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Published on November 26th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

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Wind Farm Bird Deaths vs Fossil Fuel & Nuclear Power Bird Deaths

November 26th, 2013 by  


This article was jointly written by one of CleanTechnica’s readers and Zachary Shahan.

It’s a shame when a beautiful (or even an ugly) animal dies. It’s a shame that wind turbines do indeed kill birds. However, every source of electricity we have kills some number of birds. And while solar panels may fare better than anything else, it’s actually clear (and uplifting) that wind turbines fare better than nuclear or fossil-fueled power plants on this front.

Here’s some info on bird kills per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity produced:

  • Wind farms kill roughly 0.27 birds per GWh.
  • Nuclear plants kill about 0.6 birds per GWh.  (2.2x wind)
  • Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)
wind turbines poland

Wind turbines in Poland. (Available for republishing under a CC BY-SA license, with credit going to Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica, and removal of links not permitted.)

OK, so now we know that wind farms are not one of our birds’ biggest problems. And we know that closing nuclear and coal plants and replacing them with wind farms would be better for the birds. Should we stop there?

No, we can make wind farms even safer for birds.

In 2009, there were 12.5 bird kills per MW of installed wind capacity.

In 2012, there were 9.5 bird kills per MW of installed wind capacity.

That’s a 24% decrease. A very major improvement in bird safety. And we aren’t done yet.

Related stories:

  1. Canada Ranks Top Bird Killers, Wind Turbines Not Even Close To The Top
  2. Will Painting Wind Turbine Blades Minimise Bird Collisions?
  3. Wind Turbines Don’t Kill Birds; Coal Plants Do
  4. Bird Deaths Explained! USDA Killing Them

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



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