They should have told us before Australia was vandalised with 100 wind farms.
But the Greens now finally admit they’re bird-killers.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale through gritted teeth yesterday conceded it might be bad to now put some of these bird-shredders on Tasmania’s Robbins Island.
“This is an area where you’ve got migratory bird species, many of them threatened, nesting shore birds,” he said.
And Di Natale might never have said even that, had he not been forced to respond to former Greens leader Bob Brown.
Brown last week broke the great green silence on the wind farm menace when he denounced the planned farm on Robbins Island as a view-wrecking “hairbrush of tall towers”, and warned: “Wind turbines kill birds.”
You might wonder why these alleged nature lovers stayed silent until last week, while our politicians wrecked one view after another with wind farms that chopped scores of protected wedge-tailed eagles to pieces. Geoff Mosley, who led the Australian Conservation Foundation before it turned radical, is probably right to suggest that new breed of greens put global warming over birds.
“The line has become that to avoid climate change we are going to need 100 per cent renewables,” he told The Australian.
“The loss of species is regarded as unavoidable collateral damage. I don’t take that view at all.”
Yes, the new greens put a hypothetical and exaggerated threat to the planet over a real and present threat to birds, and the ABC is still doing it.
As far as I can tell, our green-captured national broadcaster, usually mad keen to interview Brown when he’s attacking coal or nuclear power, has nowhere reported Brown’s attack on wind farms.
That’s a great pity, because it is time to finally take seriously the issue Brown has belatedly raised.
Of course, wind farms are ugly, and of course they also whimsically produce a totally unreliable electricity – here today, no wind tomorrow – that’s turned our power system into an expensive joke.
But they’ve also been killing many more birds than our planners predicted.
For instance, we were told in its planning stage that Victoria’s Bald Hills Wind Farm would have minimal effect on the local population of the magnificent wedge-tailed eagles, which are a protected species.
In fact, seven young eagles were killed by this farm in just the spring of 2015, along with 12 other birds and 19 bats. And those are the dead birds that researchers could find before scavengers did.
True, this wind farm has tried since to cut the deaths, and we should also remember that far more birds are killed by cats.
But again and again, wind farm crusaders underestimated this danger. For instance, a 2006 report for the federal government on seven Tasmanian wind farms predicted they’d have almost zero effect on the island’s eagles, which include the endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle.
These seven farms would together result in just “the additional death of approximately one bird per annum”.
Instead, just one of those wind farms – in Tasmania’s northwest – killed more than three wedge-tailed and sea eagles a year.
Another example: the Left-wing Australia Institute in 2014 claimed the “average death rate is 1-2 birds per turbine per year”. Note: all birds, not just eagles.
But a study of Victoria’s giant Macarthur wind farm found that each turbine killed more than 10 birds a year, a third of them eagles and other raptors.
The true toll is probably worse than those figures suggest.
Wind farms need many more electricity lines to connect them to the grid, and these lines also kill birds.
None of this should be a surprise, given studies in Europe and the United States.
In fact, a vast forest of wind towers at Altamont Pass, in the US, is notorious for killing more than 600 eagles, hawks and owls each year, even after operators agreed to shut down turbines at the most dangerous times and replace the most bird-deadly.
Across the US, wind farms kill about 500,000 birds a year, including 83,000 raptors, according to a study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
Bats are also killed. Germany’s Federal Association for Scientific Bird Conservation estimates German wind farms kill 200,000 a year.
So call Brown a hypocrite, but at least he’s now drawing attention to something our green groups have for too long ignored.
Join Bob Brown. Save our views. Save the wedge-tailed eagle. (Oh, and save our electricity system.)
Stop these monstrous wind farms.