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Wind's downside 

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty’s claim that the huge bat kill resulting from the Mountaineer industrial windfarm in West Virginia was an “aberration” is false. The kill rate for bats due to collision with the blades of industrial wind turbines on forested ridgetops east of the Mississippi River is 50-100 bats per turbine per year.

The Rendell administration’s goal of obtaining 10 percent of the Keystone State’s energy from industrial windplants would require 4,000 gargantuan wind turbines covering 500 miles of ridgetop. Since the kill rate for industrial wind turbines in such a setting is 50-100 bats per turbine per year, the mortality for bats would be 200,000 to 400,000 dead bats per year in Pennsylvania.

Bat experts agree that such a high mortality rate is not sustainable because bats are long-lived mammals which bear only one pup annually. Thus the death of that many bats would devastate the population.

Since bats are our primary predator of night-flying insects, we’d see a proliferation of mosquitoes and forest and crop pest insects.

Industrial windplants should be built in locations where their benefits outweigh their costs, such as offshore and in the Midwest, which has been called “the Saudi Arabia of wind.” On Pennsylvania’s forested ridges, the costs of industrial windfarms far outweigh their benefits.

— Alice Laskaris, M.D., Claysburg


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The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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