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Wind Turbines vs Animals

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Submitted By joe2315
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It is said that wind generated electricity is the greenest and most sustainable natural energy source there is. It has the ability to generate large amounts of electricity without polluting the air, water, or general landscape. When several wind turbines are grouped together they are called wind farms. These wind farms offer many benefits to the environment, economy, and people whom are receiving the wind generated electricity. But without proper research and improper planning schemes wind farms are being placed in migratory paths for birds and bats killing or injuring them, attract and kill pollinator insects, and (according to some) decrease the aesthetic beauty of the landscape. The first wind farm in the United States was in Crocheted Mountains, New Hampshire in 1980. Since then they have grown to 119 wind farms in the United States. There are two basic forms of wind turbines, vertical axis and horizontal axis wind turbines. The vertical axis turbine blades have several designs but the commonality between the designs is that they have open spaces some people refer to as lattice spaced openings. Horizontal axis turbine blades look like propellers on an airplane. It is estimated that roughly 573,000 birds are injured or killed annually, roughly 600,000 bats are injured or killed annually and innumerable pollinator insects are killed annually by wind farms. The problem with vertical axis turbines is that the spaces in the blades are wonderful perching and nest building sites for birds when they aren’t moving. So when the blades start to move the birds are injured and the nest and eggs are destroyed. The problem with horizontal axis turbines is that they can run at high speeds so birds are unable to escape the current or are hit while trying to feed on dead or injured birds or insects. Researchers have discovered that simply changing the color of the turbines will decrease the attractiveness of the turbines to insects. Because bats use echolocation to fly at night they have problems locating blades and large amounts get hit because they fly in groups. And due to the difference in air pressure around these wind farms some bats actually have their lung explode due to wind farms. Conservancy groups say that improperly sited wind farms impact wildlife through direct mortality and habitat loss. Several species avoid wind farms thus reducing prime habitat space. Some cities have set up protests, create petitions and sue because they believe that the wind farms that are currently running or scheduled to implemented decrease the aesthetic beauty of the landscape. There are federal and state laws determining locations of wind projects, government review processes, project viability requirements, concerns to human health and safety, environmental impacts and aesthetic considerations. Companies that don’t abide by these regulations are penalized, and have to make restitution for the damages. Wind farms are trying to implement different approaches to reduce fatalities. Some of these changes are smart siting, radar, ultrasonic acoustics, leaving turbines off when wind speeds are low, painting the turbines a different color, designing new turbine shapes and strike detection. It is also suggested that wind farms be moved to platforms off the coast so they don’t harm birds or decrease the aesthetic beauty of the land. With the global interest in clean sustainable energy many companies have included wind farms into the alternative sustainable energy side of the company. There are many incentives for companies to add wind farms into their company. Some of these incentives include tax breaks, grants and guarantees to help companies secure financing to create alternative sustainable energy. Electric companies that have wind farms can produce electricity cheaper along with keeping millions of tons of pollutants out of the air, water and land. The benefits of having wind farms instead of regular plants to the environment include less pollution from not burning fossil fuels, less waste leaks into surface and ground water, less land destruction because there is no need to remove large amounts of earth, wind is free and sustainable and doesn’t contribute to global warming. Wind farms provide enough electricity to power roughly 9 million homes while avoiding 57 million tons of carbon emissions. Wind farms can produce 60 megawatt per hour. Once the wind farms are in place nothing more that maintenance needs to be done. They do not require water, stocking of fuel, cooling and do not have the possibility of leaking any waste. Companies that add wind farms to their industry are estimated to employ about 85,000 more people. This added 85,000 jobs helps drop the unemployment rate for that location. With this added number of people employed it increases local tax bases, revitalizes the economy and create job stability. Communities that receive wind generated electricity get the added environmental benefits that come with clean energy and decreased utility bills. With cheaper rates of electricity people are able to save more, pay off more, and put more money back into the economy. Thus improving the overall economy. Some people believe that wind farms have the ability to significantly decrease the United States dependency on fossil fuels. Currently wind farms contribute 51,630 MW and supplies 3% of the nation’s electricity. It is possible that this number could increase to 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030. These estimates continue to climb as more and more people are interested in using wind farms or personal wind turbines for their business. Companies are eagerly racing to come up with and implement alternative energy sources. With the want and desire to have clean, green sustainable energy we are sure to find the right answer to our energy crisis. Electric companies are now working with environmental specialists to find proper areas to build wind farms. They are able to increase the employment rate of that location, increase rates of green energy usage, increase the overall economy of the area while decrease pollution that would have been made by other forms of producing electricity and decrease the injury/fatality rate of birds, bats and insects. Since wind farms don’t pollute the air, water or general landscape it very well could be the answer we are looking for.

I. References Wind farms. (2014). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
List of wind farms in the United States. (2014). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Types of wind turbines. (2013). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
How do wind turbines kill birds? (2011). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Wind turbines kill 600,000 bats. (2013). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from turbines-kill-600-000-bats
Horizontal axis wind turbines vs vertical axis wind turbines. (2010). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Birds and bats have deadly collisions with wind turbines. (2014). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from deadly-collisions
Wind turbine guidelines. (2012). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from clean-energy.xml
State and Federal regulation of wind farms. (2012). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Incentives to companies for adding green energy. (2013). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Wind farm electricity production. (2012). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from,
Annual wind reports. (2000). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from
Public market report. (2012). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from ublic_Version.pdf_
Wind farm electricity production report. (2012). Retrieved February 18, 2014, from,

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