The world is hungry for energy, and with growing concerns about the exacerbating effects of burning fossil fuels on climate change, there has been a profound demand for and, thus, rapid growth of clean, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. The United States is one of the world’s leaders in wind energy development. As of September 2014, there were 46,600 operational wind turbines, having a total generating capacity of 62,300 mW. An additional 1,254 mW came online in 2014, and there are currently 13,600 mW under construction (Today’s Energy Solutions 2014). In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy recently revised its original estimate of 20% of electrical energy being produced by wind by 2030 to a projected 35% by 2050 (Jackson 2015). This would mean tens of thousands of new turbines, many of which may be 152 to 213 m high, with blades as long as a football field, traveling at up to 274 km per hour. It would also mean hundreds of kilometers of new power lines and towers to carry this power into the national grid (Wernau 2014), both of which pose a substantial risk to wildlife, primarily birds, through collision and electrocution (Manville 2005, Loss et al. 2014).
Special Topic: Wildlife and Wind Energy: Are They Compatible?
Title: Special Topic: Wildlife and Wind Energy: Are They Compatible?
April 01, 2016
Journal: Human-Wildlife Interactions
Publisher: The Berryman Institute
Hutchins, M.; Leopold, B. (2016). Special Topic: Wildlife and Wind Energy: Are They Compatible?. Human-Wildlife Interactions, 10(1), 4-6.