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Wind Farms: Their True Impact on Birds and Bats

Wind Farms: Their True Impact on Birds and Bats

By Emma Bennett

Monitoring wind farms for impacts on birds and bats is an expense that could be better directed at conservation programs for threatened species.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Almost 1000 extra wind turbines are approved for construction in Victoria over the next 10 years. The wind power industry has faced many challenges, one of which is to monitor, reduce and mitigate the impacts of turbines on bird and bat populations.

Research in the USA and Canada has concluded that wind farms are likely to account for less than 0.1% of anthropogenic causes of bird deaths. This makes sense given the volume of evidence that cats are the biggest impact on our wildlife, with estimates that around one million birds are killed daily in Australia by feral and domestic cats. Estimates from overseas suggest that cats account for around 75% of all bird deaths, followed by collisions with buildings, cars and power lines. Factors such as pollution, climate change and agrochemicals are also considered direct causes of bird mortality, with figures much higher than those derived from wind farm impact estimates.

To understand why wind farm operators care about their impact to wildlife, we must consider that wind energy is promoted as a clean, green energy solution. Therefore the industry is held to higher environmental standards than other sectors of the energy market, such as coal power stations and transmission lines. In addition, some of the first wind farms built in the USA were poorly sited along major migratory bird flight paths. High impacts to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.