters or higher, and with longer turbine blades.

The researchers estimated that between 140,000 and 328,000 birds are killed annually by the monopole turbines, “which comprise the vast majority of all installed U.S. wind turbines,” the researchers reported. Their median of 234,000 is thus a good deal lower than a study earlier this year that put the figure at 573,000 (a figure that has been disputed). But in one of a barrage of caveats contained in the study – as is common for careful scientific research – the authors noted that byassuming that all turbines are monopole (there are a dwindling number of lattice towers), among other factors, might have affected their total.

More interesting, perhaps, is the tentative link the researchers draw between turbine height and avian risk. The reasearchers said their data set had hub heights ranging from 36 to 80 meters, and as height increased, “annual model-predicted mortality increased nearly ten-fold (from 0.64 t 6.20 birds per turbine).” The researchers went on to write:

Because we found a strong correlation between turbine hub height and rotor diameter, it is important to note that increased bird mortality may be a result of both increased turbine height and increased rotor diameter. As turbines get taller, greater mortality may occur due to turbines extending further into altitudes that contain large numbers of flying birds. As rotor diameter increases, a greater area of airspace is swept by the turbine blade and therefore exposed to collision risk.

And they added:

The projected trend for a continued increase in turbine size coupled with our finding of greater bird collision mortality at taller turbines suggests that precaution must be taken to reduce adverse impacts to wildlife populations when making decisions about the type of wind turbines to install.

Of course, the taller turbines also produce more energy; if fewer turbines are required, that could mitigate the trend impact. Another possible mitigating factor: Siting future wind turbine development less in California and more in the Great Plains. The study found – again, with caveats – that California had a mean collision rate of 18.76 birds per megawatt, whereas in the Great Plains the rate was 1.81 birds per MW. From the study:

Because average per turbine collision rates in the Great Plains may be relatively low, wind energy development in this region could potentially result in comparatively lower collision risk for wildlife. Previous research illustrates that the development potential for wind energy in the Great Plains is sufficient to meet the output capacity of the DOE’s 20% goal, even if development occurs only on lands that are already disturbed.

The researchers noted that wind turbines are far from the only threat human activities pose to birds, and allowed that wind power is a “promising alternative to fossil fuels.” But they concluded with this statement:

Despite an apparent lower magnitude of bird mortality at wind turbines compared to other anthropogenic mortality sources (e.g., windows/buildings, Klem, 2009; Loss et al., 2014; communication towers, Longcore et al., 2012, 2013; feral and pet cats, Loss et al., 2013), mortality at wind facilities should not be dismissed offhand. Instead, we stress the importance of considering species-specific and location-specific risks and the potential for cumulative impacts of multiple wind facilities and multiple mortality threats.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • MFehrens

    Gee really? Who would ever have guessed!

  • Bob_Wallace

    “The reasearchers said their data set had hub heights ranging from 36 to
    80 meters, and as height increased, “annual model-predicted mortality
    increased nearly ten-fold (from 0.64 t 6.20 birds per turbine).”

    Kills per turbine is not the proper metric. As towers have gotten taller turbines have become larger. Current turbines produce as much power as several older, smaller turbines.

    Medium sized turbines that were installed decades ago were in the 100 kW to 500 kW range. The taller turbines are anywhere from 1.5MW to more than 3MW. Turbines as large as 7.5MW are being tested. A 2MW turbine would produce as much power as 10 200 kW turbines.

    The proper metric would be kills per GWh. Kills based on power produced. If we put up larger turbines we will install fewer turbines.

    BTW, the 573,000 count doesn’t come from a study. It comes from what is essentially an opinion piece.

    • Pete D

      Agree on the turbine-height/size issue, Bob. (Tried to allude to that possibility: “Of course, the taller turbines also produce more energy; if fewer turbines are required, that could mitigate the trend impact.”) Would be very interested in seeing this model tweaked to give us a mortality/generation figure with different-sized turbines. Thanks for your comment.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Do you have a copy
        of the study? I find it hard to believe that this wasn’t considered if
        the study was published in a reputable journal.

        Kills
        per power produced is how one compares danger to birds from one
        technology to another. Anyone doing research in the field would be well
        aware of that. As would any reviewers or editors.

        • Pete D

          You can read the study by clicking on the link, on the word “study,” in the second paragraph of this story.

          I don’t agree with your blanket critique of what would constitute proper research on this topic. Given that earlier studies didn’t attempt to include tower/turbine characteristics (model, height and size), this certainly seems like a potentially valuable contribution. As the authors write, “Because monopole turbines comprise the vast majority of all installed U.S. wind turbines, it is important to separately estimate mortality and assess correlates of mortality for this turbine type.”

          • Bob_Wallace

            It’s like comparing MPG of passenger cars and 18 wheelers when the task it to move a lot of goods.

            Sure, cars get higher mileage, but so what?

          • Pete D

            If you see birds as an input to wind power, I suppose that is a good analogy.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I see birds being killed by all electricity generation. 38x as many birds killed per GWh by coal. 2.2x as many birds killed per GWh by nuclear.
            If tall towers kill more birds than short towers I want to know about it. I want us to take bird kills into account in our planning. But if we don’t have the needed data we can’t make rational and reasoned decisions.

            Per GWh do taller or shorter towers kill more birds? We do not know.

          • Pete D

            I don’t disagree with that — but I see this study as a potentially useful step toward getting that data. We’ve at least got a mortality model now that tries to focus us on the turbines of today. (As you know, building these models to determine bird mortality is extremely complex and controversial, as your earlier remarks about Smallwood emphasize!)

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes. This study tells us that someone needs to do the appropriate study. The authors of this study could do that study by going back and using the turbine size for each included tower. I find it rather amazing that they did not do this. They are not from some small community organization which might be lacking a good understanding of methodology.

            The problem I have with this study is that it almost guaranteed we will now see a herd of “tall windmills kill birds” hit pieces. There are anti-wind people who grab anything they can find to attack wind.

            Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see someone using early Altamont Pass data or the one Midwest wind farm that’s had an eagle kill problems used to attack all wind farms.

            I’ll let you know when I start seeing them linking back to your headline….

          • Pete D

            I’ve warned about letting fossil-fuel interests hijack the wind/bird discussion (see: http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/12/dont-be-fooled-on-wind-power-and-birds/) and I do try to provide reminders to people to watch out for that (see the first two paragraphs, at least, of this recent story: http://www.earthtechling.com/2013/12/wind-power-wildlife-can-get-along-birders-say/). And in this story, I did note: “Of course, the taller turbines also produce more energy; if fewer turbines are required, that could mitigate the trend impact.” But I’m not going to ignore research for fear that some — on any side of the issue — might misuse it. Just as some people might misuse this headline as a blanket condemnation of wind power, some might misuse the headline, “Wind Power, Wildlife Can Get Along, Birders Say” as a blanket endorsement. Comes with the territory.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Were it my site I’d modify the title to make less of a definitive statement, knowing the apparent flaws with the study.

            It’s your site.

          • David

            Would it be safe to say that the Altamont Pass is a species-specific (golden eagle), site-specific significant threat? I do not lump all wind farms together, but it seems like Altamont is particularly troublesome in terms of impacts to birds. Has this changed recently?

          • Pete D
          • David

            Great thanks Pete.

          • David

            If anyone is following the proposed Sand Hill Wind Repower Project in Altamont Pass it’d be interesting to hear some thoughts on it.

          • Pete D

            The DEIR is in comment phase right now — hope to be doing a story soon!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Altamont Pass was a hot mess. It’s really cleaned up a lot and will continue to improve as they swap out the last of the old turbines for fewer/taller ones.

            I know the kill count is way down but don’t know how it’s running these days. It might be a couple more years before we can see “Altamont II” numbers.

            The sited article above suggests that Altamont might always be one of our worse. It might make sense to eventually move the CA generation offshore – where the winds are much better anyway.

          • David

            Awesome thanks Bob.

          • Kevon Martis

            “I’ve warned about letting fossil-fuel interests hijack the wind/bird discussion…” How do you identify them? Or can you “just tell”?

            Or do you look to see if they gave $26 million to Sierra Club or are members of AWEA’s board of directors?

            Do they perhaps all have a good sense of rhythm?

          • Pete D

            Usually the abundant stupidity of their comments gives them away. Failing that — actually, no, that’s never failed.

          • Kevon Martis

            Them- circularly- you are funded by fossil fuel interests.

          • Pete D

            Good one!

          • Bob_Wallace

            A quick scan of the study (I’ll read it more carefully later) shows no consideration of turbine size/output.

            It may be that taller towers (probably larger swept areas) are more dangerous for birds on a straight tower:tower basis but this isn’t particularly helpful.

            Again, we don’t know if one 2 MW turbine kills more or less birds than 10 200 kW turbines. What we have here is an incomplete study which will almost certainly be misused by anti-wind organizations.

            BTW, if you go back and read some of the early research on turbine bird kills you’ll see that search radius was an issue studied.

            Researchers found the optimal range for searching which would detect almost all the kills. Expanding the search to detect 100% of the kills would not change the count enough to make a difference to the numbers and make the cost higher meaning fewer days of searching and/or fewer turbines monitored.

          • Pete D

            On search radius, yes, no doubt about it. And that’s one of the interesting difference this study finds with the Smallwood study: Smallwood wrote that he found “fatality rates correlated inversely with wind-turbine size.” Here, the authors write: “Our finding of a positive relationship between turbine height and bird mortality appears to be the opposite of the Smallwood (2013) finding of reduced mortality rates with increasing turbine size for raptors (nationwide) and for all birds (within the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area).” Of course, as the researchers note, they excluded lattice turbines in an attempt to focus on the monopoles that have become the standard.

          • Bob_Wallace

            This paper also looked at all bird deaths, not just raptors. Smallwood, in this case, counts raptors.

          • Pete D

            That is true, although as the new study notes, for Altamont Smallwood looked at all birds.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Let me copy in a bit I put together some time back…

    Highest estimates are that in 2012 there were 573,000 birds killed by wind turbines. That number is an outlier which was published in March of this year and was not based on actual kill counts but on “assumptions”. It’s as much as 17x higher than research papers based on actual counts. We’ll have to wait a while to see how the scientific community treats that paper.

    But let’s go with it. A bit over 1/2 million. Let’s err on the side that makes wind as bad as possible.

    And let’s put it in perspective.

    Domestic cats in the United States kill up to 3.7 billion birds each year. (6,457x wind)

    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-cats-billions-birds-mammals.html#jCp

    Collisions with buildings kill 976 million birds each year. (1,703x wind)

    http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf

    Collisions with vehicles kill 380 million birds each year. (663x wind)

    http://www.abcbirds.org/conservationissues/threats/energyproduction/index.html

    Collisions with communication towers kill 174 million each year. (304x wind)

    http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf

    Poisoning kills 72 million bird each year. (126x wind)

    http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf

    The Exxon Valdez spill killed almost a half million birds.

    http://www.evostc.state.ak.us/Projects/ProjectInfo.cfm?project_id=826

    Conclusion: Wind turbines are a tiny, tiny cause of bird death.

    But bird deaths aren’t a good thing regardless of the numbers. So why don’t we stick with coal and nuclear energy to save birds? Let’s check to see if that would work.

    Based on bird kills per gigawatt hour of electricity produced.

    Wind farms kill roughly 0.27 birds per GWh.

    Nuclear plants kill about 0.6 birds per GWh. (2.2x wind)

    Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2198024

    OK, so now we know that wind farms are not one of our birds’ big problems. And we know that closing nuclear and coal plants and replacing them with wind farms would be better for the birds. Should we stop there?

    No, we can make wind farms even safer for birds.

    In 2009 there were 12.5 bird kills per MW installed wind capacity.

    In 2012 there were 9.5 bird kills per MW installed wind capacity.
    That’s a 24% decrease. A very major improvement in bird safety. And we aren’t done yet.

    Now – Most of us want to see the bird kill from turbines drop. Even though the kill numbers are insignificant compared to what really kills birds. It takes good data to determine what works and what doesn’t work and this study does not give us any usable data. It violates the very basic ‘rule of one variable’.

    • Pete D

      Yep, a lot of this is stuff I’ve pointed out (see: http://www.earthtechling.com/2011/12/dont-be-fooled-on-wind-power-and-birds/). And, as noted in yesterday’s story, it’s something the study’s authors acknowledge. And it’s really the second sentence of this passage that is key, I think: “Despite an apparent lower magnitude of bird mortality at wind turbines compared to other anthropogenic mortality sources (e.g., windows/buildings; communication towers; and feral and pet cats), mortality at wind facilities should not be dismissed offhand. Instead, we stress the importance of considering species-specific and location-specific risks and the potential for cumulative impacts of multiple wind facilities and multiple mortality threats.”

      • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

        “…mortality at wind facilities should not be dismissed offhand. Instead, we stress the importance of considering species-specific and location-specific risks and the potential for cumulative impacts of
        multiple wind facilities and multiple mortality threats.”

        Thank you, Pete. That is the point. Counting starlings killed by cats and windows is a dodge.

        It is about fighting improperly sited power plants. The same is true with solar. The NRDC is all for renewable energy but has fought several solar installations on the grounds that they chose to put them in them in the middle of intact desert tortoise habitat. Same for the Audubon Society and wind turbines.

        From Nature:

        “… turbines threaten species that are already struggling, such as bats, which in North America have been hit hard by white-nose fungus. Another vulnerable group is raptors, which are slow to reproduce and favour the wind corridors that energy companies covet. There are species of birds that are getting killed by wind turbines that do not get killed by autos, windows or buildings …Altamont blades slay an average of 65 golden eagles a year. We could lose eagles in this country if we keep on doing this …”

        From the Audubon Society</a:

        “… Wind power facilities impact birds from direct collisions with turbines and related facilities, such as power lines. Wind power facilities can also degrade or destroy habitat, cause disturbance and displacement, and disrupt important ecological links. These impacts can be avoided or significantly reduced, however, with proper siting, operation and mitigation…”

        From the California branch of the Audubon Society:

        “… We fundamentally reject that choice [the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to permit the killing of California Condors by wind turbines]. Given the continual technological improvements coming online, the American public has every reason to expect that we can develop renewable energy and ensure that condors will not be killed…”

        • Bob_Wallace

          Counting birds, of all species, killed by coal and nuclear is not a dodge. It is an assessment of the relative harm caused by our generation sources.
          As for the desert tortoise, the amount of land taken by solar farms is tiny. The danger to the desert tortoise from increased temperatures and lower rainfalls is immense.

          We have a choice, keep doing as we are doing and wipe out thousands upon thousands of species or switch to non-fossil fuel generation which while not perfect should help us avoid one of the largest extinction events in the history of the Earth.

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Bob Wallace said:

          Counting birds, of all species, killed by coal and nuclear is not a dodge. It is an assessment of the relative harm caused by our generation sources.

          Ya lost me, Bob. Try reading my comment again.

          As for the desert tortoise, the amount of land taken by solar farms is tiny.

          LOL …Snap! Why didn’t someone tell the NRDC that!

          The danger to the desert tortoise from increased temperatures and lower rainfalls is immense.We have a choice, keep doing as we are doing and wipe out thousands upon thousands of species or switch to non-fossil fuel generation which while not perfect should help us avoid one of the largest extinction events in the history of the Earth.

          Ya, same argument used by people who support destroying rainforests for biofuels, and damning Amazonian rivers for electricity.
          You seriously don’t think we should try to properly site wind and solar installations to minimize damage to ecosystems? Power brokers will always seek to place them to maximize profit, sixth extinction event be damned. The Altamont wind farm should never have been built.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, let’s see if we can put this into some perspective.

            The California Desert Conservation Area covers more than 25 million acres. Over 39,000 square miles.

            Of that 25 million acres 1.5 million acres is designated for mining, livestock grazing, recreation, energy, and utility development.

            Of those 1.5 million acres 0.5 million are used for off-road vehicle recreation.

            That leaves 1 million acres for grazing, mining, and utility development. 4% of the total.

            http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd/cdca_highlights.html

            At this time there seem to be 21 renewable energy projects either completed, being built or proposed. Checking some of them it appears that the average area is roughly 4,000 acres per project for a total of 84,000 acres.

            This is 0.4% of the CDCA. So what we have is a number of people very upset about less than one half of one percent of the desert being used for solar projects but seemingly not concerned about the 2% being used for off-road recreation. Nor concerned about the 3.7% used for grazing and mining.

            And willing to put the entire 100% in danger of disastrous climate change in order to keep solar systems off 0.4%.

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Bob Wallace said:

          And willing to put the entire 100% in danger of disastrous climate change in order to keep solar systems off 0.4%.

          The NRDC opposes very few solar projects. You would think that they know much better than an internet troll which areas need protected. So when they oppose a solar farm, they have very good reasons for doing so, same for the Audubon society with wind. But you failed to address any of my points, so let me post them again them for you:

          Bob Wallace said:

          Counting birds, of all species, killed by coal and nuclear is not a dodge. It is an assessment of the relative harm caused by our generation sources.

          Ya lost me, Bob. Try reading my comment again.

          As for the desert tortoise, the amount of land taken by solar farms is tiny.

          LOL …Snap! Why didn’t someone tell the NRDC that!

          The danger to the desert tortoise from increased temperatures and lower rainfalls is immense.We have a choice, keep doing as we are doing and wipe out thousands upon thousands of species or switch to non-fossil fuel generation which while not perfect should help us avoid one of the largest extinction events in the history of the Earth.

          Ya, same argument used by people who support destroying rainforests for biofuels, and damning Amazonian rivers for electricity. You seriously don’t think we should try to properly site wind and solar installations to minimize damage to ecosystems? Power brokers will always seek to place them to maximize profit, sixth extinction event be damned. The Altamont wind farm should never have been built.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Russ, clearly we need to be careful with siting everything.

            I’ve said that repeatedly.

          • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

            Bob Wallace said:

            Russ, clearly we need to be careful with siting everything …I’ve said that repeatedly.

            …says the guy arguing against the NRDC’s attempts to protect desert tortoise habitat.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Experiencing one of your episodes of poor comprehension, eh Russ?

          • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

            Bob Wallace said:

            Experiencing one of your episodes of poor comprehension, eh Russ?

            Actually, Bob, I’m experiencing another of your episodes of poor comprehension.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Russ, the very best areas for tortoise habitat were determined and set aside. One of the things done was to remove those areas from cattle grazing along with any other use, including off road vehicles.

            Extensive habitat studies were done prior to siting the solar installations.
            The sites were searched multiple times to remove any tortoises on the sites.
            You would be well served by learning something about process for permitting installations.

          • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

            Bob Wallace said:

            Russ, the very best areas for tortoise habitat were determined and set aside. One of the things done was to remove those areas from cattle grazing along with any other use, including off road vehicles.

            Bob, we can all use Google. You are the one who just posted a comment denigrating efforts to minimize ecosystem impacts, not me.

            Extensive habitat studies were done prior to siting the solar installations. The sites were searched multiple times to remove any tortoises on the sites. You would be well served by learning something about process for permitting installations.

            Bob, do you really think anyone believes you are an authority on solar farm permitting processes? You are the one who just denigrated the NRDC efforts to study those habitats, not me. Go educate yourself. Read The End of the Calico Project.

    • Kevon Martis

      So will you trot out this line of argument the next time some shorebirds die in an oil spill?

      Frankly, since wind turbines have only a trivial ability to reduce reliance upon fossil generation, the turbines’ avian mortality is additive to the other impacts you cite.

      Put in AWEA-speak: “Wind turbines are the leading new source of avian and endangered bat deaths”.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD_Vr9ZDSuk But we can still celebrate, no?

      • Bob_Wallace

        No, Kevin.

        What I realize that we are going to use energy in one form or another. And I understand that there are downsides to every energy source.

        Then I’ll try to determine how we can best provide what we need with the least damage to the environment.

        When you state “since wind turbines have only a trivial ability to reduce reliance upon fossil generation” it becomes clear that you don’t know about EVs, electric vehicles, and how well they are matched to onshore wind.

        • Kevon Martis

          It’s clear you cannot produce a real world example of the all in $/kWh of such a scenario. But I can tell you that Germany’s $/kWh is approaching 40 cents versus 12 cents in the US before mandating EV cars for every person.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s look at Germany’s 29 € cents (~36 US cents)/kWh retail electricity price.

            In 2013 the average household electricity rate is about 29 € cents / kWh according to the BDEW (Energy industry association).

            The composition:

            8.0 cent – Power Generation & Sales

            6.5 cent – Grid Service Surcharge

            5.3 cent – Renewable Energy Surcharge

            0.7 cent – Other Surcharges (CHP-Promotion, Offshore liability,…)

            In addition there are some taxes & fees that go straight into the governments budget:

            2.1 cent – EcoTax (federal government)

            1.8 cent – Concession fees (local governments)

            4.6 cent – Value added tax (19% on all of the above) – (federal, state & local governments)

            So 8 + 6.5 or 14.5 euro cents go to electricity purchase and delivery. About 20 US cents. That’s higher than the US 12.5 cent average, but less than a penny higher than New York state.

            So, yes, compared to US average electricity price Germany is running on the high side. About the same as our most expensive state (excluding much higher Hawaii and Alaska).

            The difference German retail consumers pay renewable subsidy taxes and even some general taxes along with their electric bill and we pay our through our general tax (mostly income tax) fund.

            Now I have no idea what this “mandating EVs for everyone is about”. No country has done anything close to that.

          • Kevon Martis

            “Now I have no idea what this “mandating EVs for everyone is about”. No country has done anything close to that.”

            Right-yet you seem to think that it is the answer to the storage issue.

            If cheap affordable storage become plentiful industrial wind will obsolesce as well because people will be far more likely to go off grid.

            Which would be fine with me.

      • Mary

        Kevon, the issues raised in this article speak to two things wind energy proponents have historically ignored and/or denied: 1) they are fragmenting the habitat where birds spend 90% of their time and 2) cats do not kill a disproportionate number of any one species of bird in any one particular area. Industrial wind turbines do precisely that, which is why the experts site “species specific” and “location specific” concerns. A USDA/USFWS study out of Buffalo Ridge MN (using science and not modeling) found a 47% loss of raptor abundance where industrial wind turbines were sited. A USFWS report out of North Dakota cited a 56% loss of nesting marsh ducks. Loss of habitat is the #1 cause of species extinction, not cats or windows or automobiles. When the industry looks at the Great Plains they ignore the Mississippi River Flyway and the routes that feed into that major migration pathway. It is my opinion, after reviewing many wind energy projects across the US via docket searches (better than news articles), that we need to stop wasting money on harnessing the wind via this type of system and look elsewhere for alternatives.

        • Kevon Martis

          No argument here Mary :)

          And since wind is impotent in terms of closing baseload fossil generation, these deaths are additive.

          To twist a line from AWEA: “Wind turbines are the biggest new source of bird and bat deaths in the US.”

          Frankly justifying wind turbine impacts by comparing the body count to buildings or housecats is like using Pol Pot to justify Jeffrey Dahmer.

          • Pete D

            “…. as wind generation has supplanted baseload generation, typically from nuclear and coal units….”
            http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=12831

          • Kevon Martis

            Supplant, sure.

            Replace, never.

            AWEA board member and wind developer E. On Netz says this:

            “Wind energy is only able to replace traditional power stations to a
            limited extent. Their dependence on the prevailing wind conditions means that wind power has a limited load factor even when technically available…. Consequently, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90% of the installed wind power capacity must be permanently online in order to guarantee power supply at all times”

            http://www.nerc.com/docs/pc/ivgtf/EON_Netz_Windreport2005_eng.pdf

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nice to see you openly admitting that you’re twisting the line.

            Usually people down own up to that sort of behavior…

    • Mary

      Bob, this particular sentence is EXTREMELY important: “we stress the importance of considering species-specific and location-specific risks and the potential for cumulative impacts of multiple wind facilities and multiple mortality threats.”

      • Bob_Wallace

        Well, gosh yes, Mary.

        Who wants to unnecessarily kill birds?

        Thank goodness we’re starting to close the really big bird killers – coal plants.

        • Kevon Martis

          Wind deaths are additive to coal deaths.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry. That’s simply incorrect.

            Learn about how coal plants in the US are being closed.

          • Mary

            But they are not being replaced by industrial wind, Bob. Nice to see you making your usual ASSumptions about what people do and don’t support. You have no idea how I feel about coal-fired plants like the one a mile from my father’s home. I’m not surprised that you confuse assumptions and fiction with facts and reality. I’ve come to expect nothing less of you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ASS yourself Mary.

            I’ll ask the same thing I just asked of Jim.

            Describe your idea of how we should generate electricity.

            Please take into account cost, pollution, GHGs, and bird kills.

            Tell us how we best power our lives.

            I’ve asked you this before and you have failed to answer. It’s not enough to say “We shouldn’t do this” without supply a better alternative.

          • Mary

            The idea that industrial wind reduces GHG’s is perception based nonsense, as they have come to understand in Germany and elsewhere. I don’t have the answer to how we best power our lives, Bob, but I fail to see how throwing money down a fiscal sinkhole we know CANNOT power our lives is a solution to anything. Perhaps we should stop believing in bubbles, kites and rainbows and look for some real solutions. Industrial wind is anti-sustainability. You cannot have ecological/environmental sustainability without ecological balance. A 47% loss of any species in a specific location highlights that imbalance – which will not improve over time. At some point we need to be willing to admit that this is not the god-send we want it to be.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, let’s start with the fact that you are wrong about Germany’s GHG emissions, Mary.

            Germany had a small uptick last winter due to the increase in gas prices and it being a cold winter. When they finish replacing their old inefficient coal plants they will be back on track to zero CO2 by 2050.
            Wind-caused eagle deaths are only 2% of all human caused eagle deaths. We may have one or two wind sites with exceptional eagle kill problems and we need to deal with that. But you do not distinguish between wind farms with problems and those without problems. You condemn all wind farms.

            Here’s your choice:

            Coal – 35X as many bird deaths as wind.

            Nuclear – 2.2x as many bird deaths as wind.

            Which do you suggest we use in place of wind and cause more birds to die?
            What’s your choice, Mary – a lot more species extinction as we drive our climate out of control or massively higher electricity prices and economy destruction?

          • Mary

            Haha! You’re citing modeling, which has proven to be woefully inaccurate, as if it is a good predictor of the future, Bob. “Back to 0 by 2050″… Really? What are you smokin? The reason I have a problem distinguishing between those problematic wind developments you know about and those you do not know about is because unlike you, I am involved and have been reading the dockets, the paperwork, and the information about dozens of projects across the US. One thing they have in common, Bob, is deceit. You have clearly bought into the alarmist agenda tied to climate change. Run along, chicken little. The last warming trend the planet went through was much more severe then the models are predicting and man was not around to fart, burn gas/coal, and provide an excuse. Of course we didn’t have political agenda’s masquerading as environmental causes either….but you and your ilk don’t want to pay attention to history, science or politics. You have made up your mind that the government is telling you the truth so there is no need for independent review on your part. You have no intellectual curiosity whatsoever. We are not “driving our climate out of control”, Bob.

          • Mary

            Where is your response to my query about species- specific and location-specific problems as cited in the article? You cannot discuss the article without understanding those key principles, Bob, and while you have flung a lot of garbage about coal and baseless concerns about species concerns due to coal burning out there, you have yet to show that you have even a basic understanding of what the article is trying to impart.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, Mary, I’ve told you more than once that we need to look at individual wind farms and if they are particularly problematic then we need to fix the problem.

            Now, I’ll ask you once again -

            Please describe how we should power our grid, Mary.

            Should we keep using fossil fuels and potentially bring about the largest species in the history of the planet?

            Should we keep using coal and kill 35x more birds than we would with wind?
            What’s your solution, Mary?

          • Mary

            So, Bob, which wind farms have you looked at that have required scrutiny, and how many of those have been “fixed”? As for using fossil fuels….we should absolutely continue using fossil fuels, especially natural gas (which is not the leading cause of species extinction) until we find something that actually works. Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something that makes a situation worse. Send me a link to the FWS, USGS or non-wind industry study that uses accepted scientific methodology to determine there are 35X more bird deaths directly caused by coal. I have attended several USGS and USFWS meetings and have not ever had this data presented.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Mary, the world awaits your answer to how we should power our grids.

            Have we a hint when you state “Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something that makes a situation worse”?

            Should we take that as your support for the coal industry? And your desire to continue killing 35x as many birds per kWh as wind turbines kill?

          • Mary

            Let’s fragment the air column where avian and bat species live and guarantee the largest species extinction in the history of the planet. That seems smart. Even the much beloved James Lovelock has come out against industrial wind, saying it will go down in history as one of the greatest folly’s of mankind. But those who LOVE to claim to be green don’t like that message so it is ignored.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Your solution, Mary?

            How do we….

          • Bob_Wallace

            Mary -

            Please describe how we should power our grids.

            It’s a simple request, Mary. I’ve made it several times and you have yet to address my request.

            (BTW, thanks for telling us that you’re a climate change denier, Mary. That was the suspicion, now confirmed.)

          • Mary

            I did respond, Bob. I have repeatedly informed you that I we need to continue to search for real solutions. Apparently you don’t like that but would rather fund things that don’t work.

            As for denying that the climate is changing….of course it is. It changes from second to second, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year…and there are myriad causes. Unlike you, I read the 2,200 page IPCC report that just came out; funny thing is that they are now and only considering that much science is missing, including information about the sun and it’s impacts on our planet.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Mary, that is not an answer. That’s a dodge.

            Please describe how we should power our grid.

            And don’t bother trying to tap dance around being a climate change denier. You’ve made that entirely clear.

            Now, how should we go about keeping our lights on?

            Coal? Nuclear? Renewables? Those are your choices, Mary.

          • Mary

            Nuclear, fourth generation if I have my choice. Renewables are crap and coal sucks. That’s my choice until something that actually works comes along, Bob.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are no fourth generation nuclear reactors, Mary.

            None.

            There are ideas about what might work but no guarantee that they would. Remember how people thought pebble bed reactors were going to be the answer and then they didn’t work?

            Tell us what to do right now Mary using the tools at hand. Not some fantasy of what we might do in the future.

            Right now coal is killing 35x more birds per kWh than wind and nuclear is killing 2.2x as many.

            Your idea is to keep on killing those millions of birds and hope that a perfect electricity source gets invented sometime in the future?

            What is your real world, right now solution, Mary?

          • Mary

            Your lights are obviously off. You clearly have NOT really examined a single wind project. Unlike you, I have examined many. There are some that are fantastic, like one on 9.000 acres in OR. That was then, this is now. Open the doors to a 5 billion dollar pile of cash without oversight and you get all sorts of bad behavior. You’d know that if you looked, which you obviously don’t. When the TPP goes through there will be no environmental protections for anything or anyone. (Have you read the tiny snipets available about that, Bob?) It’s Barry’s world, we just live in it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What’s your solution for how we should power our grid Mary?

            Keep killing millions of birds unnecessarily so that the coal industry keeps making money?

          • Bob_Wallace

            BTW, this has been a most interesting and revealing exchange with you, Mary.
            You’ve not only admitted to being a climate change denier. You’ve now ‘fessed up to being a right-winger.

            You a member of the Koch brothers sponsored Tea Party, Mary?

            Oh, and what is your grid solution?

        • Mary

          Bob,1) industrial wind does not replace coal plants and cannot replace coal plants, it is purely supplemental, and 2) your comment has no relevance as a reply to me, Kevon Martis or anyone else as we are not writing about coal plants. Please explain what is meant by “species-specific” and “location-specific risks” and how this is different from cats, cars, windows….etc. Bob. You can look up the phone number for Brian Milsap (FWS Raptor Coordinator) or Jeep Pagel (FWS Raptor Expert) for help. Clearly, given your ignorant response, you do not understand what that means and why it is important.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, Mary, we know you support coal and overlook the vastly higher number of birds coal kills.

    • Jim Wiegand

      Hey Bob, When was the last time an eagle hit a communication tower? A window? Was killed by a Cat? Was killed by a coal company? Was killed by the oil industry? Was killed by a nuclear power plant? Was killed by a comet or anything else you can think of? Get us all the figures and go ahead and include all raptors. I happen to know the answer. The total is small percentage of the wind industry’s slaughter.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I know that eagles are now the focus of the anti-wind forces. You’re going to ride that pony until it drops from exhaustion, not because you care that much about eagles but because you use what you can to push your agenda.
        That said, the big killers of eagles are poisoning, poaching, electrocution and habitat destruction.

        The people who actually care about eagles are working on the significant causes of mortality.

        Wind turbines are responsible for only 2% of all human-caused golden eagle deaths.

        “Giddy up, Ol’ Two Percent” “We’ve got a propaganda war to fight!”

        “For Country and Coal!!!”

        • Kevon Martis

          “not because you care that much about eagles but because you use what you can to push your agenda. ”

          Prove that.

        • Mary

          So now you’re accusing people who spent 30 to 40 years recovering eagles of “not caring” and “riding that pony”….. You really are a blind, ignorant, a!@, Bob. FYI, when North America’s golden eagle experts convened for a meeting in Fort Collins, CO….and gathered around the table at last year’s USGS meeting to discuss impacts of industrial wind on avian populations industrial wind was listed in the top three of seven causes for eagle mortality. 1) Habitat loss 2) electrocution when they hit electrical transmission lines 3) collisions with wind turbines. Interestingly, since industrial wind turbines destroy the eagles habitat (i.e. the air column) and cannot always have buried transmission lines or buried cables for hook up to transmission lines, they are part of all three of the top causes. You really should try to read something from outside the industry, or have a conversation with someone like Al Harmata. But then you might have to climb down off of your wind turbine pole and re-think your ignorant position and we all know that you are incapable of that, Bob.

        • Jim Wiegand

          Once again no answers ……….When was the last time an
          eagle hit a communication tower? A window? Was killed by a Cat? Was killed by a coal company? Was killed by the oil industry? Was killed by a nuclear power
          plant? Was killed by a comet or anything else you can think of?

          You have also said nothing about the latest so called
          study. It is garbage and most everyone that reads my comments knows I speak the truth.

          The reason you can not answer my questions is because of the truth you and this industry are trying so hard to hide.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So Jim, you’re an eagle worshiper who cares nothing for any other birds like Mary?

            You really don’t give a damn if coal is killing millions of birds. “Keep on killing those non-eagles.” That’s your motto, eh?

          • Jim Wiegand

            It is not just abut eagles and those that read my articles
            are aware of this. These turbines slaughter everything that flies. Eagles just happen to be an excellent indicator species for all bird and bat populations that must share their lives with these monsters. Most normal people
            pay attention and care what happens to eagles.

            Once again no answers to my previous questions ……….When was the last time an eagle hit a
            communication tower? A window? Was killed by a cat? Was killed by a coal company? Was killed by the oil industry? Was killed by a nuclear power plant?
            Was killed by a comet or anything else you can think of?

            I will add one more question and supply the answer. How many eagles has this industry slaughtered? Thousands
            that we know of and thousands more that have gone unreported.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Jim, describe your idea of how we should generate electricity.

            Please take into account cost, pollution, GHGs, and bird kills.

            Tell us how we best power our lives.

          • Jim Wiegand

            For starters bird safe turbines only………………..

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Jim, give us the complete picture.

          • Jim Wiegand

            Funny you should ask because I have not received the full picture from you……….Once again no answers to my previous questions ……….When was the last time an eagle hit a communication tower? A window? Was killed by a cat? Was killed by a coal company? Was killed by the oil industry? Was killed by a nuclear power plant? Was killed by a comet or anything else you can think of?

            How many eagles has the wind industry slaughtered? Thousands that we know of and thousands more that have gone unreported.

            But most of all we need the complete picture from this industry. An industry that has no right to slaughter off protected species, has no right to produce fraudulent documentation about turbine impacts, has no right to receive incidental take permits, and routinely gives out grandiose energy projections.
            .

            Really, without this complete picture, wind energy has no right to be part of any energy discussion

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t have that data Jim. I gave you the major killers for eagles.

            I gave you data about the numbers of birds killed by transmission towers, etc. There is no breakdown by species that I know about.

            Now, how do you suggest we power our future in a way that kills no eagles? And are you willing to kill millions of other birds to save a single eagle?
            Remember, the transmission lines that are electrocuting eagles are carrying electricity from coal, nuclear and hydro plants as well as from wind and solar farms.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Jim, you’ve tap danced around my request for you to do something beyond telling us what we should not do. You’ve asked me for personal information which I have provided.

            Now it’s your turn to respond to a request.

            Jim, describe your idea of how we should generate electricity.

            Please take into account cost, pollution, GHGs, and bird kills.

            Tell us how we best power our lives.

          • Jim Wiegand

            Sorry Bob but you have to tell us your financial connection to this terrible industry. Also tell us about your very limited background in the biological sciences and why you should keep your ignorant trap shut.

            I have not received the full picture from you……….and once again no answers to my previous questions ……….When was the last time an eagle hit a communication tower? A window? Was killed by a cat? Was killed by a coal company? Was killed by the oil industry? Was killed by a nuclear power plant? Was killed by a comet or anything else you can think of?

            How many eagles has the wind industry slaughtered? Thousands that we know of and thousands more that have gone unreported.

            Name one honest wind industry mortality study. Just one. Then tell everybody why it is Ok for the industry to use carcass searches around turbines in areas over 90 times too small for their mortality studies. Then turn around and use these bogus numbers to help sell the next deadly project.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Jim – none. Absolutely no connection to the wind, solar, coal, oil or any other energy industry. Except for whatever stock might be included in the index funds I use for my stock investments.

            I suspect they are much more heavily weighted toward fossil fuels than renewables.

            I answered your eagle/tower question to the best of my ability. I do not know of a data source.

            As for mortality studies, go read the literature and see how search areas were empirically determined.

            Now it’s your time.

            Please describe how we power our grids while killing as few birds as possible.

  • Jim Wiegand

    You can stop jumping up and down because the study is bogus.

    Of course mortality increases with increasing height of monopole turbines. The rotor sweep can be as much as 51 times greater when compared to turbines with mounted on lattice towers. These huge turbines mounted on monopole towers have always killed far more birds per turbine. Any modern turbine with 51 times more rotor sweep mounted on an 80 meter tower is obviously going kill far more birds than any small turbine mounted on a shorter 24.6 meter tower.

    Some of these huge turbines are killing over 1000 birds and bats per year and even with grossly undersized search areas, far more bodies are still showing up in the industry’s tiny search areas around each tower. They did not need a study to figure this out. But then this study goes on to state that “Between 140,000 and 328,000 birds are killed annually at monopole turbines.”

    In my opinion the low estimates given in the study were the primary
    purpose this study was even done. These estimates have even lowered the
    old 2009 FWS number of 440,000 bird fatalities per year, which was based upon 25,000 MW.

    In the past and at Altamont, wind industry mortality search areas for
    carcasses around 51 small 40 kW turbines would have amounted to about
    400350 square meters. Today the search area on a modern 2.5 MW turbine,
    which is the equal to 51 of these older turbines, is about 7850 square
    meters. Sometimes when the industry uses the “percentage searched” trick
    , search areas can even be far less. I have looked over industry
    studies that only looked for carcasses in areas of about 1300 square
    meters around each 2.3 MW turbines.

    Today in the US there are about 61,000 MW of installed capacity. Accounting for thewind industry’s flawed study methodology and their grossly undersized search areas, the true mortality to birds exceeds 6 million birds per year.

  • Jim Wiegand

    The study claims……..”Mortality rates appear to be lower in the Great Plains relative to other regions.”

    The Great Plains region has experienced the greatest amount of wind energy expansion in the last 7 years. This expansion has included the installment the industry’s most modern and largest turbines. These are turbines that should have the largest search areas becausecarcasses can be found in areas of at least 200 meters in all directions fromtowers. The industry has instead used their grossly undersized carcass search areas in this region.

    The Great Plains region is also plagued with another problem that impacts reported mortality. This region has the most agriculture taking place around installed turbines. This agriculture plows and tills carcasses into the ground. As a result many carcasses go undetected by industry searches.

  • Jim Wiegand

    The study claims……….”Between
    140,000 and 328,000 birds are killed annually at monopole turbines.”

    In my opinion the low estimates given in the study were theprimary purpose this study was even done. These estimates have even lowered the old 2009 FWS number of 440,000 bird fatalities per year, which was based upon 25,000 MW.

    The estimates from this study and the old FWS mortality estimates are not even close to being accurate because of the totally unreliable data used to get these estimates. A single 40 kW turbine has a rotor sweep of 154 Sq meters or 51 times smaller than a modern 2.5 MW turbine. A 100 kWturbine has a rotor sweep of 254 square meters or 25 times smaller than a 2.5
    MW turbines. These are the primary turbines mounted on lattice towers that also had 50 meter carcass search areas.

    In the past windindustry mortality search areas for carcasses around 51 small 40 kW turbines would have amounted to about 400350 square meters. Today the search area on a modern 2.5 MW turbine is about 7850 square meters and caneven be far less. I have looked over industry studies that only looked forcarcasses in areas of about 1300 square meters around each 2.3 mw turbines.
    Today in the contiguous US there are about 61,000 MW of installed capacity. Accounting for thewind industry’s flawed study methodology and their grossly undersized search
    areas, the true mortality to birds exceeds 6 million birds per year in the US.

  • Jim Wiegand

    The study stated…………. “We estimate bird mortality at monopole wind turbines in the contiguous U.S.”

    This study relied on the wind industry’s own bogus data and did not account for the undersized
    search areas being used by the industry. They did make some adjustments for varying search radius, but these adjustments accounted for small differences in the search area size used from site to site.The entire discussion of the mortality search area adjustments given in this study are very deceptive.

    This study failed to point out several important facts about monopole mounted wind turbines. As the industry began installing these types of turbine towers and moved away from the lattice towers, tower height and turbine blade length increased dramatically. Wind turbine towers have grown from about 20 meters to 100 meters and blades have increased from 7 meters on 40 kWturbines to over 50 meters in length. Instead of increasing carcass search areas in their mortality studies to accommodate these progressively larger turbines, the wind industry has deliberately stayed with their search areas of about 50 meters from towers even though their new turbines are as much as 51 times larger.

    All the estimated bird mortality at monopole wind turbines in the contiguous US is derived from mortality studies rigged to miss most of the turbine related mortality. These are studies with small designated search areas that pretend that carcasses that land beyond these designated search areas do not exist.

  • Jim Wiegand

    The study claims…………….”Mortality increases with increasing height of monopole turbines.”

    Of course mortality increases with increasing height of monopole turbines. The rotor sweep can be as much as 51 times greater when compared to turbines with mounted on lattice towers. These huge turbines mounted on monopole towers have always killed far more birds per turbine. Any modern turbine with 51 times more rotor sweep mounted on an 80 meter tower is going kill far more birds than any small turbine mounted on a shorter 24.6 meter tower.

    Some of these huge turbines are killing over 1000 birds and bats per year and even with grossly undersized search areas, far more bodies are still showing up in the industry’s tiny search areas around each tower. They did not need a study to figure this out.

  • Jim Wiegand

    Wind Industry Facts:
    The wind industry is hiding massive turbine related bird and bat genocide.

    The wind industry gives out false energy projections and will never be a major source of
    energy for the grid.

    There is nothing “green” about this industry because it devours greenbelts, landscapes and is pushing dozens of species towards extinction.

    This is an industry in the business of fleecing tax dollars and using politicians to get them.

    The outrage towards this industry have bee steadily building across the world as industry lies and their Gestapo ways have become revealed.

    People are beginning to realize that these turbines will have not be saving this planet from climate change because wind turbine generated energy does not even cover the world’s annual increase in energy consumption and increases from other sources. State mandates for renewable energy are all absurd because this lousy source of energy will never catch up to 20, 25, or even 33%. So despite the propaganda and hype of being the fastest growing energy segment, these turbines are losing ground and enough can not be installed. It is time that our leaders stopped lying to the public about all this and stopped wasting precious taxpayer dollars on this highly destructive non-solution.

    At this time, no other energy source is as destructive and every other energy source is a better choice better than wind energy. These turbines have only been around about 3 decades and in this short amount of time no other energy source is even close to driving species to extinction as quickly as these wind turbines.

  • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

    Bob Wallace said:

    “Giddy up, Ol’ Two Percent We’ve got a propaganda war to fight! For Country and Coal!!! …So Jim, you’re an eagle worshiper who cares nothing for any other birds like Mary?…You really don’t give a damn if coal is killing millions of birds. “Keep on killing those non-eagles.” That’s your motto, eh? ……Yes, Mary, we know you support coal and overlook the vastly higher number of birds coal kills …ASS yourself Mary …Nice to see you openly admitting that you’re twisting the line. Now, how do you suggest we power our future in a way that kills no eagles? And are you willing to kill millions of other birds to save a single eagle? The peoplewho actually care about eagles are working on the significant causes of mortality.”

    Inflammatory statements with no redeemable content = internet troll.

    Bob Wallace said:

    Here’s your choice:

    Coal – 35X as many bird deaths as wind.
    Nuclear – 2.2x as many bird deaths as wind.
    Which do you suggest we use in place of wind and cause more birds to die?

    Funny how you never bothered to verify the accuracy of that particular internet urban legend before repeating it a few thousand times? Read: Nuclear energy kills more birds than wind …really? From the author of that report:

    In a rebuttal, and in the comment fields that followed, the author of the study that kicked off the internet urban legend claiming that nuclear energy kills more birds than wind said that his study does not advance the conclusion that nuclear power causes more bird kills than wind. He also said:

    “…the numbers in my study are preliminary, first-order guesses …A final secondary conclusion is that if there is a real “bird killer,” it is neither wind energy nor nuclear power but coal and fossil fuels, especially if you factor in climate change …I have just started engaging people on Wikipedia to try and correct distortions of my research.”

    Wind turbines are responsible for only 2% of all human-caused golden eagle deaths.

    I have found that very little of what you say turns out to be true, but if it is true that wind turbines( that only produce 1-2% of our total energy) are really responsible for 2% of all human-caused golden eagle deaths, then maybe the wind farms responsible for that much carnage should be dismantled. Wind farms so poorly sited that they increase the deaths of golden eagles by 2% should be outlawed.

    That said, the big killers of eagles are poisoning, poaching, electrocution and habitat destruction….Remember, the transmission lines that are electrocuting eagles are carrying electricity from coal, nuclear and hydro plants as well as from wind and solar farms.

    And how does increasing that death rate with poorly sited wind farms help? Note that because wind farms tend to be located further from the cities that use their power, they need more power lines, which also consume a lot of copper. Nuclear power used to replace coal power plants in existing coal power plant locations would require no new power lines.

    Germany had a small uptick last winter due to the increase in gas prices and it being a cold winter. When they finish replacing their old inefficient coal plants they will be back on track to zero CO2 by 2050.

    Ah yes, the “look at me, I can predict the future” debate technique. Hard to argue against a crystal ball. If you really can predict future energy prices, you would be the richest person on the planet.

    What’s your choice, Mary – a lot more species extinction as we drive our climate out of control or massively higher electricity prices and economy destruction?

    That’s a rather hypocritical thing for a guy opposed to new nuclear power to say. Renewables certainly are not cheaper than fossil fuels.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Look, Russ, I’ve gone a round or two with you and I’ve learned that you either misunderstand or deliberately misreport things.

      In this rather lengthy C&P post you do more of the same. You have taken some of my posts out of context and pasted them here in a manner to suit your narrative.

      I simply have no interest interacting with you.

  • nomorewindlies

    The study made this claim, “Between 140,000 and 328,000 birds are killed annually at monopole turbines.” In several rather studied opinions, the low estimates given in the study were the primary purpose this study was even done. These estimates have even lowered the old 2009 FWS number of 440,000 bird fatalities per year, which was based upon 25,000 MW.

    The estimates from this study and the old FWS mortality estimates are not even close to being accurate because of the totally unreliable data used to get these estimates. A single 40 kW turbine has a rotor sweep of 154 Sq meters or 51 times smaller than a modern 2.5 MW turbine. A 100 kW turbine has a rotor sweep of 254 square meters or 25 times smaller than a 2.5 MW turbines. These are the primary turbines mounted on lattice towers that also had 50 meter carcass search areas.

    In the past wind industry mortality search areas for carcasses around 51 small 40 kW turbines would have amounted to about 400350 square meters. Today the search area on a modern 2.5 MW turbine is about 7850 square meters and can even be far less. Some experts have looked over industry studies that only looked for carcasses in areas of about 1300 square meters around each 2.3 mw turbines.

    Today in the US there are about 61,000 MW of installed capacity. Accounting for the wind industry’s flawed study methodology and their grossly undersized search areas, the true mortality to birds exceeds 6 million birds per year in the US .

    ALSO: “Mortality increases with increasing height of monopole turbines.”

    Of course mortality increases with increasing height of monopole turbines. The rotor sweep can be as much as 51 times greater when compared to turbines with mounted on lattice towers. These huge turbines mounted on monopole towers have always killed far more birds per turbine. Any modern turbine with 51 times more rotor sweep mounted on an 80 meter tower is going kill far more birds than any small turbine mounted on a shorter 24.6 meter tower.

    Some of these huge turbines are killing over 1000 birds and bats per year and even with grossly undersized search areas, far more bodies are still showing up in the industry’s tiny search areas around each tower. They did not need a study to figure this out.

  • disqus_HUVXCgD9Sw

    It would be useful to the discussion if the article had included the number of bird deaths from other sources: air pollution; water pollution/poisoning of habitat (including those birds poisoned by lead shot from hunting (not all jurisdictions have mandated shotgun pellets to be non-lead)…); collisions with office buildings; collisions with vehicles; and of course, bird deaths attributed to the wandering predations of the domestic house cat. We need facts and figures to keep these all in perspective. simply saying that there are more deaths attributed to wind turbines doesn’t really tell us much, does it?
    Of course there will be more bird deaths due to more turbines.

    How are overall bird deaths affected?

    Does the reduction in noxious gasses caused by the de-activation of coal-fired plants change the totals significantly?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Coal kills about 35x as many birds per kWh of electricity produced compared to wind.

      Yes, wind turbines do kill some birds. But by switching from coal to wind we cut bird deaths by 35.

      And we kill a lot fewer people.

      • Pete D

        I don’t think we can declare with confidence that coal kills 35 times as many birds per unit of electricity produced. The avian mortality figure arrived at in that Sovacool study is at the very low end of the range of estimates in the literature; and the fossil-fuel-impact mortality figure is, by the author’s own admission, a “very crude approximation.” That said, the larger point is valid: there is TONS of science that tells us coal-fired (and less so but also natural gas-fired) power generation is a substantial threat to birds and many other species, humans included — that it has massive negative health and environmental impacts. So it is fair and proper to discuss wind power in a context of avoided avian mortality from fossil fuel generation, even if getting at hard numbers is difficult if not impossible. The outstanding question regarding wind isn’t of its impact on the overall population of birds, it is of possible site-specific and species-specific impacts, about which we should be vigilant.

        See the “35 times” study here:
        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9owC0JIPRD-NWpPSTJrTkJHN2c/edit?usp=sharing

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’ve read Sovacool’s study multiple times.

          Exact numbers are rarely obtainable.

          35x is the best estimate we have at this time.

          • Pete D

            Sorry, didn’t mean to imply you hadn’t read the Sovacool study, Bob. Was providing the link for others to take a look at.

    • Pete D