Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Wind farm Data....................

A new study just published in the United States has estimated that around 573,000 birds were killed by wind turbines in 2012 (including 83,000 birds of prey), in increase of 30 per cent on a previous estimate by the US fish and Wildlife Service in 2009. Bats are even worse hit, says author K Shawn Smallwood, and probably top 888,000 killed per year.

Clearly this has serious implications for the renewable energy industry, which bases much of its investment and publicity on the safety and environmental sustainability of the machines. Smallwood also believes his figures are underestimated, owing to the incompleteness if reports of bird and bat deaths from different states, in particular Texas.

Added to this, wind farm legislation in the USA is being loosened, with permits to allow the killing of Bald and Golden Eagles, Whooping Crane, Piping Plover and California Condor by wind turbines all under review or being granted in some states. 

Despite being based in incomplete data, Smallwood suggests that there should be greater transparency in reporting the deaths of flying animals in the States as well as a cross-state standard method of measuring and comparing figures. Even so, the increase in deaths suggested by the more rigorous statistical methods are worrying indeed, and should provide justifiable concern for both conservationists and the renewable energy industry in Britain and Europe.

6 comments:

Jeff Cox said...

Worrying indeed Andy, but until strong evidence is made available nothing will change. Efforts are being made to gather better data and I met a researcher one morning who is working for Calderdale and Kirklees Councils who was visiting single wind turbines in order to survey birds around them.

Steve Blacksmith said...

We could make a special effort to record birds/bats found dead near turbines versus numbers found well away from them.
(any bats should be kept for identification.)

Except the clever foxes are likely to learn where there are more likely to be corpses.

The only report I have of birds being killed is of upland geese flying into the farm turbine of some friends of mine in the Falklands. They hear the impact and look up to see the cloud of feathers drifting off. They estimated "a couple in about 12 years". This goose is numerous around their farm.

AndyC said...

I think that resident species get used to them and can avoid them but species which migrate or species new to that area are very prone to getting hit by the turbines/blades.

Dave Sutcliffe said...

Think that could be right Andy. The Curlew breed successfully at the Withens and don't seem to be affected although not sure GP or Lapwing like them very much and give the turbines a wide berth. Migrants must be at great risk especially at night.

Jeff Cox said...

Without access to the base of the turbines we'll never know what the true body count is.

AndyC said...

Curlew ,Redshank and GP nest in and around the turbines at ogden ,and don't seem that bothered and in good conditions I have seen 40 whooper swans navigate a wind farm no problem but at night in a storm Im pretty sure it would be a different situation..