At first glance wind energy generated from turbines seems like a great renewable energy source, but you might think twice about it if you were a bird in California. That’s because one of the oldest wind farms – the Altamont Pass California wind turbines are responsible for killing thousands of birds each year.
While this problem has had a lot of press, it seems the actual enormity of it might be a bit skewed. You see, this wind farm uses an older technology turbine which has shorter blades. This type of turbine is very hazardous to birds which is why the mortality rate of birds in the Altamont Pass wind field is so high.
Thankfully, modern technology has not only improved the efficiency of turning wind into energy, but it has also improved the mortality rate of birds who are unlucky enough to fly near a wind farm. Modern turbines have much longer and larger blades which are much less likely to kill a bird in flight.
That being said, certain things should be kept in mind when citing a wind farm. We need to take into consideration the impact these blades that are constantly rotating will have on the various species of birds in any one area where the turbines are placed. Placement is definitely a consideration for these farms, but there are constraints in some countries regarding land mass. If we want to generate electricity from wind, then the options aren't always plentiful.
Any area of the world considering moving into the use of wind based energy should try their best to do it in an environmentally responsible manner. There needs to be an understanding that there will be an impact on birds and other types of wildlife when we encroach on where they live. There needs to be an effort made to minimize harm to the animals and also to the blades of the turbine.
Just like anything else, wind power carries with it a certain responsibility to the environment. However, if planned carefully, a wind farm can be a great source of renewable energy that has little impact on the environment and the animals surrounding it.