Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists. …
But at a minimum, the scientists wrote, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines.
Who cares about birds? What about humans being killed by wind farm accidents? Last week a study by U.S. Fish and Wildlife researchers on the number of eagle deaths by wind turbines ruffled some feathers in the industry (Wildlife Society), but industry supporters were quick to note that other human activities kill more, so who cares?
Does this same philosophy hold true for human deaths? A colleague at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent me a paper from the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum 2013 (Wind Farm Accidents and Fatalities) that was rather enlightening.
In England, there were 163 wind turbine accidents that killed 14 people in 2011. Wind produced about 15 billion kWhrs that year, so using a capacity factor of 25%, that translates to about 1,000 deaths per trillion kWhrs produced (the world produces 15 trillion kWhrs per year from all sources).
These are pretty low numbers. By contrast, in 2011 coal produced about 180 billion kWhrs in England with about 3,000 related deaths. Nuclear energy produced over 90 billion kWhrs in England with no deaths. In that same year, America produced about 800 billion kWhrs from nuclear with no deaths.
Since so many more people die from other causes, can we just forget about it? Like the eagles?
Die Wildkatze ist nicht nur nach europäischem Recht streng geschützt, sondern auch scheu. Deutschland ist daher verpflichtet, “für dieses scheue Waldtier Schutzmaßnahmen zu planen”. …
Bei entsprechendem Wetter versteht man sein eigenes Wort nicht mehr. Offiziell nahezu lautlose “Windmühlen” rauschen lauter als die A 45, was zu den frei geschobenen Zufahrtswegen passen würde, die in ihrer Ausdehnung an die Landebahn eines Flugplatzes erinnern. Wie ein idealer Lebensraum für scheue Wildkatzen sieht das nicht aus. …
Eine “spezielle artenschutzrechtliche Prüfung” für diesen Windpark, datiert auf Oktober 2011, und in Auftrag gegeben von der HSE Regenerativ GmbH aus Darmstadt, bewertet die Auswirkungen der Windkraftanlage auf Vögel und Fledermäuse, nicht aber auf Wildkatzen. …
Die überfahrene Jungkatze, die im September an der B54 nahe Sinnerhöfchen gefunden wurde (die SZ berichtete) überraschte sie nicht. Nach Störungen, wie sie beim Bau eines Windparks auftreten, würden die Katzen ihren Lebensraum erst einmal verlassen. Dabei müssten die Katzen ungewohnte und für sie unbekannte Wege gehen, über Straßen und Autobahnen. Immer wieder käme es dabei zu Unfällen.
‘Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds. This breaks down as approximately 110–330 birds per turbine per year and 200–670 bats per year. And these figures may be conservative if you compare them to statistics published in December 2002 by the California Energy Commission: ‘In a summary of avian impacts at wind turbines by Benner et al (1993) bird deaths per turbine per year were as high as 309 in Germany and 895 in Sweden.’
A newly published peer-reviewed study reports U.S. wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats every year, even while producing just 3 percent of U.S. electricity. The numbers reveal that President Obama’s global warming plan will kill hundreds of millions of birds and bats while doing little if anything to reduce global temperatures.
Andersen ticked off his health problems: “Headaches, loss of balance, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, memory loss, unable to focus, unable to concentrate.”
“When the turbines are operating, it’s sheer hell for me,” added neighbor John Ford. “I don’t sleep like I used to sleep. I’ll wake up at night and my chest is pounding and I’m breathing heavily.”
Ford said his cholesterol has “gone wild” since Wind I started operating, and he was prescribed blood pressure medication for the first time.
Their complaints match others in communities with turbines, such as Fairhaven, Kingston and Scituate.
While many scientists say there needs to be more research, most current research finds wind turbines cannot cause the health problems Andersen and Ford said they have experienced.
A few studies do suggest that noise from wind turbines can disturb sleep, which, in turn, can cause health problems. Other research suggests the effects are psychological — for example, stress caused by annoyance from constantly hearing the rhythmic sound of spinning blades.
OK, that’s enough. While the figures about the death tolls can be debated — being it about birds, bats, wild cats or humans –, I am viscerally against wind turbines. They bring horror to me, because in a very windy day, a ruptured blade can go astray for miles and kill anyone in its way, and there might be no place for you to hide!
They say wind turbines have automatic shutdown mechanisms, but I still don’t feel confident. Would you like to be, in a stormy day, near a wind turbine like this one on M4, in Greenpark, near Reading, Berkshire, England?
Of course, there are smaller turbines, with intelligent shapes that make them almost silent and somewhat less dangerous, like this one…
…but in practice they use the classical ones, which terrify me more than any horror movie.
In Estinnes, Belgium:
In Fluvanna, Virginia:
If the future, we might need to build underground cities to avoid being killed by wind turbines — not to mention the noise they make!
If Hitchcock were still alive, “The Wind Turbines” would have been a sequel to “The Birds”…
P.S.: It’s not just that I fear the wind turbines more than I could fear other man-made unnatural constructions, but they cheat when they count “3,000 coal-related deaths”. No, the coal-based steam power plants didn’t explode to kill 3,000 people — instead, they have most likely counted the dead miners. It’s just, you see, you and me, we don’t go down in a coal mine to risk to be killed, but ruptured blades going on their own across the fields and roads can kill just about anyone!