Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wind Farm Slaughter

For nine years, 1989 to 1998, I lived in sight of the Altamont Pass wind farms in California near Livermore. Often none of the turbines were turning, but when they did, they killed about 5,000 large predator birds per year, and large but not counted numbers of bats. This slaughter appeared to be done with impunity, and for what seemed to be little benefit in terms of power generated. I saw some information that the wind farm generated at less than 30% of its rated capacity, and that the power it produced fluctuated constantly, requiring back-up supplement by natural gas and hydroelectric power generation.

In contrast to the lax regulation of bird and bat kill, I recently read about very high fines assessed against Texas oil companies for the deaths of a few common water birds in storage tanks.

Why the one would be treated harshly, and the other leniently, makes no sense. The wind farms are causing horrendous environmental damage for no value – in fact they are an expensive waste of taxpayer and ratepayer money.

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