Protecting endangered birds while building wind turbine generators
As we shift our focus from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we are beginning to see the makings of a greener, wild-life friendly planet. However, researches conducted in recent years have revealed that some methods of generating electricity using renewable resources may impose their own threat to wildlife. For now, let’s shift our focus to wind farms.
Wind farms have many benefits, from being carbon-neutral to providing clean energy. However, it is important to be mindful of the needs of our wildlife. This article breaks down how bird-friendly wind generators can be achieved and how we can design and redesign wind turbines to decrease the number of endangered birds they kill per year.
Endangered birds and wind farms
There are several factors that make wind farms particularly dangerous for birds that are endangered. The first is that wind turbines generate a lot of noise. This noise can be harmful to both birds and bats, as it can disrupt their sleep patterns and cause them to fly into danger.
In addition, the blades on a wind turbine can be very sharp, which means that they can easily injure or kill endangered birds if they get caught in the blades. It is estimated that wind turbines killed over 500,000 birds in 2015, in the United States alone.
Finally, wind turbines often sit on top of buildings or other structures, which means that they can create hazards for endangered birds by creating obstacles that they need to avoid in order to survive.
Heedless wind turbine designs: no longer feasible
It has been argued that it is not possible to build wind farms in a way that will be bird-friendly, as these turbines produce large amounts of noise and vibrations that can disturb the birds. However, recent developments in technology show that this is no longer the case. As the years pass, we witness new innovative technology make entrances to the market with some comforting hope in hand.
Brisbane’s Renewable Energy Solutions Australia unveiled a prototype of the world’s quietest wind turbine recently. According to its makers, this turbine could produce so little sound that it is almost silent to humans. Although such low levels of noise may not be significant enough to affect endangered birds in any serious way, it would certainly prevent them from using the immediate area around the turbines for nesting. In addition to noise pollution, wind turbines also pose a threat to bats that use the turbines for their hibernation sites.
Bird-friendly wind turbine designs
There are many ways to improve the bird-friendly aspect of wind turbine designs, but one of the most important things to do is to create proper habitats for endangered birds far from the turbines. This can be done by installing vegetation and planting trees that act as nesting grounds to attract endangered birds.
Perhaps, the most logical thing to do is to not build wind turbines in areas with high bird density. It is often better to avoid a problem than look for a solution. However, a wind farm can’t be located simply anywhere: there needs to be an abundance of wind flowing through the area in order to produce cost-effective energy. Another obvious solution would be to avoid building wind farms altogether, since there are other means of renewable energy, such as solar power.
Wind farms can, however, be designed to decrease the number of endangered birds they kill. This may come as a surprise, but painting one out of three blades black can decrease the number of birds killed by up to 72%, according to a multi-year study conducted in Norway. Alternatively, each of the blades could have black stripes on them.
The science behind this is quite simple. The motion smear of having three white blades and one black blade registers better in the bird’s vision so that they can avoid the turbine during flight.
In addition, it is important to monitor the most endangered birds that live near wind farms and take action if they appear to be affected by the turbines. As human beings and the guardians of our home planet, sometimes we may have to make a sacrifice for other species.
Benefits of wind energy and the importance of conservation
In order to help protect endangered birds, it is important to understand the benefits of wind energy and the importance of conservation. You can read about how wind energy works in our other articles, published on Four Earths. Wind farms can provide many benefits to both humans and birds, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing renewable energy, and creating jobs.
One of the most important benefits of wind energy is that it is a zero-emission source of energy. This means that wind farms produce no carbon dioxide emissions, which is a major contributor to climate change. By using wind turbines to generate electricity, we are helping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and decreasing our impact on the environment.
Another benefit of wind energy is that it is a renewable resource. Unlike fossil fuel-powered thermal power plants and nuclear power, which rely on finite sources of fuel, wind turbines do not require any resource other than wind to generate electricity.
Wind turbines can continue producing electricity for many years without needing to be replaced. In fact, some studies have shown that if we build wind farms to cover most ideal locations, the clean energy from wind turbines could meet the world’s entire current global electricity demand more than 5 times over.
Wind farms may have a negative impact on the immediate wildlife surrounding them, however, it does save the planet by limiting harmful gaseous emissions. By creating large areas of habitat away from wind farms, we can create new ecosystems where endangered birds can fly and hunt away from the danger of colliding with a giant wind turbine. This can help increase bird populations.
Wind farms can be a great way to generate renewable energy, but they also come with some potential environmental concerns. To help make sure that these wind farms are as bird-friendly as possible, it is important to understand the different types of endangered birds that might be affected and what you can do to minimize their impact. By taking these simple steps, you can help ensure that your wind farm is not only environmentally friendly but also enjoyable for the local wildlife!