Spanish wind farms kill 6 to 18 million birds & bats a year
On 12 January 2012, at the First Scientific Congress on Wind Energy and Wildlife Conservation in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, the Spanish Society of Ornithology (SEO/Birdlife) made public its estimate that, yearly, Spain’s 18,000 wind turbines may be killing 6 to 18 million birds and bats (1). The average per turbine comes down to 333 – 1,000 deaths annually, which is a far cry from the 2 – 4 birds claimed by the American wind industry, or the 400,000 birds a year estimated by the American Bird Conservancy for the whole United States, which has about twice as many turbines as Spain.
Bats are included in the Birdlife estimate, comments Mark Duchamp, president of Save the Eagles International (STEI). “Therefore, supposing for example that wind farms would kill twice as many bats as they do birds, the figures would be: 111 – 333 birds per turbine per year, and 222 – 666 bats per turbine/year. The mortality figures that were recorded in Germany and Sweden in the early nineties are not unusual after all”, he notes. Quoting from a California Energy Commission study: “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.” (2)
Duchamp has always maintained that earlier studies, made when bird mortality at windfarms wasn’t such a hot potato, were more credible than recent ones. “It is a curious business where those consultants who find or predict the lowest mortality land all the contracts. This is what is being asked of them, and this is what they do. This unethical conduct has already condemned the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle to extinction (3), and more recently the Golden Eagle in the United States (4). Another factor is the occultation of carcasses by windfarm employees, as may be seen in theSEO/Birdlife report.” (5)
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