A 2013 study published in The Wildlife Society Bulletin found that wind turbines killed an estimated 573,000 birds annually in the United States. And that figure was 4 years ago. According to U.S. Wind Energy State Facts ( Oct. 2016), there are over 52,000 wind turbines installed across 40 U.S. States plus Puerto Rico & Guam.
Most people do not realize how little energy is actually derived from these wind turbines. For calendar year 2016, Wikipedia states that wind power in the United States amounted to only 5.55% of generated electrical energy. The goal is to have these turbines produce 20% of generated electrical energy in the U.S. by 2030—and one can only imagine how many more turbines would have to be built with an incalculable risk to birds.
An even more alarming fact is that the data on the number of deaths is gathered by paid consultants to the wind industry. That’s the fox guarding the chicken house. At the infamous Altamont Wind Resource Area alone, more than 2,000 Golden Eagles have been killed by the wind turbines there.
Again, Bald Eagles will be seriously impacted when wind turbines are placed around the Great Lakes or other major waterways, because fish is their main source of food.
In July 2016, a radar study was released by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that confirms wind turbines on the Great Lakes pose an unacceptably high risk to migratory birds and other wildlife. Proposed projects in New York, including the Lighthouse Wind facility, raises a red flag of alarm, as reported in a press release by American Bird Conservancy, Wind Turbines On The Great Lakes Threaten Migratory Birds.
This concern is echoed by the Rochester Birding Association in New York, stating that “due to its siting within 5 miles of the lakefront, ‘this project’ will cause significant risk to migrating birds. Up to 71 turbines are planned along the south shore of Lake Ontario, and these turbines are 570 to 620 feet tall. That is twice the normal height!
“Vast numbers of songbirds and raptors concentrate within six miles of the shoreline during spring and fall of each year. This area also has pockets of key habitat for sensitive grassland birds, which could be displaced by the wind turbines. Federally protected Bald Eagles from a nearby wildlife refuge are also at risk. USFWS has expressed serious concern about this project, warning the developer that this is an area of extremely high avian use. However, the developer appears to be going ahead with its plans, conducting its own studies, disputing previous work done by other researchers, and ignoring the concerns of local residents.”
The Fish & Wildlife Service currently recommends that wind turbines should not be placed any closer than 3 miles of the Great Lakes shorelines; the American Bird Conservancy recommends 5 miles. However, the recent FWS radar study indicates that the minimum should be extended to perhaps 10 miles from the shoreline.