Wind turbines are a ray of hope for the sustainable future of energy. By 2050, wind turbines will contribute as much as 20% of total energy to the world. Additionally, wind turbines promise a positive reduction in greenhouse emissions. However, according to some these have been a curse for bird population.
According to a new study published in Energy Science, earlier reports may have been exaggerated. The study estimates that for each 400 meters, fewer than 3 birds are lost. According to the author, Madhu Khanna, the impact faded away as the distance increased.
Madhu Khanna, a professor at University of Illinois, and his team analysed breeding birds, wind turbines, weather, and land use over a 6-year period. The study conducted in United States covered 1,670 wind turbines and 86 bird observation routes across 35 states.
Over 150,000 birds are seriously injured from wind turbines each year. The study included various direct and in-direct impacts like direct collisions and habitat loss. According to the scientists, the impact also varies depending on the bird species. Grassland birds remained least affected by wind turbines according to the findings.
A New Hope
This study may seem unreliable to a few. It might be because several earlier studies have pointed out wind turbines as a far bigger catastrophe for birds than this study points towards. However, this study covers bird and habitat loss in a far depth as compared to some others.
The study also offered a few promising insights into solutions. New and improved designs of wind turbine can be key to saving birds in the future. Wind turbines can be ideally be placed 1600 meter outside high-density bird areas. It also notes that smaller wind turbines and blades can have much higher impact on healthy growth of bird population.