Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Audubon Society coming out to support Wind Power, even in the face of bird kills

According to Tree Hugger, Audubon Society "Strongly Supports Wind Power" even though many environmentalists get knots in their stomach thinking about the birds being killed by wind turbines. There have been studies recording birds being killed by being hit by wind turbine blades, but there are other studies on why birds get killed by wind turbines, how to avoid the bird deaths, and in any case the rates of bird death due to wind turbines are lower than birds killed by flying into skyscrapers.

Wind-turbine based bird deaths found to be less than thought likely is my earlier blog entry on this subject.

What's interesting here is that the Audubon Society is saying, essentially, maybe it doesn't matter if a few birds are being killed. In the greater scheme of things wind power has so many more plusses that this minus, if it's at all significant, is completely overwhelmed by the positive effect from generating electricity without any greenhouse gasses, or drowned valleys, or radioactive substances that last zillions of years, etc. Wind power is a relatively benign way to generate electricity compared to all the other methods.

The Audubon Society magazine first ran an article doing an in-depth study of wind power and then in the next issue ran an editorial giving this support to wind power.

Let's hope it captures some attention. There are a lot of NIMBY's who are resisting wind power, but who are otherwise environmentalists. I am absolutely baffled by their resistance. How can they possibly be an environmentalist and be so closed minded as to resist wind power???

Well, this is one of those issues dangerously like that adage of squeezing a balloon just to find the balloon expanding in the area you didn't squeeze. Like many problems you solve, it can create other problems. So it seems to be with wind turbines, that in some cases birds get killed by them. But I am myself completely in agreement with the points I wrote above. First, wind power itself is so extremely benign compared with the many other things our society has done with technology. Generating electricity by capturing the wind seems so completely harmless compared to the urban vistas we see in the major cities, concrete and gleaming steel towers for as far as the eye can see. How can anybody think wind turbines are ugly compared to that? And what of the exhaust spewed by fossil fuel burning power plants? Again, the byproducts from wind turbines seem so completely benign compared to that.

Second, as I noted the problem has already been studied and the solutions are well known.

Third, as I noted, birds get killed by so many other human structures, why are the environmentalists focusing their worry against wind turbines when skyscrapers kill lots of birds as well?


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