Favoring Wind Power Endangers Birds and Bats

The Obama Administration has used subsidies and regulation to promote wind power. Yet the deaths of thousands of birds and bats from wind turbines, and the misappropriation of funds shows the danger of endless government subsidies and rules that are enforced only when they benefit certain industries.

Wind turbines kill approximately 600,000 birds a year. The American Bird Conservancy thinks that the Golden Eagle will wind up on the endangered species list because so many are being killed by turbines. Wind turbines also kill an estimated 900,000 bats each year. According to National Geographic bat-friendly turbine designs exist, but the wind-power industry has been slow to install the new turbines.

More disturbingly, the administration seems to be selectively enforcing laws. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Endangered Species Act prescribe strict penalties for killing eagles and condors respectively. But the administration has given an exemption from prosecution to a California wind company if the company is responsible for the death of the California Condor, one of the rarest birds in the world. The administration wants to grant a similar exception to birds on the 1,500-mile Texas to North Dakota migratory corridor. And the administration seems to be ignoring bat deaths altogether.

Other businesses that inadvertently harm protected animals face hefty consequences. Shooting or electrocuting the Bald Eagle can lead to a $250,000 fine and two years in jail. Harming the bird can also lead to legal fees incurred in federal prosecution. Further, the wind industry is allowed to build wind farms on protected lands despite the danger to native animals.

No power source is perfect. Coal and oil power produce emissions. Nuclear power plants require a site to store used fuel rods. Solar power panels use large amounts of land, displacing native animals. But the wind power subsidies and selective enforcement of laws shows the government is deliberately distorting the market to favor a certain industry. Eliminating subsides and uneven enforcement of rules would allow energy companies to produce high-quality low-cost energy. Further it would improve not worsen the lives of birds and bats.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mary says:

    It’s not just ABC that thinks the golden eagle will end up on the ESL. In 2011 a meeting of golden eagle specialists was convened in Fort Collins, CO. The title was, “The Uncertain Future of the Golden Eagle in North America.” Various experts presented, including raptor specialists who work with the USFWS. Industrial wind was ranked third in golden eagle deaths behind loss of habitat and electrocution from transmission lines. Industrial wind turbines fragment the habitat where raptors soar, forage, mate….so they contribute to #1. The USDA did a study at Minnesota’s oldest wind farm in Buffalo Ridge and noted a 47% loss of raptor abundance. (Garvin et al, 2011) and wind turbines often have above ground transmission lines. I suppose this makes them a triple threat. Raptors and bats are not the only losers, with FWS reporting a 56% loss of nesting marsh ducks at a wind site in North Dakota, and whooping crane populations are disappearing. This is not from global climate change but is because we are allowing another financial/industrial sector “solution” to determine policy and allow them to police themselves. This spells disaster, not just for birds and bats, but also for humans.

  2. Bill Heller says:

    Wind turbine bird deaths are a serious issue. Additionally, industrial wind turbines fail as a solution to global warming, meeting our energy needs and creating jobs. It’s as simple as the wind often doesn’t blow at high enough speeds to spin the blades, or create significant power from the spinning. Every MW of wind energy must be matched with a MW of fossil fuel generation, called spinning reserve, to make up for the shortfall. Here are a few articles explaining this and more:
    1) Energy blow as wind power fuels pollution
    2) AWEA Confirms Electricity Prices Skyrocketing In Largest Wind Power States
    3) Wind isn’t reducing carbon emissions
    4) The dirty secret of Britain’s power madness: Polluting diesel generators built in secret by foreign companies to kick in when there’s no wind for turbines
    5) Reality Check: Germany’s Defective Green Energy Game Plan
    6) Study: Wind Power Raises CO2 Emissions
    7) Subsidizing CO2 Emissions via Windpower: The Ultimate Irony
    8) Government Lab Finds Wind Energy Not Meeting Carbon Emission Goals
    9) Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that’s not ready
    And then there’s the fact that wind turbines sited near people’s homes severely impacts the health of many of those living close.
    1) Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems
    2) Wind Turbines can be Hazardous to Human Health
    3) U.S. government has known about Wind Turbine Syndrome since 1987 (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
    And wind turbines kill more birds – threatened eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, etc. – than you could ever imagine:
    1) Wind turbines kill up to 39 million birds a year!
    2) US Wind Turbines Kill Over 600,000 Bats A Year (And Plenty Of Birds Too)
    Wind energy is a sham and only the wind industry, certain politicians, and their crony capitalist associates benefit. However, they are very good at sales propaganda.