Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wind turbines? No -- land use

One of the places that alternate energy enemies point to is the environmental "blight" of wind turbines, i.e., power-generating windmills. Now, I'm still of the opinion that they are a large-scale effort to make small-scale additions to our power-generating capacity, which is why I'm still a nuclear advocate (being in the industry does play into that).

However, wind turbines are accused of causing the deaths of birds. Well, they do that. How much and how many is open to interpretation and investigation. But as this article shows, the potential extinction of numerous bird species is much more affected by land use -- i.e., human exploitation of the bird habitat, at the expense of the birds.
"The study, published Nov. 9 in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, used remote sensing data to map recent land-use changes that are reducing suitable habitat for more than 600 bird species in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, Central America, the western Andes of Colombia, Sumatra, Madagascar and Southeast Asia.

Of the 600 species, only 108 are currently classified by the IUCN Red List as being at risk of extinction.

The new analysis, however, reveals that 210 of the species face accelerated risks of extinction and 189 of them should now be classified as threatened, based on the extent and pace of habitat loss documented by recent remote sensing."

So, maybe wind turbines are not cost-effective or land- and bird-friendly, but reducing habitats for birds is doing a lot worse.

No comments: