Wind farms offer a great alternative energy source, but they can pose a grave risk to wildlife. Migratory birds and endangered and protected species, like bald and golden eagles, are often killed by wind mills. Their fast-moving turbines can reach 300 km/h (approx. 186 mph), and are located at heights where birds regularly fly. These conditions result in 140,000 to 328,000 deaths per year in the US (Loss, Marra, & Will, 2013). Still, others can be left maimed. At one California wind farm, estimates are as high as 4,700 birds killed by wind turbines yearly (Shellenberger, 2018). Thus, bird control for wind farms is the mandate, and to make every effort to reduce affecting wildlife.
THE FUTURE OF WIND FARMS & BIRDS
With the growing demand for alternative, renewable, natural energy, wind farms will only increase in popularity. By the year 2030, all 50 US states will have wind farm facilities (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2018). This growth has potential to result in up to 1.4 million bird impacts per year, according to statistical models.
In the EU, energy from wind farms makes up 14% of electricity – an increase from 12% the previous year (Wind Europe, 2019). The EU has a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%-95% of their 1990 levels. Wind power leads in renewable energy, and will eventually supersede fossil fuels (Birds and Habitats Directive Task Force, 2016). In 2018, wind power installations were greater than any other form of electricity generation. That year Denmark produced the most wind powered electricity (41%), Ireland (28%), and Portugal (24%). Germany lead in installations (29%) (Wind Europe). Wildlife experts agree, at the rapid rate of wind turbine installations, bird control for wind farms will need prioritization.
BIRD CONTROL FOR WIND FARMS
Wind farms have experimented with cameras and radar, GPS, bright turbine blades and lights, and turbines that look like trees. They also experimented with ‘smart blades’ which can identify birds flying toward turbines. However, these show little evidence of being effective enough to reliably reduce bird collisions (Bryce, 2016). Traditional wildlife mitigation tools are often insufficient as well, and only temporarily reduce bird presence. The risk of collision is based on location, design, and bird flight patterns. These conditions make the right solution difficult to pinpoint (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service).
HOW ROBIRD® CAN HELP
The RoBird® solution is particularly advantageous, given that even the most effective solutions known to wildlife specialists are not sufficient. Relocation of wind turbines away from highly attractive areas for birds and their migration routes is also exceedingly costly. With this solution, birds can effectively be scared away from nesting, loafing, feeding, and perching. What is more beneficial to wind farms is the ability to intercept migratory flocks and ‘herd’ them away from harm. RoBird® Pilots can fly at a moment’s notice to prevent bird collisions with turbines. It is completely controlled and has the ability to react according to bird flight paths and locations. It’s the ideal solution.
Wildlife preservation is our goal, and with RoBird® we can help to reduce or eliminate bird collisions! If you are interested in purchasing your own RoBird® system, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit an inquiry here. We look forward to hearing from you!
Birds and Habitats Directive Task Force (2016, November 17). BirdLife position on wind energy and birds and bats in the European Union. Birdlife.org. Retrieved from https://www.birdlife.org/sites/default/files/bhdtf_position_2016_wind_energy_birds_and_bats.pdf
Bryce, E. (2016, May 16). Will wind turbines ever be safe for birds? Audubon.org. Retrieved from https://www.audubon.org/news/will-wind-turbines-ever-be-safe-birds.
Loss, S. R, Marra, P. P, & Will, T. (2013). Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States. Biological Conservation. 168, 201-209.
Shellenberger, M. (2018, May 17). If renewables are so great for the environment, why do they keep destroying it? Forbes.com. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (2018, April 18). Wind Turbines. fws.gov. Retrieved from https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/threats-to-birds/collisions/wind-turbines.php
Wind Europe (2019, February). Wind energy in Europe in 2018. windeurope.org. Retrieved from https://windeurope.org/about-wind/statistics/european/wind-energy-in-europe-in-2018/