Benjamin Sovacool agrees that wind turbines kill birds and bats, but this University of Singapore public policy professor makes a convincing case that this fact desperately needs context. Reviewing avian mortality from power generation in the June issue of Energy Policy, Sovacool shows that — gigawatt-hour for gigawatt-hour — it is fossil-fired power by a longshot that will ground winged creatures.
Sovacool’s analysis estimates avian deaths throughout the fuel cycle for coal, oil and natural-gas fired power generation:
- Coal mining = 0.02 deaths per gigawatt-hour (GWh). For example, habitat destruction by mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia has killed approximately 191,722 Cerulean Warblers.
- Plant operations = 0.07 bird deaths/GWh. Electrocution at one well-observed power plant in Spain killed 467 birds over two years.
- Acid rain = 0.05 deaths/GWh. Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology estimated in 2002 that acid rain reduced the U.S. wood thrush population by 2–5%.
- Mercury emissions = 0.06 deaths/GWh. Impacts include hampered reproduction and survival, observed in everything from albatross and woodstorks to bald eagles. Continue reading “Winged Creatures Should Fear CO2, Not Wind Turbines”