- Bird deaths related to energy siting decisions are occurring "at a scale that is now becoming a major source of concern," the American Bird Conservancy said in a new report focused on the worst offending projects.
- In a report titled "10 of the Worst-Sited Energy Projects for Birds," ABC called for stricter protections for birds and voluntary participation from developers in standard mitigation procedures.
- The group said hundreds of thousands of protected birds are killed annually, including some endangered species. Collisions with wind turbines and associated power lines are the major causes.
The bird conservancy stresses it is not against wind energy, but also argues "there is an inadequate system of checks and balances to protect America’s ecologically important migratory and resident birds from poorly sited wind energy development. " The projects kill thousands of birds annually, including protected and endangered species.
“ABC supports Bird-Smart wind, and it is not our intention to criticize the concept of renewable wind development in general or the developers of the specific projects included in the list,” said Mike Parr, ABC vice president and chief conservation officer.
The group's report highlights 10 projects, proposed and in operation, which is calls the worst-sited. Included are the Chokecherry and Sierra-Madre wind farm in Wyoming, Gulf Wind in Texas and the proposed Lighthouse project near Somerset, N.Y.
The full list can be found here.
“This list is intended to demonstrate that, under the present voluntary guidelines, there is an inadequate system of checks and balances to protect American native birds from poorly planned wind development on a large scale," Parr said. “These projects are illustrative of a much broader problem."
But by comparison, wind energy is a relatively minor offender says an industry trade group.
“In comparison with other structures and environmental toxins which are responsible for killing between 490 million and 2.9 billion birds every year,” John Anderson, the American Wind Energy Association’s senior director for permitting policy and environmental affairs, told Midwest Energy News. “Wind energy will never be more than an extremely small fraction of human-related bird fatalities.”