Wind turbines at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s 102-megawatt wind farm in Rio Vista, Calif., on March 10, 2010. Wildlife experts have raised concerns about birds being killed in collisions with wind turbines. (Ken James/Bloomberg)
By Joby Warrick August 31 at 12:09 PM Wash Post
It has long been the tarnish on one of the cleanest forms of energy: Wind turbines, a rapidly growing source of electricity around the world, can be deadly to birds, including rare and threatened species. At a single wind farm near Altamont, Calif., more than 75 golden eagles die each year from collisions with the farm’s thousands of spinning blades. Now, a study offers new hope for reducing the number of bird deaths. A paper by researchers from Colorado and Ontario says avian mortality can be sharply reduced through better decisions about where future wind farms are built. The study examines the potential for peaceful co-existence between large raptors and rotors across Wyoming, a state with large numbers of eagles and a vast potential for wind-generated electricity. In the article, researchers Brad Fedy and Jason Tack compile data for hundreds of known eagle nesting sites and plots it against some of Wyoming’s most promising regions for wind farms. The exercise successfully identified “sweet spots,” places far removed from nesting grounds but directly in the path of prevailing winds that can keep turbines turning……
Jason D. Tack and Bradley C. Fedy,
Landscapes for Energy and Wildlife: Conservation Prioritization for Golden Eagles across Large Spatial Scales
Published: August 11, 2015 PLOS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134781
Posted: 31 Aug 2015 09:37 AM PDT
A slowdown effect triggered by wind turbines is substantial for large wind farms and results in proportionally less renewable energy generated for each turbine versus the energy that would be generated from an isolated wind turbine, scientists report.