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Published: Sunday, 12/15/2013


Wind power industry cautious of wildlife

In response to your Nov. 26 editorial “Use the talons”: The wind power industry works hard to minimize its effects on wildlife.

No energy source is completely free of environmental impacts, but the decision America faces is how we will power our country and make choices after weighing the costs and benefits. Saying wind energy cannot be green if it has any environmental impact is the same as saying medicine cannot be effective unless it is free of all side effects.

We in the wind energy industry are proud of our record in addressing our environmental impacts, and have been shown by third-party analysis as having the lowest life-cycle environmental impacts of any form of energy generation.

Duke Energy Corp., which you mentioned in your editorial, has agreed to be held to a higher standard than companies in other sectors. It does so not only by paying a fine for the impacts, but also by agreeing to avoid, minimize, and mitigate future impacts, and conduct research into means for reducing the impacts of others in other locations.

No one takes wildlife impacts more seriously than the wind industry. Unfortunately, some eagles occasionally collide with turbines at some wind farms, but this is not a common occurrence.

Fatalities of golden eagles at modern wind facilities represent only 2 percent of all documented sources of human-caused eagle fatalities. We are striving to reduce these impacts further.

Modern wind power plants collectively are far less harmful to birds than radio towers, tall buildings, airplanes, vehicles, and numerous other human-made objects.

Considering any industry’s effects on the environment, there always is more work to be done. Nonpolluting wind power is striving to improve, while helping to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, which is the greatest threat to all wildlife and our society.


Director of Siting Policy American Wind Energy Association Washington

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