Bird safety for wind farm development

According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an estimated 100,000 to 440,000 birds die from collisions from wind turbines in the United States each year, and by 2030 that figure could easily surpass 1 million per year. Although ABC is in support of alternative energy choices such as wind power, they recommend passing regulations for the wind energy industry that take into consideration four measures of avian safety:

1. Siting.  When choosing the location for a wind farm, the site should be on previously disturbed land, such as agricultural or industrial areas. Sensitive bird habitat, such as areas along migratory paths, wetlands, and key nesting areas, should be avoided.

2. Operation and Construction Mitigation.  Efforts should be made to minimize the impacts of interconnection by burying transmission lines, or following the guidelines put forth by the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee if set above ground. Also, lighting should be used to deter night-flying migratory birds and construction-disturbed habitat should be restored.

3. Monitoring.  A monitoring system should be in place during both pre- and post-construction to assess the numbers of birds affected by the wind farm. Quantitative studies can be used to gauge and/or improve future decisions.

4. Compensation.  In order to mitigate the loss of bird habitat caused by wind farm development, suitable areas should be acquired and preserved for habitat conservation.

(via Grist)

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