While most people view Texas as fossil fuel country, away from the hundreds of refineries and chemical plants that dot the coast, wind farms are becoming a trademark of the Lone Star State.
According to the MIT Technology Review, if Texas were a country, it would be the sixth-largest generator of wind power in the world. Similarly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration puts Texas as the top wind power state in the nation, producing twice as much wind energy as the next leading state, Iowa.
But all of this green energy has a price. Texas wind farms kill between 123,000 and 146,000 birds a year, reports The Monitor.
“They’re pushing for carbon-free energy really hard, and obviously wind is a big part of that, and to some degree they’re turning a blind eye to the slaughter that entails,” Jim Chapman, chairman of the Sierra Club’s Lower Rio Grande Valley Group, an environmental group, told The Monitor.
Chapman lives in an area of Texas where wind farms are becoming more common. In 2014, Ikea bought a large wind farm in the region capable of powering 90,000 households.
While Chapman is a fan of the alternative energy, he thinks there should be more regulations and oversight about where these wind farms are built.
“There are no precautions, there are no siting requirements, and not even a requirement that mortality on birds and bats needs to be collected and submitted,” Chapman said.
Still, it’s a bittersweet conversation. We can be thankful that the debate for wind energy in Texas has come far enough to start considering its damage to birds. After all, deciding where to place a wind farm is an easier task than the challenge of cleaning up an oil spill or tackling emissions.
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