Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wind energy is for the birds! Actually it is AGAINST the birds! I thought Wind Energy was clean...Sounds kinda nasty to me...

Wind energy is already expensive to produce (per kilowatt hour, minus the subsidies it recieves) and if well-intentioned interest groups have any input, it will get more expensive. The problem: Birds are victims of the spinning blades and the American Bird Conservatory would like to require additional environmental impact studies and additional regulations imposed to be more "bird-friendly". 

From American Bird Conservatory:

""Wind power has the ability to be a green, bird-friendly form of power generation, but can also adversely affect birds. Birds can die in collisions with the turbine blades (up to 14 birds per megawatt per year in the U.S., with a median rate of around 2.2 birds/MW/Yr according to industry estimates), towers, power lines, or related structures, and can also be impacted through habitat destruction from the siting of turbines, power lines, and access roads. Some birds, such as sage-grouse are particularly sensitive to the presence of turbines, and can be scared away from their breeding grounds several miles away from a wind farm.

Potentially all night-migrating songbirds are at risk of colliding with wind turbines, as are raptors and waterbirds when wind farms are sited in areas they frequent, particularly wildlife refuges. Greater Sage-Grouse are particularly sensitive to the presence of wind turbines near their breeding grounds.

American Bird Conservancy supports alternative energy sources, including wind power, but emphasizes that prior to the approval and implementation of new wind energy projects, potential risks to birds should be evaluated through site analyses, including assessments of bird abundance, timing, and magnitude of migration, and habitat use patterns.

Wind energy project location, design, operation, and lighting should be carefully evaluated to prevent bird mortality, as well as adverse impacts caused by habitat fragmentation, disturbance, and site avoidance. Wind power projects should be sited on areas with poor habitat where possible, such as heavily disturbed lands, (e.g. intensive agriculture). Excellent guidelines to prevent adverse impacts of wind power generation on birds are already in existence, but these need to be turned into mandatory regulations. Read ABC’s complete position statement on wind.
Cost of production is a determinant of Supply. When additional costs are incurred complying with regulations, ceterus paribus , then supply decreases (shifts left). Moving up to the left along our demand curve, from Point "A" to Point "B", we reach a new higher market price ("P1) and a lower market quantity ("75"). (HT: Environmental Economics)

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