The wind turbine as a bird trap

Hasty premieges from the basic time of wind energy continue to live despite all progress – with whatever reasoning?

Wind plants are meat grids for threatened bird species, and the wind energy itself is too expensive – so the gear criticism against a technique that has so far so far to show the bulky success among all renewable energies. Since 20 years, the wind industry has been reacting to such premiere and improves technology. Result: The criticism does not stop and it comes to beading compare.

The wind turbine as a bird trap

The first wind turbines on the Altamont pass at the beginning of the 80s. Today, a single modern wind system has many times its creates, all of which generated all equipment shown here. The first wind turbines there often no 10 meters apart; Today, the distance is at least a few hundred meters. Note the "open" Torments where birds could settle or even build nests. (Source: NRL)

The two Olkrisen of 1973 and 1979 had brewed the dependence of the USA on OL as a critical weak of the US economy. Therefore, Prasident Carter ended the 1970s to search for renewable alternatives. One of the big wind energy projects began in 1982 on the Altamont passporting east of San Francisco. Until 1987, a total of 7.340 wind turbines set up – just in a place where many threatened prey birds fly. One of the species, the female head sea eagle, was shrunk in the 1960s on around 30 animals in California after the DDT used there killed the eggshells of this eagle.

The first study for "Flavor" Wind plants in Altamont was published in 1992. One examined 1.169 of the total of 7.340 wind turbines over a period of 2 years (1989-91), however, was conducted on endangered prey birds; Other species finished just by the way in the statistics. The finding was that this 1.169 plants had told 182 (gripping) bird – so on about 13 wind facilities declined a dead prey bird. Makes 0.07 per system / year. However, the number of all birds smashed by rotor blasts is much high. A report published in August 2001 by the US National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) report that the approximately 15.000 wind turbines running in the USA CA. 33.000 to kill 000 bird, ie about 2.2 bird per system / year, whereby the number of location is fluctuating to location.

How much is too much?

The report emphasizes that even with 1 million wind facilities nationwide the number of killed bird – scatzed 2.2 million – far below the lying, which other human institutions already do now:

Cause: Averaged number of the lumpy bird in the USA

  1. Building (window): 500 million
  2. High voltage lines: 174 million
  3. Passenger cars / trucks: 70 million
  4. Telecom systems: 27 million

In contrast, the USA forecasted forecasts forecasted for the USA, among birds, are quite modest, not to mention the currently treasured 33.000. But who comes to the idea of watching cars – or even buildings – as bird traps? However, bird protection Telekom plants have been taken under fire since the latest. The US Federal Communications Commission is sued at the time of bird protection associations because the environmental contract of Telekom systems has not yet been investigated..

Quite different wind plants, for the environmental contract conversions despite comparatively far lower risk for the bird have long been required. The NWCC manual for wind plant approvals from 2002 drives the comparison even by indicating the 100 million bird scattered by the Audubon Society, the wild and domesticated cats kill every year in the USA.

The Audubon Society is the big bird protection association in the US, but by no means an opponent of wind energy, such as some (Z.B. A representative of the ore-conservative CATO Institute in this radio broadcast) could let us know, but rather an inspector. In June 2001 – so 5 months before the above radio broadcast – Audubons press spokesman John Bianchi describe the attitude of the Audubon Society to Wind Energy on request of the author so:

The Audubon Society is the catch that wind energy is a big, clean alternative to fossil fuels. We have a single reservation: wind turbines can not be set up where threatened bird species live, in particular gripping birds, which are most likely to chat from wind turbines. As long as the environmental contract is properly prompted, people and the environment should benefit significantly from wind farms.

This positive attitude is based above all on the insight that wind energy does not cause air, soil, or other pollution (acid rain). This leads to an incredibly positive balance if you estimate the number of bird-resisted bird. A study for a new wind farm in Ontario / Canada estimates that the displacement of electricity from coal-fired power plants by wind energy was improved so far that the life of around 1710 birds per system / year was saved. If one draws the 2.2-ten-killed bird, a wind turbine at + 1707.8 bird cuts off badly in the year. No wonder that bird protection wind energy burden.

From the US to Europe

So wind farms in the US seem to have no negative impact on the birdworld on site: "Since Altamont, Bird Studies Have Been Conducted In Over A Docoat States Ranging From Tennessee to Minnesota And Not One Has Shown That Bird Populations Have Been Affected."

Even in Europe wind turbines do not danger to bird. The association of the Danish wind turbine industry formulates this on his website: "Bird often collides with high voltage lines, masts and windows of buildings. However, you have rarely have problems with wind turbines. Studies of radar recordings of a 2 MW system with 60 m rotor diameter located in Tjaereborg in the west of Danemarks, have shown that bird at day and night their flight route around 100-200 m other than the facility and in a safe distance via the plant fly away."

A dissertation came to a similar result for Germany: "The observed effects of the WEA [wind turbines] on the small bird train during the day are classified as low at the four locations examined. The bird risk of bird is also valued at the FUF-examined WEA as low."

And also in the offshore area, which will be strong in the next few years, you can not see any danger for bird or animals. In Holland you will even bay under the offshore plants shells.

From mistakes learned

As is a first coarse test, you learned a lot of the mistakes in Altamont. First, you have to determine before configuring whether a location for bird is critical (keyword: environmental contract conversion). Then you started to interpret the wind facilities differently so that you are less dangerous for bird. There were mainly two approaches. On the one hand one uses no open, rising teases reminiscent of high voltage masts, but closed teasures so that the bird in the tower themselves do not build nests and do not stop there in wind styles; On the other hand, they slowed the rotor revolution.

However, the slower revolution was not associated with a lower energy yield. On the contrary: The plants at Altamont had only a capacity of 55kW. Today, however, 2mW – these are 2000 kW installations in the market. And the first 5MW systems are currently being developed, but only in a few years and then because of their coarse only in the offshore area for use. But at least: an increase in capacity by more than 9000% in 25 years.

In the same period, the price per kilowatt hour of over 30 cents has fallen to less than 5 cents at favorable locations. The wind energy is thus cheaper as a nuclear power and can keep up with OL and coal for several years (even if the extremely high external costs for OL and carbon are not included). In fact, wind energy has become so cheap so fast that the German energy feedet law (EEG) is to be revised this year because wind energy does not need so much support.

Despin Part II: German success, the Dutch problem and the American disaster

Craig Morris leads Petite Planète translations.

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