I have heard birds have been killed by being sucked into wind turbines. Do you have stats on this and solutions?
A recent report from Environment Canada found that avian mortality from wind turbines was extremely low relative to other sources of mortality (windows, cats, climate change, etc.) – as a result, Environment Canada researchers concluded that wind energy is not having any noticeable population level effects on avian populations.
Even in areas where wind energy is facing challenges, such as with respect to certain species of bats, the wind industry steps up and tackles the issue head on. Wind energy was developed with the explicit intent to improve the environment, and so the wind energy industry has taken a proactive approach to mitigating impacts – including establishment of coordinated conservation efforts and research, such as work undertaken by the University of Calgary, establishment of the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative, and participation in Bird Studies Canada “Bird and Bat Mortality Database.”
As we continue to better understand how the industry can continue reducing bat mortality, the wind industry’s environmental record will only continue to improve.
While there is still work to do, wind energy comes up net positive with respect to wildlife. Wind is one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and given climate change is one of the biggest threats to birds and bats, there is an overall positive effect from building more, well sited, wind projects.
(Question originally answered September 2015)