Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Good News, Bad News

via WorldChanging, this is a wonderful idea: making a 30GW wind farm in the Canadian north, both to replace the costly and polluting diesel fuel that is the norm up there, and also to export back south to the bulk of the Canadian population. Let's please, please do this.

On the other hand, people are still concerned about the (literally) bloody birds.
Thousands of aging turbines stud the brown rolling hills of the Altamont Pass on I-580 east of San Francisco Bay, a testament to one of the nation's oldest and best-known experiments in green energy.

Next month, hundreds of those blades will spin to a stop, in what appears to be a wind-energy first: Facing legal threats from environmentalists, the operators of the Altamont wind farm have agreed to shut down half of their windmills for two months starting Nov. 1; in January, they will be restarted and the other half will be shut down for two months.

Though the Altamont Pass is known for its strong winds, it also lies on an important bird-migration route, and its grass-covered hills provide food for several types of raptors. "It's the worst possible place to put a wind farm," said Jeff Miller, a wildlife advocate at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. "It's responsible for an astronomical level of bird kills."
It's not that I'm sanguine about bird deaths, but is this really progress for the environmental movement? Shutting down the most successful example of wind power in North America to protect fowl? The article goes on to say that whatever the status of Altamont, this isn't something that can be applied to wind power in general:
Stengel also said the Altamont site is an anomaly. Besides its poor location, he said many of the turbines there, some decades old, use older designs, with faster-spinning blades that reach closer to the ground than recent models -- where birds are more likely to be flying as they hunt for prey....

She said other wind farms, in areas with smaller raptor populations, average about two fatal bird collisions annually per tower. Cell-phone towers, with their bright lights and electrical wires, "take out far more birds per tower than wind turbines."
So there's that - wind power is not the bird-killing industry some seem to think it is. If you're serious about saving the birds, you might consider declawing your cat and keeping it indoors, as inhumane as that is.

1 comment:

Dorionhawk said...

I don't get these so called tree huggers. We find a cleaner, safer and renewable energy source which will cut pollution and keep the environment clean and they still have to whine about something. You can't please them all, we must do what's best for our economy and health of our families. Go ahead and build these windmills and then find a way to save a few birds.