President Trump recently criticized "windmills" as a sou
- December 5, 2018
- 354 views
But do they really "kill so many birds?"
It is one of the most commonly repeated criticisms of wind power - that they are giant Cuisinarts for birds.
Last winter, Trump's
Estimated bird deaths from wind turbines are small when compared to other human-caused sources of avian mortality. In contrast to the 5 billion birds killed annually as a result of encounters with a variety of hazards ranging from domestic cats to building glass, turbines are a much smaller risk.
The greatest threat to birds today is climate change. Of
Climate change produces warmer temperatures that alter the length of seasons, interrupting traditional migration patterns. It also causes accelerated sea-level rise and stronger ocean storms which wreak havoc on coastal bird habitats, drowning out the nesting and foraging areas for species such as the federally protected roseate tern and piping plover.
The effects of climate change on birds will become even more severe unless we reduce our over-dependence on fossil fuels which are clogging the planet's atmosphere and heating up the planet.
We can do this by increasing conservation and efficiency, and producing clean energy. Wind energy is now among the most cost-effective, competitive and reliable clean technologies available.
Today, the American wind energy industry is primarily comprised of land-based turbines. As the third most densely populated state in the nation,
Consistent with this opinion,
In response, the Vineyard Wind company aims to build America's first industrial-scale wind farm 35 miles south of
For this wind farm to be viable, however, it must first demonstrate that it will pose no significant threat to the marine life and environment in and around the project area.
That doesn't mean the wind farm can have absolutely no effect on the region's wildlife and habitat, as any development of energy will entail some level of impact. However, the wind project must be designed to avoid any significant environmental damage, and anticipated impacts need to be minimized and mitigated. That's the sequence to success and the review standard for this project and those in the future.
If Vineyard Wind gets it right, others will follow as leases in two more deep-water areas off
And while Mass Audubon supports the deployment of clean renewable wind energy projects off our shores, that commitment cannot and will not be at any cost. With appropriate design, siting and mitigation, the industry can grow and prosper as the commonwealth does its part to combat the devastating impacts of global climate change.
And birds, other wildlife and people will all reap the benefits.