A national bird conservation group says an expanding wind energy industry poses a mortal threat to migrating bird populations.
The American Bird Conservancy (www.abcbirds.org) announced recently that three iconic American bird species face especially severe threats from wind energy development in the western United States, and mortality rates for all bird species will only get worse as more turbines are built across the country.
“Golden eagles, whooping cranes and the greater sage-grouse are likely to be among the birds most affected by poorly planned and sited wind projects,” said Kelly Fuller, wind program coordinator for the organization. “Unless the government acts now to require that the wind industry respect basic wildlife safeguards, these three species will be at ever greater risk.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently estimates that more than 400,000 birds are already being killed each year after striking fast-moving blades of wind turbines. The conservancy said that figure is expected to rise significantly and likely pass the 1 million mark as wind power projects crop up across the country under a U.S. Department of Energy plan to supply 20 percent of the nation’s power from wind by 2030.
Future wind turbine projects under consideration include Southwest Virginia. BP (British Petroleum) Wind Energy and Dominion Virginia Power are currently assessing areas of Wise and Tazewell counties for potential wind turbine projects. An area stretching along the Kentucky border from Big Stone Gap to near Pound is eyed for up to 60 turbines if considered suitable.
Read the full report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.
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