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Wind power makes things difficult for swallows

After a lot of disastrous consequences of hydropower plants have been found, wind power has been considered as the preeminent alternative solution.

However, recent surveys have found that wind power also has certain impacts on the environment and the ecological balance as well. In the US, nearly 600,000 bats have been killed by the wind power plants’ turbines.

Meanwhile, Vietnam plans to set up wind power plants in the areas which are the favorite spaces for salanganes.

According to Nguyen Binh Khanh, Director of the Energy Development Consultancy Center of the Energy Institute, wind farms may harm birds in three ways. They would either upset the birds’ living environment, eliminate the habitat for birds, or kill birds with their turbines.

However, Khanh believes that the problems can be settled if designers set up the wind farms on suitable positions and with reasonable designs.

The farms should be located far from the birds’ major migration routes, far from the places for them to seek food, breeding areas in order to minimize the injuries to birds.

In Vietnam, wind power plants are planned to be set up in the central and southern regions, from Da Nang City to Bac Lieu province, which are also the habitat of salanganes.

Meanwhile, raising salanganes for bird nests has become an important industry in Vietnam. Salanganes’ nests made in Vietnam, with high nutrients, are believed to have the highest quality in the world.

However, Khanh has denied the opinion that wind power plants would kill the salangane industry.

He said that salanganes, like other birds, will not be harmed by the noise of less than 3dB. It would be better to set up wind power plants in the areas at least seven kilometers far away from the salanganes’ habitats, and the plants must not be in the areas where the birds fly to seek food.

In general, Khanh affirmed that wind power is not the biggest threat for birds. Of every 10,000 cases, wind power is the culprit of less than one case only.

Meanwhile, 1,370 cases are caused by electricity transmission lines, 5,820 cases by multi-storey buildings and glass windows.

Regarding the possible influences to human health, the aviation industry and wireless wave, Khanh said the influences would be minimal.

With the latest technology, when turbines run at the designed capacity, they would generate the noise at 100dB, while the noise would be lower for longer distance. It would be 50dB within 300 meters and below 10dB within 2-4.5 kilometers. The noise will nearly have no effects to the subjects at the distance of over 7 kilometers. Meanwhile, in principle, humans can live in the environment with the noise of less than 30dB.

With the turbine noise of 100dB, this would affect radio wave, UHF and VHF, while there would be no effects on mobile communication and radar waves.