Clean Power

Published on November 26th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


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

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, 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.

  • Why do you keep lumping coal with nuclear? The NREL made it clear in a recent study that renewables can’t do it alone, not even close. If or until we manage to get rid of fossil fuels, it would be real smart to keep nuclear going. The idea that we can eliminate both simultaneously in the time frame needed is absurd. So is the claim that nuclear kills more birds than wind turbines per unit power produced. The anti-nuclear energy argument has jumped the shark.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You are right. Renewables can’t do it alone.

      It will take storage and load-shifting to run a 100% renewable grid.

    • Peter Gray

      Who’s lumping nuclear with coal? I don’t, although I’m skeptical of the latest crop of claims about super-safe, cheap reactors – in no small part because they come from the same sources and make the same promises as the previous crop and the ones before that. Wildly optimistic promises that didn’t come close to fruition. I’m just as skeptical about numerous gee-whiz solar and battery and flying car breakthroughs reported uncritically on this site.

      I doubt you’ll find many pro-renewables folks around here who advocate shutting down nukes that are already running and meeting reasonable safety standards. And I for one suspect that Japan is over-reacting by shutting down all its reactors – even in light of the TEPCO arrogance and mismanagement that produced Fukushima.

      If we leave aside the strawman of shutting down existing reactors, the question is whether we can make better carbon progress by putting public resources into nuclear or into solar, wind, biofuels, and energy storage. I don’t know what you have in mind by “in the time frame needed,” but more important than some distant deadline for total replacement is to bend the fossil fuels curve downward – early, like 20 years ago, but failing that, now. If we bet on new nuclear, how soon can it realistically pay off, compared to wind and solar?

      In my ideal world, ALL energy systems would pay for all the significant negative externalities that we can identify, using the best current estimates. As an economist, I see no reason to subsidize any of them, except: 1) as a second-best way to make up for other unjustified subsidies; or 2) to jumpstart technologies that for some reason cannot be commercialized by private industry. We’ve done the latter with nuclear for 70+ years, for better or worse, and more recently with renewables. As a stopgap, we could subsidize nuclear and renewables to balance the small explicit and gigantic implicit subsidies for fossil fuels. But where’s the rationale for subsidizing all energy consumption? I don’t see one, since there don’t seem to be any positive externalities involved.

      Far better would be to tax according to the damages, which is the most efficient and effective way to internalize externalities. The obvious first step is a carbon tax. In one stroke, that would eliminate the need for efficiency standards, carbon footprint calcs, and many tax breaks for wind and solar. And yes, wind farms should pay for bird kills, but so should everyone else: powerlines, cooling towers, drivers, skyscrapers with energy-efficient glass, cat owners… How much? I don’t know what the societal value of a bird is (even though I have pet ones that I love), but surely our current estimate of $0 is wrong. By the way, shouldn’t all energy types also pay for their own liability insurance and waste disposal? (yes, you, nuclear)

      Can we agree on the above? If not, what’s your better idea?

  • Mary

    Misleading, incomplete, non-scientific data and no discussion of specific species impact… this is a completely irrelevant article. It might surprise readers to know that industrial wind turbines do, in fact, rank in the top three when it comes to deaths scientifically monitored and recorded regarding large raptors. In 2011 a group of actual scientists who do not guess at numbers met in Fort Collins Colorado to discuss the “Uncertain Future of Golden Eagles in North America”. 1) Loss of Habitat 2) Transmission lines/electrocution 3) Industrial wind turbines…

    • GRLCowan

      Prompted by criticism from Paul Lorenzini ( ), Sovacool acknowledges faults in the paper at .

      If wind turbines are killing *people*, it can’t be very many, right? So the rare occasions when it happens should be newsworthy.

      Does anyone here know of the world’s media giving wind turbines a free pass on any recent fatal accidents?

      • Bob_Wallace

        The world’s media is probably giving wind farm deaths a free pass for the same reason they give nuclear plant deaths a free pass.

        People get killed building stuff and running stuff. There’s no news there. When people die from a caterpillar rolling over them on a wind farm or from falling from a ramp to a concrete floor in a nuclear plant that is local news. It will appear in the local paper. It will not be national or world news any more than the painter who falls from a ladder while touching up the trim on a three story building.

        BTW, Sovacool is not acknowledging faults in his paper. He is lighting fire to the strawmen that Atomic Rodney published.

        Why did you misrepresent Sovacool’s article?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Let me be more blunt –

        Why do you outright lie about Sovacool’s rebuttal to the POS paper Lornezini wrote?

  • shecky vegas

    VAWT. QED.

    • Bob_Wallace

      VAWT. Great if they worked. So far no one has made a VAWT that produced electricity at an affordable price.

    • Peter Gray

      Huh? Proves what? Even the bird safety claim is speculation, and as Bob says, they haven’t competed with HAWT, despite decades of effort (see You’re welcome to put your investment $ into VAWT, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

      • Bob_Wallace

        VAWTs would probably be worse for grouse like the Prairie Sage Hen which is thriving under HAWTs.

        • Peter Gray

          I assume you mean machines with blades close to the ground? If VAWTs ever become viable, I’d guess they will also be mounted high on towers, to avoid losses from being low in the wind gradient.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The 200+ large VAWTs that were built in the early days of wind farms were ground mounted.

          • Peter Gray

            I know the ones you mean – egg beater style rather than like a vertical paddlewheel. Makes sense that the former would work that way – the working portion of the blade is up pretty high, and the hub parts, near ground and at the top, put out little power anyway. And those portions have low velocity, so might pose little threat to low-flying fowl.
            The paddlewheel VAWTs that seem to be the current incarnation wouldn’t fit that description of the egg beater, and to have any chance of paying off, I’d bet on them being mounted high. But I wouldn’t bet on them with real cash…

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you have some interest in wind turbines you might want to visit Paul Gipe’s site, he’s pretty knowledgeable about wind.


            Here’s a piece from his site that lays out the basic problems of VAWTs.


            To me, the telling thing is that we gave VAWTs an honest try 30 or so years ago along with all sorts other designs. HAWTs with only one blade, lots of blades, rotor in front or behind the nacelle, etc.

            Now with about 250,000 turbines up and running we see great similarity of design. I would guess cost/efficiency has caused that standardization and all those other ideas were dead branches.

          • Peter Gray

            I’m quite familiar with wind turbines and aerodynamics, and have written some published articles on wind power years ago.

            You’re right that convergent evolution is at work in producing one dominant, viable design: 3 long, thin, tapered VA blades upwind of the nacelle. Same model, with subtle mods, across a wide range of scale. Absent some dramatic gain in material strength/cost, I wouldn’t expect to see much departure from that pattern.

            Generally, you can’t do any better than a high-aspect-ratio wing flying at a constant angle of attack. Thus the attempts to build a 1-blade turbine – which predictably failed due to highly assymmetric loading. 2 blades is plausible, but too unstable, esp. when passing through vertical. Also, high tip speed can be an issue with fewer blades. Three blades provide stability w/o too much loss through interference. Blades behind nacelle makes pointing and stability easier, but at an efficiency and stress cost when they pass through pylon wake turbulence.

            Before pursuing any radical new (or warmed-over old) design, common sense would dictate looking at aircraft propellors and rotors, which solve essentially the same problem. See any airplanes with egg beater propulsion devices? No? Then it’s likely not going to work on a generator, either.

            For some reason, aviation attracts an endless stream of half-informed dreamers (if I weren’t so polite I might say “crackpots”). Flying car, anyone? Since it also involves aerodynamics, wind power seems to share some of that.

            Your 2nd Gipe link is for a missing page, but I read one of his VAWT critiques and agree. His Sky Windpower critique also looks sound.

  • Pingback: Wind Turbine Power Article | Lansdowne Pa. Green Offers()

  • While it’s heart breaking to see a bird be struck by a turbine blade, as noted, it pales in comparison to the omnicide of burning coal. No one ever died of lung or heart disease from being too close to a wind generator or solar panel. Burning coal kills way more than birds, up to and including humans. In fact it will probably lead to killing us all if we don’t get serious about stopping the practice. Of course, we can’t simply stop without having a viable way to replace the electrical generation that is the whole point of burning coal. It’s truly a “rock and a hard place” situation.

    • Mary

      Air quality has been steadily improving. Bats, which are mammals, die from barotrauma when they get close to industrial wind turbines – their lungs explode and the bones in their wings break. Humans do not suffer the immediate effects because of body mass, but that may change as we continue to ignore science and follow perception based policy. Industrial wind has it’s place in the energy mix, but if we ignore the problems we are no further ahead but are only replacing one set of problems with another. That sounds like a failure based economic and environmental model.

      • Yes, air quality is improving. I suspect that having decommissioned 106 coal plants recently could be what is driving that fact. Also, could you kindly point me to any scientific peer reviewed paper that proves that bats die from barometric trauma. If it were true I think that we would be seeing bat lungs implode as adverse to explode. But hey, collage physics was a long time ago and maybe things have changes as I’ve become an old man.

        • Mary

          No, air quality has been steadily improving since before the decommissioning. According to the Environmental Quality Board in Minnesota the driving force behind the improvements is retrofitting of coal plants with scrubbers and enforcement of the Clean Air Act. As for bats, a great source is the USGS and Bat Conservation International:

          • Bob_Wallace

            Scrubbers do not remove CO2.

            CO2, if we don’t control it, will wipe out trillions of birds and drive thousands of species to extinction.

            You need to learn how to look at problems and solutions in terms of relative damage/cost.

      • A Real Libertarian

        “Industrial wind has it’s place in the energy mix, but if we ignore the
        problems we are no further ahead but are only replacing one set of
        problems with another. That sounds like a failure based economic and
        environmental model.”

        No, a failure based model is demanding something perfect come along before we change something that’s not working.

        • Mary

          But natural gas IS working.

          • A Real Libertarian

            No it isn’t.

            Plus coal.

          • Mary

            Wind only works with coal and natural gas as back-up….that does not represent REAL change.

          • Mary

            Except in Denmark, where they rely upon hydro to back up wind.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You do realize that we use hydro to back up nuclear and coal in the US, don’t you?

            As we close coal and nuclear plants that hydro is freed up for use with renewables.

          • A Real Libertarian

            No matter how often you repeat a lie, it doesn’t become the truth.

            You know that right?

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Mary. Renewables can use storage.

  • Deep Time

    This is akin to people deriding the Tesla because there have been three fires: a consistent failure to mention how many fires occur with ICE vehicles.

  • Paulbee

    I looked at the source material:


    At least three meaningful limitations concerning these estimates deserve to be
    mentioned. First, none of them account for avian species diversity. That is, they
    assume that ‘a bird is a bird is a bird.’ Biological differences between species is not
    accounted for, essentially meaning a dead raptor has the same significance as a dead
    sparrow or starling, even though the former is larger, longer-lived, and higher up the
    trophic level.

    Also, deaths from Nuclear are from open pit uranium mines (OLD ABANDONED MINES) and tall cooling towers.

    Is there a question of Apples versus Oranges here? We build perhaps hundreds of Windmills over large swaths of land, to be the equivalent of one nuclear plant. If we were to attempt the Build out of windmills to cover the Planet, the wind deaths will rise astronomically.

    Something is not quite right in this post, it does not explain the context to readers.

    • Matt

      That is why deaths are listed by GWh produced. To make the comparison closer to apple to apple.

      • Paulbee

        Please refer to my response to Bob above

    • Bob_Wallace

      The data is in terms of bird kills per GWh of electricity produced.

      Hundreds of wind turbines replacing a nuclear reactor would kills 2.2x fewer birds than the reactor they replace.

      This is very clear, Paul. You anti-wind, pro-nuclear, pro-coal people are so damned dishonest.

      • Paulbee

        No it is Quite honest if you think it through. The Uranium mines are fixed, and mordern mines do not expose taillings..( Some of them should not even be attributed to Nuclear power plants, but to US cold war bomb creating effort of the past).

        We can Crank out more GW of power from the same mines we have today. Whereas Wind Farms pose increasing danger with every new Windmill erected.

        • Bob_Wallace

          When you nuclear people clean up your open tailings pits that are killing birds get back to us. Until then you’ve got no talking points.

          Oh, and figure how to keep birds from crashing into your cooling towers while you’re at it.

          • paul98118

            Listen carefully wind zealot: the tailings are mainly from the weapons’ programs. Modern uranium mines for commercial electricity do not use these obsolete methods.

          • Paulbee

            Yes some birds die from crashing into cooling Towers. However, these towers are not located in areas where Eagles or other Highly endangered species abound.

            Another news you will be happy to hear is that there are plans for Nuclear plants that don’t use cooling towers.

            Finally I do believe in AGW.

      • Mary

        Such a humorous comment given the recent news about organized crime and bankers setting records for fraud, illegal trading and money laundering through industrial wind.

      • danS

        Bob – Paul’s reply was pretty clear and easy to understand. I think it’s you who are dishonest to yourself as indeed are most environmentalists who are dragging us further down the line towards climate change with their ideological views not being based in fact. It’s a sad fact that those who care the most are doing the most damage on this issue by refusing to listen.

        • A Real Libertarian

          Do you know what a gWh is?

          • danS

            Yes – do you?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Then how does using wind to displace nuclear, which kills 2.2x as many birds per gWh as wind, kill more birds?

          • danS

            In Paul’s answer it is very clear. The numbers used in the survey were weighted by a statistic which wont go up with energy output. Imagine the majority of wind farm bird deaths were actually happening in a particular factory of a type that is no longer being built.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So nuclear kills 2.2x as many birds as wind.

            And the majority of winds deaths come from types that aren’t built anymore.

            And this tells you nuclear is better for birds?

          • danS

            No!! I said “imagine”, that is not the case with wind farm (more wind farms will kill more birds) but the most influential factor for nuclear wont go up with more reactors.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “No!! I said “imagine”, that is not the case with wind farm (more wind farms will kill more birds)”

            Then why do you people keep going on about Altamont Pass?

            “but the most influential factor for nuclear wont go up with more reactors.”

            Which is?

          • danS

            I don’t know who “you people” is. Personally, I’m someone who is concerned with climate change and damage to the environment – are you from some opposing point of view as you suggest?

            My response was to Bob’s which was questioning the logic of what Paul had written, which is there for you to read above and pretty clear to me. You’re free to question Paul’s references, I haven’t corroborated them and Bob didn’t appear to, but if his references are correct his conclusions are also.

            I have no idea what Altamont Pass is, feel free to enlighten me.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “You people” are the ones concerned about climate change only insofar as it lets you hawk nukes.

            Don’t you think you should know what you’re talking about before you start talking?

          • danS

            “”You people” are the ones concerned about climate change only insofar as it lets you hawk nukes”

            You’re an imbecile, has anybody on this list talked about using nuclear weapons at any point? Do you think Patrick Moore or Stephen Tindale are motivated by nuclear war, do they just want to bomb people – is that why they left Greenpeace? Do you know what you are talking about, seriously….

          • A Real Libertarian

            So you don’t think you should know what you’re talking about before you start talking.

            Glad we cleared that up.

            P.S. Nukes are nuclear power plants, duh.

          • danS

            Right – so my opinion only matters if I use your colloquialisms, Paul’s logic only makes sense if you agree with the conclusion and I’m “hawking nukes”, which I’m surprised I have time for in my day job which has nothing to do with this discussion….

          • A Real Libertarian

            Your opinion will be disregarded if don’t have a clue what’s going on.

            Would you listen to someone talking about Algebra if they didn’t know what the “=” meant?

          • danS

            Ha ha – Yes I would actually. If they had the insight to discuss it without preconception that would lead to a useful conversation. I think more of that is needed here.

            BTW – I think the funniest thing about your posts is the irony in your posting name 😉

          • A Real Libertarian

            Yes, it is ironic that the greatest defenders of property rights stole the name from us socialists, but they’re hypocrites.

          • Pete

            But what that got to do with Bird and wind gen?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Altamont Pass Wind Farm (just east of San Francisco) was our first/one of our first wind farms. It was very hard on birds. We learned a bunch of things we shouldn’t repeat going forward.

            It was located on a migratory flight path. Bad siting. Those problems are now largely avoided by carefully studying flight paths before hand and sometime by shutting down turbines during critical times.

            Many of the turbines were mounted on short grid structure towers (think power tower for transmission lines). Raptors would perch on the crossbeams and watch for something tasty on the ground. They would launch themselves toward their prey and get chopped by the rapidly spinning blades.

            We no longer use grid towers, but monopods which offer no perches. And we mount turbines much higher off the ground. The higher mounting is mainly to get up into the better quality wind at 80m or so. But it also gets the blades up higher and away from birds feeding along the ground.

            Altamont Pass is a favorite talking point among the anti-wind crowd. They like to use the early days bird kill numbers and infer that all wind farms kill birds at that rate. Not even Altamont kills birds at that rate any longer.

          • Pete

            No that wrong its the current wind gen that are in question.

            Well there are no reported to say that nuclear effects birds.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nuclear reactors have cooling towers.

            Birds fly into cooling towers and die.

            Two tower are likely to kill twice as many birds as one tower.


          • danS

            “Two tower are likely to kill twice as many birds as one tower.”

            That’s a joke right? You’re not saying that the question the ratio of cooling towers to wind towers?

          • Bob_Wallace

            These are coal towers, but I suspect you can understand the similarity…
            A study at a single Florida coal-fired power plant with four smokestacks recorded an estimated 3,000 deaths in a single evening during a fall migration.

            Night flying birds seem to be attracted to lit stacks/towers.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Here are some facts for you dan.

          1. Nuclear energy is expensive. The most objective price we have is 16 cents per kWh.

          Wind has been selling in the US for the last few years for an average of 4 cents per kWh.

          Solar is selling in the SW US for 5 cents per kWh.

          2. Nuclear takes a long time to bring on line. Six years would be quick for a new reactor. The new Finnish rector is going to take about 16.

          Large wind farms are built in less than two years, sometimes less than one.
          Large solar arrays are installed in weeks/months.

          3. Nuclear energy brings with it dangers. Used fuel which will remain very radioactive for many, many generations. Millions of tons and millions of gallons of shorter half-life radioactive material which must be safely stored for decades until is is safe enough for disposal. The potential of a melt down. The potential for being a terrorist target.

          Most people don’t want to live around nuclear plants which make them hard to site.

          4. Nuclear plants are hard to site. See: #3 – danger.

          In addition, nuclear reactors require cooling water sources. With heat waves, more frequent floods and droughts it’s getting harder to find interior sites for reactors. Most of our coastal areas are built up and people don’t want a reactor in their backyard.

          Now, we could solve climate change with nuclear energy. And I backed doing that at one time.

          But with the rapidly falling price of renewable energy we have a better option. We can avoid the worst of climate change by choosing the least expensive, fastest to install and safest technologies.

          • danS

            You should see my mention of France for a cost reference. The proof to me is in what has and hasn’t been done, I don’t have omnipotent engineering knowledge but I can see what is happening.

            Also, I have commented on the US centric nature of these posts – solar in the SW US is not much use to someone living in UK and wind doesn’t blow everywhere either, tidal also has it’s limitations though that I hope we can harness some day. What would low altitude central areas in places like china and siberia do – dam more rivers or wait for the sun to shine? Storage isn’t much use if you’re just not getting enough out of it.

            NIMBY is not exclusive to nuclear and is a byproduct of the negative press it gets, as opposed to wind which is aesthetic. The lengthy “online” time in the UK at least are due to over legislation as are many of the costs, support for nuclear from environmental groups could help remove those hurdles.

            France uses 59 reactors to power 50% of 60m people you’re going to build and plan a hell of a lot less “things” (wind turbines, solar panals, dams) to meet the worlds needs using nuclear.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You want to use the cost of electricity from reactors built in France many years ago and now paid off for an estimate for the cost of electricity from a newly built reactor?

            What do you not understand about financing? Possibly everything?

            Look, Dan, you’re a bit light on information. If you’d like to know how we can power the world do some reading. Go up to the top right of the page and look for 100% renewable. Be sure to read both the Jacobson and Deluchhi and the Budischak, et al. papers.

            Check into the amount of offshore wind potential the UK has. Find out something about the tidal resources in the area. Learn about E-Highway2050 which is designed to pull everything from Iceland to Eastern Europe and down to Greece, Italy and Morocco into one gigantic grid – moving solar, wind, tidal, hydro, geothermal and storage from where it is abundant to where power is needed.

          • danS

            That’s always the argument isn’t Bob, you don’t know enough to talk about this subject…. The first line of defense when your ideology is being criticised.

            I haven’t read as much as you about the subject of renewable energy absolutely, but really that’s not necessary these issues are about what people have done and will do, not what *could* if everybody is prepared to buy in on ideas behind the schemes. Specifics aren’t the issue here and they often make you blind. As I outlined earlier, Coal powered stations are what are being built now, not renewables to any significant extent (I don’t need to read about E-Highways to know that, I can just watch the news). Nuclear is not being built because of demonising by people like you, it’s safe, cheap and climate friendly.

            I am completely aware of the potential of UK renewable energy, I’m not *just* thinking about the UK though. Global warming has been high on the UK agenda for over 30 years and still with our huge renewable energy potential we don’t have any plan for 100% renewable power. If it wasn’t for the anti nuclear lobbying we’d have more nuclear though. Germany, as I mentioned, is also still building coal stations.

            France however is sitting there with a very low carbon footprint, with 75% of their electricity generated from nuclear. Proof that something that can be done about climate change, as opposed to pie in the sky E-Highways. If you really cared more about climate change than upholding your ideology, then you’d spend a lot less time bashing nuclear and let more solutions to the table than ones that don’t even exist yet.

          • A Real Libertarian

            $0.16/kWh is cheap to you?

            Nukes must die in order for climate change to be stopped. As long as the nuclear industry is leeching time, money and attention from actual solutions renewables will always have a disadvantage against fossil fuels.

          • danS

            What has that got to do with anything and how does is respond to my post?

            I see, that’s why Germany is building more coal plants – because they’re too focused on nuclear and aren’t thinking about renewables, is that the kind of logic that works in your mind?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “What has that got to do with anything and how does is respond to my post?”

            You said nuclear is cheap. I pointed out $0.16/kWh isn’t cheap. I really don’t know what more you want.

            “I see, that’s why Germany is building more coal plants – because they’re too focused on nuclear and aren’t thinking about renewables, is that the kind of logic that works in your mind?”

            Germany is building a few coal plants to replace a much greater amount being closed, nuclear has already been replaced with renewables.

          • danS

            How does that number mean anything out of context? France has cheap energy which it exports and UK subsidises renewables to a huge extent – that’s context.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, please give us the cost of electricity from a recently built nuclear reactor.

            The cost of electricity is calculated on “loan payments”, the capex and finex and on the operating expenses of the plant (along with a couple other things).

            For a newly built reactor the loan payment part can be 13 cents of the 16 cent cost of electricity. And can go on for 35 years. (That comes from the purposed Hinkley Point UK plant.)

            If a plant has zero loan payments to make then cost is based on operating expenses. France’s reactors have no loan payments.

            Think of this way. If you’re working out your monthly budget the percentage in the ‘car’ line is going to be a lot higher if you have a $500 car payment and a $100 gas bill vs. only a $100 gas bill for your paid off car.

          • A Real Libertarian

            $0.16/kWh is the price of new nuclear.

            Note: not the price of “magic thorium/molten salt/Generation III+/Generation IV that can totally be build in a decade or three” the price of nuclear that a contract can be signed for now.

            France is irrelevant unless you’re hiding a magic leprechaun that makes nuclear plants for free.

          • Pete

            Germany is building more coal plants because solar failed to work, the cost of electricity is so high that coal power is the only way to keep the cost down as solar power .

          • Bob_Wallace

            Germany’s new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. These new plants were planned and construction was started prior to the decision to close nuclear plants.

            By 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

            Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing. And the new coal plants are partially load-following.

            As of November 2013 some 28 power plants with a collective capacity of 7,000 MW – roughly equivalent to the capacity shutdown in Chancellor Merkel’s sudden nuclear phaseout in March 2011 – have been submitted for decommissioning. This would be an 8% decrease in Germany’s coal burning capacity.

            Some will be permanently closed and a few ‘mothballed’ in case they might be needed in the future.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Nuclear is not being built because of demonising by people like you, it’s safe, cheap and climate friendly.”

            Prove your claim that nuclear energy is cheap.

          • danS

            Bob – the Hinkley Point reactor is not a great deal for the UK, which I’m sure is why you want me to comment on that specifically as it’s a well known fact. The strike price is £92.5 MWh, which is not great – twice as expensive as the current going rate for electricity in the UK. This does however compare to the strike price for offshore wind farms of £155 MWh (the UKs most viable renewable). That might be close enough for you to think why not just pay the extra 50% and go for renewables? But, as is fairly easy to understand, 100% usage of these renewables would increase this cost massively due to the fact that they are not on all the time, as is well documented. Those sorts of numbers are why governments stick with coal rather than renewables, the saving grace for nuclear in the UK being that gas prices are expected to rise significantly, well within the lifetime of the reactor – not as high as the 100% renewable solution would cost however.

            That said, the cost of the Hinkley is down to things like labour costs and the complex safety mechanisms needed to meet the designs of current gen light water reactors, next gen designs (which have been mentioned by others on this post) are expected to lower the cost by, amongst other things, not using high pressure water in the cooling system and working at ambient pressure, removing the danger of the coolent “boiling” off if you don’t have umpteen safety measures, that’s easy to understand from a technical perspective isn’t it?

            The later will enable developed countries to have cheaper nuclear (like France). The former is not as much of an issue to developing countries where labour is cheaper and the need is greater. But, still, coal is still very cheap to them and horror stories about nuclear can be a disincentive – hence my view that nuclear bashing just leads to more CO2 in the atmosphere.

            Incidentally, I’m glad you finally recognised within your post that nuclear is safe and climate friendly, by only picking me up on the “cheap”. That does make it all the more sad that you discredit it so much though, when climate change is such an important issue.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, you’re just talking crap. The Hinkley price is from an open bidding process. Any company that could have built a cheaper plant could have stepped up and bid for less.

            The price is in the ballpark of the open bids in Ontario, Canada, San Antonio, Texas and Turkey. Actually the Turkey bid was even higher, 21c/kWh. And they have cheaper labor in Turkey than in the UK.

            In no way did I recognize that nuclear is safe. Do not attempt to put words in my mouth.

            Nuclear has a low lifetime carbon footprint, similar to wind and solar. That is nuclear’s only redeeming quality and it is insufficient to override the cost, time to install and hazard problems.

            If anyone ever builds a cheaper (and safer) reactor then we can give it a consideration. Until then all this Gen IV stuff is wish-guessing.

          • danS

            Please read my answer, I didn’t say anyone could do it cheaper in the UK right now. I did compare it to renewables though, which are considerably more expensive in UK as indeed they are in many countries. China, India and Russia are all building nuclear power stations right now, do you seriously think they’re doing that in spite of the fact that renewables are much cheaper? The labour costs are definitely an issue in developed countries as are the extra costs, something which future reactors aim solve by being inherently more safe (doing away with expensive safety measures) and better manufacturing techniques. Meanwhile nuclear is still cheaper than renewables, maybe not in Texas but certainly in the UK, and safe.

            I’d love it if you were right Bob, because I care a lot about this stuff, and so would many governments I’m sure – energy costs are always a vote winner and environmentally safe cheap energy, how could it be better? Sadly, the proof is in the pudding.

            “A Real Libertarian” – seriously, I just want to be sure, you actual work for the coal board don’t you? You just post here to put people off the ideology you’re pretending to represent?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Coal is dead, it just has a bit more time to suck blood before the garlic kicks in.

            But it would be a hell of a lot easier to stake it without Reinfield shouting “More Nukes! More Nukes!”

          • Bob_Wallace

            First, let’s set Russia aside. Who knows what Tzar Putin is doing?

            A few years ago renewables were expensive and nuclear looked like a good route to getting off fossil fuels. But then the cost of renewables fell and things changed.

            Now onshore wind and PV solar are much cheaper than new nuclear and the price of both wind and solar are expected to keep dropping. They are now affordable and on their way to being cheap.

            China and India made nuclear plans some years ago. Since then they have not increased the number of reactors they intend to build but both have greatly increased their wind and solar programs. Many other countries have dropped or “postponed” new reactors and are installing renewables.

            We are in a time of transition. Some people still haven’t quite gotten the message of how affordable renewables have become. (Some don’t want to believe.) It will take a little time for people to understand the cost of renewables and how to utilize them.

            “Meanwhile nuclear is still cheaper than renewables, maybe not in Texas but certainly in the UK, and safe.”

            No, Dan. Nuclear is not cheaper. In no way is nuclear cheaper.

            You want to compare the cost of a reactor that was built 30 years ago and now paid off to renewables? Fine. Let’s compare it to solar panels installed 30 years ago and now paid off.

            The operating cost for a paid off nuclear plant is 3c to 6c/kWh. Nuclear plants that have 5c and higher operating costs are being shut down.

            The operating cost for paid off solar is about 1c/kWh.

            And nuclear is not safe. Chernobyl. Fukushima. Armed guards. Emergency backup systems. Deadly radioactive used fuel.

            Is dynamite safe? It won’t blow up on you (usually) if handled correctly. Does that make it safe?

          • danS

            Bob – I just gave you the numbers you asked for. Here’s a reference:


            This article indicates the struggle when strike prices were lower earlier this year:


            I’m sure you’re aware of the strike price for Hinkley, otherwise you wouldn’t have asked me about it, which I’m agreeing is high and I’m sure you realise that 100% renewables are more expensive than 5% – 20% renewables. I’m sure you realise that the numbers you are giving for solar are highly dependent on where you are and that they’re not an option for many countries.

            Dynamite isn’t safe Bob and neither is coal, gas or oil. That’s the whole point, I wish you’d get it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, do you realize that in order to incorporate even a moderate amount of nuclear on a grid storage is needed?

            “Dynamite isn’t safe Bob and neither is coal, gas or oil. That’s the whole point, I wish you’d get it.”

            You can stop this sort of stupid stuff. I fully understand the need to get off fossil fuels. And I fully understand why nuclear is not the route.

          • danS

            Bob – that’s akin to the bird comparisons put forward in this article. Counter-intuitive and unhelpful for reducing CO2 emissions.

            – Do you mean because it’s a baseline power which has difficultly in dealing with demand fluctuations? So is coal which is what we are trying to replace?

            – I’m not proposing 100% nuclear in the way that you’re proposing 100% renewables. I believe renewables are part of the equation.

            – The unpredictability of wind means you need to allow for the worst case. That would be averaged over the window which your storage is designed for. As an example, you might have enough wind 25% of the time, but that might be an average over a whole year where for a month in the summer you only have enough wind 5% of the time. That would mean to only need a 4x ratio for the number of wind farms (to match the price of a mixed solution) you need storage that could last a whole year, or you could have storage that could last a month but 20x the wind farms. Then of course there’s climatic variations year on year, some years might be less window, what do you do there? That’s a very different problem from demand fluctuation.

            Before you ask Bob, I’m just applying common sense, I haven’t read this anywhere. But, most people who observe the weather from one day to the next will understand the above comparison.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “I’m just applying common sense”

            That’s why no one listens to you. Renewables don’t run on “common sense”, they run on facts.

            And all the “common sense” in the world won’t change the fact that it isn’t flat.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, you need to grasp the concept of cost.

            Seize it, hold it tight to your bosom. Cleave to it.

            And you need to read –




            If you had a better understanding of how the wind blows you wouldn’t be talking about ‘25% of the time wind’ and ‘month long storage’. Common sense is great but it doesn’t work very well when it is doesn’t have a factual grounding.

          • danS

            Again, please read my post. I said “as an example”, clearly I realise wind isn’t a binary system – I don’t accuse you of being quite that dumb and I don’t believe your accusing me helps your argument.

            What I laid out above is a simple example for you to understand, if you don’t agree with it please comment on the exact problem you have with the logic involved. Another more complex example doesn’t help discussion as the problem is very simple one – being “wind doesn’t blow with the same strength all of the time”, which most people would agree with.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, you can either read the papers I linked or you can talk to yourself.

          • danS

            Bob – the first paper is about a mix of solar and wind in CA, I’m not sure why you attached that?

            The second states that in the *central USA* 33% to 47% of the average windpower can be used as a baseload. How is that different from what I’ve said?? So you’d need 2.1 – 3x the number of generators to meet 100% of the baseload, the strike price would need to be 300 – 465 uk pounds, up to 10 times the current price in the UK. Incidentally, the weather in the UK is historically unpredictable – much more so than the US, but I’ll pretend these numbers are only that bad for the sake of arguement.

            Thanks for the pointer Bob. No I’ve read your papers, perhaps you’ll reed this:


          • A Real Libertarian

            Pandora’s Promise?

            Yeah, that doesn’t sound ominous at all.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Obviously you didn’t read the paper, or did a terrible job of reading, if you think it’s about California.

            Try the other side of the country. 13 states.

            Pandora’s Promise comes from the Breakthrough Institute. A dishonest, pro-nuclear agency.

            Did you not know that?

          • Rigth

            Got you Bob, see i was right, you are wrong. tThere are evacuation from solar power.

            Smoking Solar Panel Prompts Village School Evacuation, Emergency Response


          • A Real Libertarian

            Again, Pandora’s Promise.

            Would anybody here be surprised if it was funded by Lightbringer Industries and the Sovereign Wealth Fund of R’lyeh?

          • danS

            I didn’t read it in depth no, it starts out by discussing earlier research in CA, it’s still about a mix of solar and wind isn’t it? If it isn’t the title is very misleading.

            It’s propaganda because you’re not interested I assume?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, perhaps you would be more comfortable on a site with lower standards.

          • danS

            Still not entirely sure what you mean Bob, are you saying my standard of assessment of what you put forward wasn’t high enough, or is it still just about my not agreeing with you (I assume you believe I’m involved in propaganda)? How was mixed solar and wind in the US relevant to wind in the UK? Or are you saying that isn’t what that paper was about?

            I read the other paper, which was wind only, and gave you my assessment of that.

          • danS

            Hey Bob – Earlier, in another post you said:

            “If someone can build a nuclear reactor which produces electricity as cheap or cheaper than wind and solar then I will definitely change my mind about nuclear.”

            Is it time to crack open a bottle?

            “The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.”

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Is it time to crack open a bottle?”

            When someone does it, then it is time.

            So, never.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Give it up Martin, you’re not a smart enough kitty to fool us.

          • zl

            Agreed with you Dan, the UK should really go nuclear. Given that 90% of our electricity came from carbon base source, and with most Brits opposing fracking, no point deceiving ourselves thinking renewables will save the day. We are making tremendous progress in wind energy, yet it will never be enough. Even the most optimistic government studies have wind supplying 20% of our current electricity demand, that is if our cars have not switched to electric yet. Forget solar, we all know how our skies are like….

            Even the strike price agreed upon for the Hinkley C isn’t at all hair raising when considering the price of other renewables, this picture says it all.

            By the way, most of new wind turbines coming soon(including Orkney) are off shores type. We should really learn from the French…

          • danS

            Thanks for backing up my numbers. Incidentally, whilst I’ve been away (I’ve been missing our conversations Bob – I hope you’re thinking about this, it’s the people that care whom nuclear needs on it’s side), I’ve been wondering about the space concerns regarding wind at least. I found this article:


            I actually posted there too, with some thoughts I’d had. I’ll share them here too:

            “I wonder if the auther thought of taking these numbers further to predict land usage as a proportion of world population should all nations reach the level of being as developed as the UK and choose wind as an energy source? A few pieces of information can give that can’t they:

            – Hinkley aims to provide 6.5% of the UKs electricity.

            – Roughly 13% of the UK lives in London.

            – London’s population density it 5,200.

            – The world average urbanised population density 3,500.

            Just doing that in my head, I think that mean that the space taken up by windfarms would be (really roughly) 1.333 times that of the world urbanised areas. More than doubling the space most of the human race takes up?

            Does anyone have any thoughts on that? These numbers are rough, clearly, but even if they were 10x out (which I don’t think they are) it would be frightening wouldn’t it? Also, to stop global warming, doesn’t clean energy have to meet more than the demands of just electrical power generation?

            My source for average urban population density was this:


            Food for thought…..

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yeah, I’ve got some thoughts on that Dan.

            If Brits want to lock themselves into 16% of their electricity being very expensive for the next 35 years, that’s their business. It will put them at an economic disadvantage with the rest of the world, making them less competitive and hurting their economy, but it will help ours as we install cheaper renewables and become more competitive.

            And you have some bad stuff in your head re: wind land use. Robert Wilson fed you some tainted baloney. He didn’t tell you that wind turbines use less than 2% of a wind farm’s area, leaving 98%+ of the land available for original use – agriculture or grazing.

            (That’s the sort of misleading pro-nuclear stuff the Energy Collective specializes in.)

            Let’s do some accurate math, shall we?

            In 2010, the US used 4,143 TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity. (11,300,000 MWh per day.)

            It would take 375,415 3 MW turbines with an average CF of 43% to produce 4,143 TWh of electricity.

            The footprint of a wind turbine is typically around 0.25 acres. This includes the tower foundation, roads, transmission and support structures. 375,415 turbines would require 93,854 acres or 147 square miles.

            147 square miles is:

            3.13 Disney Worlds.

            6.5 Manhattan Islands.

            39% of Los Angeles.

            12% of Rhode Island.

            0.7% of San Bernardino County, CA.

            0.02% of Alaska.

            0.004% of all US land area.

            The entire US could be 100% wind powered and the land used would be equal to 0.16% of the UK.

            BTW, we are now testing 7.5 MW and larger turbines. Land area doesn’t increase much with increases in turbine size so we could cut land use by more than half if needed.

            Of course no one suggests a 100% wind-fed grid. A mix of renewables minimizes storage needs. My guess is that the US will be about 40% wind-powered with a good hunk of that offshore, so crank those numbers down. A lot.

          • danS

            Does that mean you agree that the UK needs to use nuclear, based on the information put forward (you seem to be throwing your hands in the air on that one)? Does that mean you think the people in the UK should be fed pro-nuclear and not anti-nuclear views in order to stop climate change?

            Bob – what you’re basically saying is that you refuse to count the space in between the towers, to anybody who’s seen the larger ones that’s going to sound a bit comical. These wind towers are gigantic, the blades on them are bigger than the wingspan of a 747, much much bigger than the buildings in a comparative urbanised area. The numbers given are accurate for the land area needed for the windfarms, you will need that much land to put them on – regardless of whether you put cows in amongst them or not. You can’t urbanise those areas, other areas of land will be needed to do that, as cities become denser withe population growth the land needed will grow and grow and grow.

            Just building them is an insane undertaking, your numbers suggest building about 10 million of them on a world scale, then they’ll need to be replaced a few years later. 2000 nuclear power stations can provide electricty for the world, based on 0.1% of the world population living in London, and last more than twice as long.

            Where are the turbines manufactured and how are they transported?

            Nuclear energy will get better, safer, more efficient and more compact. Wind will not blow harder, more often and more consistently.

            100% renewables mean storage (or backup gas/fossil power stations). If that’s pumped potential storage or hyrdo, that implies we will be damming up a lot of water sources. If it’s low density, potentially poisonous, battery storage you can start filling in the space between your wind turbines.

            The countries using wind (and solar) right now are the ones whom it makes sense for (the UK has incredible wind supply), efficiencies will go down as other countries with less viable sources choose to do so.

            Not everybody can’t stick them in the sea, though I agree they should go there where possible.

          • Bob_Wallace

            All I’m saying is if Brits want to do the stupid thing and lock themselves into more expensive electricity for the next 35 years, that’s their business. And it will likely be a net gain for the US.

            If you can’t understand the 2% for towers, 98% for original use facts then, well, ….

            The UK has excellent offshore wind resources. And surprisingly good solar resources in part of the country.

          • danS

            “If you can’t understand the 2% for towers, 98% for original use facts then, well, ….”

            What part of what I said implied I didn’t understand what you were saying? I just said most people would find it comical. But, not nearly as comical as the following statement about the UK:

            “………….And surprisingly good solar resources in part of the country.”

            What part of country is that Gibraltar?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “I just said most people would find it comical”

            Like the idea the earth is round despite being flat as far as the eye can see?

            “But, not nearly as comical as the following statement about the UK:

            ‘………….And surprisingly good solar resources in part of the country.’

            What part of country is that Gibraltar?”

            So exactly like the idea the earth is round despite being flat as far as the eye can see?

          • danS

            It’s true that from the ground it’s hard to appreciate the world is spherical.

            However it’s pretty easy to understand, from the ground, that wind turbines aren’t small structures (standing higher than the statue of liberty) and that the space they take up and the engineering challenge (in installing 10 million of them) is immense and off-putting to many governments, who then decide to build fossil fuel power stations instead (like Germany).

          • A Real Libertarian

            So you don’t understand the difference between vertical and horizontal?

            And you don’t understand we don’t need to urbanize the whole surface of the earth.

          • Bob_Wallace

            More ignorance on your part, Dan.

            Germany’s new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. These new plants were planned and construction was started prior to the decision to close nuclear plants.

            By 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

            Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing. And the new coal plants are partially load-following.

            As of November 2013 some 28 power plants with a collective capacity of 7,000 MW – roughly equivalent to the capacity shutdown in Chancellor Merkel’s sudden nuclear phaseout in March 2011 – have been submitted for decommissioning. This would be an 8% decrease in Germany’s coal burning capacity.

            Some will be permanently closed and a few ‘mothballed’ in case they might be needed in the future.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Look it up and then you won’t be ignorant.

          • danS

            Bob – I don’t need to look up what the weather is like in my own country thanks.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You are welcome.

            Over here we have a saying that seems to fit – “Ignorance is bliss”.

          • A Real Libertarian


            You magically know the average hours of sunlight in every part of the UK by living in one part of it?

            What’s it like being psycho?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dial it back a bit, please.

            Dan is irritating and likely a troll, best to whack him with facts.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Facts are your specialty.

            Logic and counter-trolling is mine.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think Dan gets aroused by getting responses out of others.

          • A Real Libertarian

            I’m pretty sure “don’t feed the trolls” doesn’t apply to wedgie sandwiches, but I may be wrong.

          • zl

            You’re welcome. I’m just being realistic about the energy outlook of the UK and we do really need a practical solution without harming our environment and economy. Interestingly I even came across this article written by a wind turbine expert himself


            While I do support renewables, progress is simply way too slow and the cost way beyond economical. I never believe in Germany’s way of going ‘green’.

            “Germany alone this year is expected to spend around 20 billion euros ($16.7 billion) on subsidies for renewable energies, which meet around one quarter of Germany’s electricity consumption.”


            They are draining their economy with costly subsidies and made up for it with ‘cheap’ coal. 1 step forward 2 step back….

            And things aren’t looking good for the poorer nations either

            “Protests over high electricity bills – partly the result of investment in green energy – toppled the previous centre-right cabinet in February.”



          • Bob_Wallace

            Germany isn’t “spending” money on renewable energy. Germany is investing in renewable energy.

            The solar capacity that Germany added by the end of 2011 saved it over 6 billion euros in 2012 by allowing them to purchase less fossil fuels. And that solar capacity will continue to save Germany more than 6 billion euros year after year, decade after decade.

            Germany’s subsidy bill is high right now. That’s because when they started installing solar and set a feed in tariff (FiT) high enough to encourage installations the price of solar was very high. The FiT did exactly what it was designed to do. It increased the rate of installing solar, created a strong solar industry, and brought the cost of solar down to where it is today.

            Over the next few years the higher FiT contracts will expire and the 15% of their electricity costs that go to renewable subsidies will shrink.

            Of course what people who attack German renewables never report is that the wholesale cost of electricity in Germany has fallen by 50% over the last four years. And that German industrial electricity costs peaked in 2009 and have fallen each year since. And that German industrial electricity costs are less than the EU27 average.

            I suppose it’s not hard to understand why they don’t report those facts….

          • zl

            Btw, this happen in Scotland not too long ago…

          • A Real Libertarian

            Funny, this happened in Japan not too long ago…

          • danS

            I don’t think Scotland was hit by one of the largest earthquakes recorded followed by one of the largest tidal waves recorded was it?

          • A Real Libertarian

            I don’t think that wind-turbine caused a exclusion zone around it… did it?

          • danS

            They wont need to if you build 10 million of them you’ll have built some pretty big exclusion zones.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Really, how big?

          • danS

            Read my earlier post.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Again, how big?

            Distance from the edge of the wind-farm, please.

          • danS

            Clearly I’m referring to the space they take up, which I’ve covered already and, in Europe at least, it’s illegal to live in amongst even if your cows are allowed… I’m trying to hammer home some basic common sense and understanding of how unrealistic it is for the entire world to run off renewables, as much as I’d love it if it was.

            The dangers of Fukashima are overblown (mostly by environmental groups), nobody has died as a consequence yet and there have been 2 such events in the last 60 years. Even if they had, some believe what happened in the Philippines was down to global warming, if that’s the case the lack of investment in nuclear in the last 35 years has led to an increase in CO2 emissions. It’s time to start acting responsibly.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Dan, the UK has farms and open areas. Been there, seen that.

            People died, many people died, as a result of the Fukushima meltdown. They did not die directly of radiation poisoning, but due to the emergency evacuation. It is likely that some will die from radiation induced cancers as time goes along.

            Now, please no more of those ridiculous claims.

            Again, we could deal with global warming by installing lots of nuclear plants but it would cost us far more money than using renewables, would take many decades longer to bring our CO2 emissions down, and would introduce more radiation hazards into our lives and the lives of those who follow us.

          • danS

            Bob – being a troll, that’s another line of defense for you is it? Disliking free speech?

            “They did not die directly of radiation poisoning, but due to the emergency evacuation”

            Which has nothing to do with the tidal wave or earthquake I assume you’re saying?

            “It is likely that some will die from radiation induced cancers as time goes along.”

            A small number may, trivialised by the actual event itself and consequentially immeasurable in the wider population. The deaths are tiny compared to fossil fuels, the use of which has grown over the last decades and many many recreational activities that do not have the wider benefit to society of stopping global warming.

            Yes – the UK has farms and open areas, what point are you making exactly? Should we cover them in wind farms? That’s not happening, that’s why they’re going in the sea.

            You didn’t read the strike prices I sent did you Bob? 92.5 – 155, at a tiny percentage of usage. How is 155 not a bigger number than 92.5 and how will that number not go up with 100% usage, can you explain that one, you seemed to skip it?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “How is 155 not a bigger number than 92.5 and how will that number not go
            up with 100% usage, can you explain that one, you seemed to skip it?”

            It’s because 92.5 is a real agreed on price and 155 is an imaginary, not agreed on price. And 100% usage is a strawman that no one with any influence advocates.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Being a troll is being an asshole.

            Suspecting someone of being a troll comes when you see people show up apparently just to create arguments. When they make the same incorrect statements over and over, apparently to irritate.

          • not bob

            “well said”

          • A Real Libertarian

            “I’m trying to hammer home some basic common sense”

            Again, common sense = “the world looks like it’s flat, therefore it is”, facts = “no it isn’t, look at these satellite pictures”.

            “The dangers of Fukashima are overblown (mostly by environmental groups), nobody has died as a consequence yet and there have been 2 such events in the last 60 years.”

            Alexander Akimov disagrees.

          • Jab-jab

            They should tax solar power & wind power.

          • A Real Libertarian

            They should also ban candy for babies and mandate kicking puppies.

          • Ding-Ding

            Yes but that will not work at all, we have seen that government around the would have move to tax gird solar and wind power

          • jack

            What happen in japan?

          • A Real Libertarian
          • pot.pot

            we should tax this

          • Bob_Wallace

            One out of 250,000 turbines in the world.

            No one killed.

            No one evacuated.

            No exclusion zone established.

            Thanks for your concern.

          • Jib.jib

            School have bee evacuated bob as solar pv go on fire.

          • A Real Libertarian

            You know people look at this and say “damn, solar opponents are insane” right Mark?

    • Mary

      Paulbee, there are no standard methods yet being utilized to make any meaningful “counts’ of bird mortality at industrial wind sites. There is also no accounting for the #1 cause of mortality, which is loss of habitat. Industrial wind turbines fragment the air column, which is the habitat where birds spend more than 90% of their lives. This is conveniently ignored, as if it is not a problem when it is a significant problem. A USDA study out of Buffalo Ridge MN showed a 47% loss of raptor abundance when industrial wind was sited and 56% of breeding marsh ducks abandoned their habitat according to a USFWS in (I believe ND) This represents loss of habitat and is the immediate impact. It typically takes about 10 years for the cumulative negative effects of our implementation of the new “darling of technology” to show up. Industrial wind, which does not reduce CO2 emissions and cannot ever hope to replace coal, natural gas, or nuclear power. Perception has replaced reality for many, who you will recognize by their caustic comments and name-calling. Questioning their version of “science” is not allowed, which is the first indication that science is unimportant to them as the foundation of scientific methodology is questioning the status quo.

      • Paulbee

        Thanks, and please see my rely to Peter above.

      • Peter Gray

        Mary: We get that you’re rabidly anti-wind, but “Industrial wind, which does not reduce CO2 emissions and cannot ever hope to replace coal…”?
        Without any qualifiers, your statement means “No reduction. At all. Compared to coal.” Can you provide ANY credible evidence (as in peer-reviewed publication) for this claim? If you can’t or won’t back it up, why should we pay attention to anything else you say?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Mary, the US will get close to 5% of its electricity from wind this year. In 2012 Iowa got 25% of its electricity from wind.

        Had that electricity not been supplied by wind it would have come from fossil fuels.

        You continue to spread your misinformation. Clean up your act.

        • Mary

          Produced at night….with utilities forced to buy it despite the fact that there is no demand and so it is either dumped or sold at a loss. It’s disappointing that facts bother you so much that you resort to attacks instead of looking at reality and searching for real, viable solutions, Bob.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, utilities are forced to purchase some wind and solar. And we’re giving wind and solar subsidies.

            That’s what it takes to get clean energy on line. It’s a wise price to
            pay. All the birds will be much better off when we are able to quit
            killing so many of them with coal.

            As for curtailing extra
            generation from time to time. Perhaps you don’t realize that it is
            something that is done all the time. In 2011 coal was curtailed 42.4%
            of the time. Natural gas was curtailed 75.8% of the time. We turn off
            all sorts of generation when it isn’t needed. From time to time we curtail wind turbines, but not all that often.

            BTW, Mary, I don’t think you’ve ever explained why you support coal when it kills 35x as many birds as wind. And kills a lot of humans as well.

          • Mary

            When did I say I support coal, Bob? Seems you’re making some ASSumptions, here. As for coal “killing lots of humans”…..miners who don’t wear protective gear, yes, but the particulate matter from automobiles does more harm to the respiratory system of human beings than coal when the plant has been fitted with scrubbers that meet the rigorous EPA standards.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you not aware of all the coal plants which are not fitted with adequate scrubbers?

            Perhaps you are ignoring the 150 coal plants that are in the process of being closed because of their emission problems?

            As far as supporting coal, that is what you do, Mary, when you attack wind for killing relatively small numbers of birds but say nothing about the very large number of birds killed by coal. I’m sure you aren’t ignorant of the numbers since they’re right here in this article.

            What should we make of the person who intentionally overlooks the greater evil but attacks the lesser? It would be irresponsible to not consider their motivation.

          • Mary,
            In case you haven’t noticed EV’s are being sold at a decent clip. They usually access electricity at night and in short order your “concern” about utility company incomes will vanish.

    • Peter Gray

      By all means, everyone should read the original paper, not least so they can see how Paulbee cherry-picked the caveats, and misrepresented their meaning and significance. Bob already pointed out that Paul completely missed the kills/GWh measure used throughout the paper, making anything else Paul says hard to take seriously. That includes his wacky “wind deaths will rise astronomically” claim, since the whole point of the paper is the opposite.
      The implication that we shouldn’t count abandoned uranium mines is false. New uranium must come from new mines, that will become old abandoned one soon enough. Future nuclear power will require more extensive mining than in the past, since the most concentrated deposits have been mined. Likewise, nuclear andfossil plants will always require cooling, usually in the form of towers, while wind plants never need cooling structures.
      Sure, it would be nice if the post gave more context, but the purpose is to give readers a brief summary of the main conclusions, and a pointer to a useful paper. For me, it did that job.
      One could quibble with some of the calcs in the paper, particularly the somewhat speculative estimates of bird deaths due to climate change. But the author attempts to be conservative on the side of favoring fossil over wind, and he acknowleges gaps and shortcomings in the data – something we have yet to see from the denialists.

      • Paulbee

        New mines are under EPA and NRC regulations, We cannot count the Old mines which were made for bomb production, when we’re talking about Nuclear Power Generation.

        I do reaffirm that the mines responsible for bird kills should be remediated, but most are abandoned old mines, not current ones.

        My main dissatisfaction with the methods used here is that it discounts that future GW of Wind will continue killing Birds, and more so the endangered species, while future GW of Nuclear will not contribute to the bird kill rate, because of better/more modern practices and better regulation.

        Finally it is hard to not see some of the contributors here as irrational, if they attack a person as a “denier”, simply because they criticize an article about Bird-kills.

        For the record I do believe in AGW.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “most are abandoned old mines, not current ones”

          So you are admitting that current uranium mining is also killing birds?
          And are you going to admit that cooling towers are killing birds? That migratory birds are often attracted to the lit towers on foggy nights?
          A single Florida coal-fired power plant with four smokestacks recorded an estimated 3,000 deaths in a single evening during a fall migration. That’s massive bird killing, Paul. The cooling towers of nuclear reactors create the same danger for birds.

          • Paulbee

            Not at all, I am referring to old abandoned mines.




            As I have said elsewhere, EPA and NRC regulate new mines, also mining companies are more ecologically aware, and have better minig techniques than they used to have.


            Let me re-iterate:

            1) I believe in Man-made Global Warming, AGW.

            2) I despise Coal plants as much as anybody else.

            3) The writer of this post should take care not to compare bird-kills of unendangered species (still bad) with the endangered ones, only in an attempt to save face for Wind Power.

            4) Windmills are located in territories and terrain that Raptors (example, eagles/hawks) and highly endangered species are likely to fly.

            5) Any massive build out of Windmills will most certainly kill more birds than current mines/nuclear plants will kill.

            6) A single modern mine will support multiple Nuclear plants, and Modern
            mines are not the same polluting pits we had in the Bomb making era. This is due to better regulations and practices.

            7) It is not the Nuclear plant itself that is being identified as a bird killer.

            8) Nuclear plants are being designed that won’t even use or need cooling towers.

            Thank You.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Any massive build out of Windmills will most certainly kill more birds than current mines/nuclear plants will kill.”

            We don’t have a lot of data but it appears that cooling towers are more dangerous to migrating birds than are wind turbines.

            Building nuclear reactors without cooling towers. I suppose you’ve bought into the myth of small rectors stuck underground and not needing cooling.

        • Peter Gray

          Sorry I lumped you in with deniers. My error in that case, but the logic of ignoring the fact that all comparisons in the paper are stated in kills/GWh, and then complaining about apples-to-oranges, was all too familiar as denier-flavored reasoning.

          Replying to part of your current post, and Paul’s assertion, I worked in uranium mines in New Mexico, in the late ’70s near the all-time height of Cold War production and U.S. mining, and there’s no truth to the idea that any mines were specifically devoted to weapons production. They mined and milled uranium and sold it at market prices, partly to the weapons complex, partly to civilian power plants. The reactors and processing plants at Hanford and Savannah River were solely for weapons material, but not the mines.

          “while future GW of Nuclear will not contribute to the bird kill rate, because of better/more modern practices and better regulation.”

          The mines were regulated by the AEC, NRC, MSHA, EPA, and various State agencies. Maybe not as well as they will be in the future, but even that remains to be proved. I stand by my claim that future mining will tear up more land per ton of fuel, not less. The effect on bird habitat? I don’t know, but it’s not likely to be zero.

          U.S. uranium prodution in the 2000s has averaged < 1/10 of what it ran from the late '50s to early '80s. For a decade around 1970, we net-exported uranium, but since 1975 we've been an increasing net importer. We now import some 95% of the 65 million pounds/year we consume.
          How will your EPA and NRC regs apply in the countries we buy from? Or will you ignore bird kills that happen outside the border? We could bet on magical reductions in the damage from mining, but first you might want to check on the recent history of U.S. coal and Canadian tar sands mining.
          Or we could give some credit to the dramatic, rapid drop in kills/GWh from wind – instead of extrapolating Altamont Pass across the country and into the future.

          "future GW of Wind will continue killing Birds, and more so the endangered species,"
          The paper acknowleges not accounting for species distribution, but in no way does this imply that wind-related kills are more biased toward endangered species than are the much higher tolls from buildings, power lines, pesticides, and vehicles.

          The estimates in the paper are open to question, but unless you can cite a better method, I'll accept his conclusions as a decent rough estimate.

          Then the right question is not "Will new wind power kill any birds?" For the foreseeable future, of course it will. The relevant question is "Can wind power reduce the losses compared to the energy sources that it displaces?"

          I would say the answer is a resounding Yes. Sovacool estimates wind is 35x better than coal and gas. Maybe he's wrong and the real number is only 20x. Isn't that still a good bargain? And new wind can displace coal NOW, not 10-20 years from now. (Maybe. At best. If the latest nuke industry hype pans out the way it never has in the past.)

          Arguably, the only true "clean" replacement for coal and nuclear is conservation, but short of moving back into caves, we're not going to substitute all our electricity with conservation. That leaves choices among less harmful, but still imperfect resources. If you really want to save birds, why not start a campaign to ban all windows in new tall buildings – and require existing glass to be covered with plywood? Good luck with that…

          • Paulbee

            Thanks for your reply Peter.

            I got my information on bird kill species of Wind Power from Here:


            Here is a Quote:

            ““Despite numerous violations, the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — has unofficially exempted the wind industry from prosecution under the Eagle Protection and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts,” wrote the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce, as reported in the Daily Caller. “By exempting the wind industry from prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Eagle Protection Act, the federal government is providing another indirect subsidy to the sector.””

          • Peter Gray

            Oh, now I get it, Paul! You’re using Heartland Institute as a source of information. That explains everything.
            I assume you’re unaware that this is one of many Koch Brothers front organizations, so you might want a little background before discrediting yourself by quoting them. Here’s a good start, even though it may be biased from the left: and

            Heartland is a leading, thoroughly dishonest purveyor of “AGW hoax” bunk, and anything else that can increase oil and coal industry profits, and cut taxes for the super-rich. Here’s where you’re you’re getting your “objective science:”

            if you take anything Heartland says at face value, you deserve to be labeled a denier. Why not go ahead and be a birther and a 911-truther while you’re at it?

            If you think for one second that they’re on your side, or that they care about wildlife or the environment, you’re sadly mistaken. Do you really want to be in the company of James Inhofe and Fred Singer?

          • Paulbee


            Heartland is not the source, they are the disseminators. The actual sources are:-


            and here:-



            While the wind industry currently

            estimates that turbines kill 58 000 birds per

            year in the U.S. (National Wind Coordinating

            Collaborative Wildlife Workgroup 2009 statis-

            tic), the Service estimates annual mortality at

            440 000 birds (Manville 2005). This is based,

            in part, on inconsistencies in the duration and

            intensity of searches resulting in biases between

            search areas, the size of the search areas, fail-

            ure to estimate mortality during peak periods

            of migration, impacts from wind wake turbu-

            lence and blade tip vortices, and biases from

            unaccounted crippling losses (after Huso 2008).

          • Bob_Wallace

            There is a very large body of wind turbine studies done by professional biologists. They have carefully studied the area needed to be searched for dead birds. This new “gotta look further – multiply by some made up number” is bogus.

            Why do you want to destroy our climate and kill off hundreds of thousands of species by supporting coal Paul?

          • Paulbee

            I don’t support coal.

          • Bob_Wallace

            But you attack the most affordable and Earth-friendly method we have to get coal off our grids.

          • Paulbee

            Bob, I merely pointed out the Bias of the Poster’s comment that Nuclear power kills more birds than Wind Power. I cannot see that as an attack. Obviously it does matter if the mines which kill birds were created during and for the Bombs era, and it also matters if the birds killed by those mines are none endangered species. It also does matter if New wind power will increasingly kill more birds while the Toxic Old mines are being addressed by the EPA, and while new mines are far less polluting and far better in terms of environmental impact..

            If the Author of this post had been more careful, he would have disclosed the above points, and I would not even have felt it neccessary to respond at all.

            Bob, I also want you to be more open minded about Nuclear power. It is an unfortunate observation that some Renewables advocates/sites are deeply entrenched in anti-nuclear dogma. Nuclear Power does work, and it is already a large chunk of our world’s CO2 free energy.

            Modern Nuclear is orders of magnitude safer than Gen 1 and Gneration 2 plants. Generation 3 plants can supply coolling in case of power loss, without need of external power sources, by using Gravity alone. Generation 4 plants are walk away safe, and won’t meltdown or suffer steam/hydrogen explosions (Fukushima) even if left unattended.

            Also even if you factor in lives lost in past nuclear accidents, it is still overall safer than other forms. And no, I do not accept the cancer rates bandied around by haters of nuclear power, nor do I support fabulously exaggerated estimates of deaths form Chernobyl.

            I have come to the conclusion that unfortunately, one cannot rely on the Veracity and Objectivity of Statements made by some renewables proponents regarding nuclear power.

            I Can’t see how we will solve the CO2 problem, and support Growth (meaning better health, and better standards of living) for The WORLD”S Population, without including a lot of Nuclear power.

            Frankly, it is technology we are talking about, not VOODOO. We have no need to fear something that we can design and test to operate as designed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            At this point in time nuclear kills 2.2x as many birds as done wind. Based on GWh produced.

            You contend that uranium mining will be done in a more responsible way in the future, but you fail to show how that will happen in places outside the US/EPA.

            Nuclear is too expensive. Using nuclear for a large portion of our electricity would wreck our economy. We can’t stand tripling the cost of electricity.

          • Peter Gray

            Thanks, Paul. Point well taken, and it is my mistake to reject the message because of the messenger. Both original papers look legit to me, and they seem to weaken the conclusions of the research behind this blog post. A few caveats before taking it as gospel, though:

            1 – Heartland cherry-picks the (often tiny) fraction of literature that supports their views – just as cleantechnica cherry-picks from the other end of the spectrum, sometimes undermining their credibility. The truth is likely somewhere in between.
            2 – Your cited authors point out several plausible sources of bird-counting bias, but I’m not convinced that the biases are as pervasive as they suggest. I’ve talked with some people who run bird-impact surveys around a large local wind farm (eastern WA). They seemed well aware of undercount problems; and they were trying to survey as fairly as possible. FWIW, they were supervised by govt. enviro/resource agencies, and heavily scrutinized by Audubon and other wind opponents.
            3 – The Wildlife Society paper seems to rely on or extrapolate from Altamont Pass, which is an outlier in terms of bad old tech, migratory flyways, and raptor hunting grounds. I’d have to look more closely to get a better sense of whether they compensated for that or ended up with a big bias upward. I wouldn’t be surprised if WF, like Audubon, is a bit myopic in focusing on the clear, countable losses, at the expense of the broad picture. Kind of like how some people are afraid of air travel, so they go by car, at > 100x the risk.
            4 – The net tradeoff is what counts, and that’s where the discussion could have positive results. What are the net gains or losses when we reduce coal burning with a wind GWh? How do we value an extinct species compared to 100k individual kills? Even if we only consider flying animals, I doubt that the long-term net effects of wind energy are anywhere close to negative compared with the coal it replaces.
            5 – How is it fair to restrict attention to only the obvious, countable losses from wind, and leave out all the other species, ecosystems, ocean acidification, mercury poisoning, etc. that wind power doesn’t touch, but where coal causes damage on a gigantic scale? Account for just a few of those variables, and the net benefits of wind will be multiplied.

            Thanks for your thought-provoking comments, civil replies, and willingness to join a reasoned debate. Sorry for my snide suggestion about birthers, and I appreciate your not taking offense.

          • Paulbee

            Just to step back a little.

            What I am really for is :

            1)CO2 free Energy.
            2) Even handed look at all forms of CO2 free energy without an exaggerated effort to undermine and mis-portray Nuclear power.

            No doubt Wind Power works, but it does have flaws, and some supporters of Wind power seem to unwisely and unfairly exaggerate problems with nuclear power, while glossing over problems with wind power.

            I think it is only correct for us all to clear-headedly look at both wind and Nuclear, that is why I posted here. I felt that the way Nuclear was portrayed as far as Bird-Kills was Unwise, and exaggerated.

            Quite Co-incidentally I ran into this from BBC website.

            Anyway, I have had quite enough, and I don’t really wish to be or appear antagonistic to other people, just to incorrect ideas.

          • Peter Gray

            I’m with you on all that, Paul, though maybe I’m more skeptical of nuclear, which has made exaggerated promises for many decades, while consuming a vast amount of subsidy.

            You might want to read Sevacool’s response to his nuclear industry critics here: He acknowleges weaknesses in his data (as he clearly did in the paper!) and he points out that we should count the bird/wildlife losses in (sometimes poorly regulated) uranium-exporting countries – instead of making a grossly false assumption that all new mining will be U.S.. Recent history, not to mention the long-run trend, indicates that U.S. mines will account for < 4% of our consumption.

            Re golden eagles (BBC item). My most consistent passion for 36 years has been soaring hang gliders and paragliders, and I've spent many hours in close aerial proximity to eagles and other raptors. While I don't dispute that some of them fly into turbines, I don't believe it's typically because they "tend to focus on the ground below as they look for prey." I've encountered a few very young, inexperienced birds that were overly focused on the ground, but most are quite aware of their surroundings, nearby air traffic, etc.. A very small number have collided with gliders, but that's when they're harrassing us and make an error. Far more often, they fly within a few meters of us, circling the same direction in thermals, sometimes fanning out and gliding in parallel with us for many miles, cooperatively hunting for lift. This doesn't mean they understand the hazard of a spinning turbine, of course, but they don't fly around haphazardly and blunder into things because they're not looking. Minor point…

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you go back and read some of the early turbine/bird kill research part of the work focused on how large a search area to include.

            Yes, once in a while, a fatally wounded bird makes it some distance from the turbine but the frequency was found to be so low that searching vast areas to include that small number did not significantly change the data.
            Correct search areas have been empirically determined. Have you seen any peer-reviewed published research that proves search areas are too small? All I’ve seen is data-less claims.

          • Peter Gray

            You probably know the deails better than I do, but I am somewhat aware of the discussion of survey protocols. I would expect wind operators to naturally lean toward count methods that favor them – but given the scrutiny they’re under, I wouldn’t expect them to get away with significant undercounts; surely not by factors of 10+ alleged by some opponents.
            Not only would expanded search areas reach diminishing returns, as you mention. There could be a false-positive problem as well. Sampling the whole region could help by establishing a background carcass density, but at some point reasonable people should accept that no data will ever be perfect.
            I’m all for protecting birds and valuing their losses in $ or equivalent terms, as a negative externality. But that should be applied equally to all bird-killing activities, not just a select high-profile few (or one). When people see a 50% tax on catfood vs. a 0.5% tax on wind power, many will rethink their positions. (Come to think of it, a catfood tax might backfire if people buy less food instead of fewer cats, and the cats have to hunt more…)

          • Bob_Wallace

            “I would expect wind operators to naturally lean toward count methods that favor them”

            Well, you might ask yourself how those surveys were accepted by recognized journals without other biologists kicking up a storm.

          • Peter Gray

            I think you misunderstand my point, Bob. I expect ANYONE with a financial or other personal stake in the conclusion to “lean toward” methods that favor their preferred outcome, whether consciously or not. Isn’t this exactly why we bother with peer review?
            I did not imply that such a bias will result in successfully implementing or publishing bad methods or results. Your example doesn’t refute my observation of human nature. Those surveys could have been accepted after other biologists kicked up a storm about earlier, more biased research, or more likely because the authors anticipated harsh reviews and took pre-emptive action to reduce bias. Either way, the system worked.
            It’s also possible that wind operators would have produced pristine, unbiased research with no checks at all – out of the public-spirited goodness of their hearts. But I doubt that’s very likely.
            You seem more than ready to ascribe base and biased motives to pro-nukers, coal lobbiers, renewables skeptics, et al, up to and including name-calling when they disagree with you. Why not allow for the same human failings from your energy allies, when appropriate? We all need those checks and balances – even you and me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “more likely because the authors anticipated harsh reviews and took pre-emptive action to reduce bias”

            Well, now you’ve got me confused, Peter.

            At first you seemed to be accusing wind farm owners of biasing the data in their favor.

            Now you seem to be arguing that because they would have known that people might accuse them of biasing the data they would have been extra careful in their data collection.

          • Peter Gray

            I don’t see what’s confusing, Bob. I didn’t accuse them of anything. I said I expect them to “lean toward” biasing the data collection or interpretation. That means they have a tendency or inclination to do so if and when nobody else catches them on it.

            This tendency could be unconscious, but along the (non-literal, hypothetical!) lines of “I truly believe in wind power, and I don’t like to think it kills birds. So I’ll only count the birds that I’m certain were killed by a turbine.” Taken to an illustrative (not literal!) extreme, that might mean only counting birds that someone personally witnessed striking a turbine. That’s bias, no matter how well-intentioned.

            Do you not agree that this is pervasive human nature, and the main reason for peer review?

            Next I addressed your purported counterexample. Why is it confusing to imagine two possible explanations (and only two, though I allowed for an unlikely third one) for how clean results from the wind industry got published?

            Explanation #1: Authors submitted paper with biased data collection and/or stats interpretation (maybe on purpose, maybe not – I don’t care!). Reviewers flagged the faulty data and rejected the paper or gave it a revise/resubmit. Authors reworked the paper to eliminate bias, resubmitted, got published.

            Explanation #2: Authors have been around for more than a few days, so they know the journal’s standards. To avoid rejection/rewrite, they made extra effort to identify biases before submission. Reviewers then failed to find reason to reject; paper was published.

            I didn’t say say #1 and THEN #2; I said #1 OR #2. Where’s the contradiction?

            Of course, it could easily have been a hydrid: authors tried hard to catch errors; failed to spot all their own biases; got an acceptance contingent on specific minor revisions – but that changes nothing.

            Does any of this refute the hypothesis that wind industry proponents have a tendency to focus on biased interpretations of reality, just like everyone else on the planet? Is it wildly out of line with the real world? Among all disciplines, don’t these scenarios occur thousands of times every day?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m quite aware of the difficulties of producing objective data, Peter. Research methodology is one of the subjects I taught at the university level.

            Now, let me ask you. Have you read any of the turbine/bird kill literature? Are you commenting from a position of knowing how count protocols are typically established?

            Have you paid attention to who has carried out or sponsored the research? Did you pick up on the studies carried out by organizations such as the California Energy Commission? The National Renewable Energy Lab? Defenders of Wildlife? Alameda County Avian Protection Program? U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?

          • Peter Gray

            I was trying to make a small, generalizable point about personal/institutional bias and the importance of peer review. As I noted, you surely are more familiar with the bird kill lit, but the quantity and quality of any particular body of literature, and my knowledge of it, have _nothing_ to do with my little point. Nothing at all.
            If you could get past your reaction against anything that hints of criticism about renewables, you might see that I was making a point that _supports_ your defense of peer-reviewed research. Essentially this: imagine we accept the idea that the big bad juggernaut of Industrial Wind Energy is rife with dishonesty, greed, and nefarious intentions (please note carefully that this not my description, but it could be that of some of wind’s extreme opponents, including NIMBY bird-huggers, pro-nukers, AGW deniers…). Even with that assumption, we should accept conclusions from research paid for by the industry, when it’s adequately peer-reviewed. At least we should trust that the numbers are not low by a factor of ten. And we should reject high estimates that are not peer-reviewed or are based on made-up multipliers, as you put it.
            But never mind. We’re talking past each other and getting nowhere.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “I was trying to make a small, generalizable point about personal/institutional bias and the importance of peer review.”

            I don’t know your intent. But your actions seemed to be designed to cause doubt about turbine/kill data via your discussion of possible intention/unintentional data distortion by wind farm owners.

            What I attempted to do is to get you to understand that the biologists who study bird kills worked hard from the get-go to determine the amount of area which needed to be surveyed during their daily counts and studied how may carcasses were taken away by scavengers.

            I also pointed out to you that a significant amount of the research was done by non-wind industry organizations. By governmental organizations and by wind-critical/pro-bird groups.

            Peter, I’m a bit annoyed with your “your reaction against anything that hints of criticism about renewables”.

            I have never supported putting solar panels on the street side of houses in neighborhoods with regulations against them. I recognize that solar panels are not attractive.

            I have never supported putting wind turbines in National Parks, wilderness areas, migratory flight paths, our most beautiful places. I recognize that wind turbines are not attractive to all and that wind turbines do kill some birds and bats.

            I’m hesitant to support tidal generation that involves building dams across bays/estuaries. I want to see the impact studies.

            I recognize that just about everything has some sort of a downside. What I react against is inaccurate /unreasonable criticism of renewables. People like Mary who rail against “industrial wind” but do not criticize fossil fuels which kill many times more birds. And Peter who tries to wave aside the bird kill rates of nuclear by claiming that whatever bad stuff nuclear was doing in the past won’t be done in the future.

          • Peter Gray

            Bob, I was with you until this line, which is not remotely close to _anything_ I wrote or implied:

            “And Peter who tries to wave aside the bird kill rates of nuclear by claiming that whatever bad stuff nuclear was doing in the past won’t be done in the future.”

            You must have me confused with someone else. If you bother to read elsewhere on this long thread, you’ll find that I argued with several other people 180 degrees from what you claim I’ve said.

            For example, I wrote that:
            1) we should not assume future uranium mining will be magically cleaner than in the past;
            2) future mining will tear up more land than in the past, because the richest ores have already been extracted; and
            3) U.S. mining supplies < 5% of our current consumption (and declining), so we should count mine-related bird kills in dirtier exporting countries.

            How do you come up with that kind of crap?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Paul? Peter?

            Easy mistake to make.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry. That was a mistake. I meant Paul.

            I’m a terrible proofreader.

          • Peter Gray

            Lame excuse. It’s not just a matter of misreading a name, but of completely reversing and mis-attributing a wide swath of what I’ve said. Repeatedly and emphatically.
            Why? Because even when I thank you for some info, and clearly agree with you on the great majority of issues, if I note one little point of uncertainty or (perish the thought!) disgreement, you’re on a hair trigger to instantly cast me as an ignorant, stupid, pro-nuke troll.
            “You meant Paul” because the second you saw one minor item of disagreement, you became totally blind to the rest of my reply. So it was a natural next step to lump me in with someone you see in a purely negative light (and who, by the way, I don’t think deserves it, but that’s another topic).
            I’ve seen the same thing from you numerous times, Bob, so it’s starting to look like a pattern. I don’t see how insistence on ideological purity serves you or your cause or anyone else (except, perhaps, your actual opponents). This attitude has driven away many reasonable, inquiring, but ideologically impure people. Hard to blame them.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, horseshit, Peter. I wasn’t paying much attention and wrote Peter when I meant Paul.

            Climb down off your cross. I didn’t put you there.

          • Peter Gray

            Oops! I really didn’t get that the first time. Sorry – I did over-react.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “I don’t see how insistence on ideological purity serves you or your cause or anyone else”

            OK, let me put it this way.

            Renewable Energy = Bolshevik.

            Nuclear Power = Stalin.

            That clear enough?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Peter, what you probably don’t know is that much of the bird kill research is sponsored by non-wind industry organizations. Here’s an example –

            ABSTRACT. We estimated impacts on birds from the development and operation of wind turbines in Canada considering both mortality due to collisions and loss of nesting habitat. We estimated collision mortality using data from carcass searches for 43 wind farms, incorporating correction factors for scavenger removal, searcher efficiency, and carcasses that fell beyond the area searched.

            On average, 8.2 ± 1.4 birds (95% C.I.) were killed per turbine per year at these sites, although the numbers at individual wind farms varied from 0 – 26.9 birds per turbine per year. Based on 2955 installed turbines (the number installed in Canada by December 2011), an estimated 23,300 birds (95% C.I. 20,000 – 28,300) would be killed from collisions with turbines each year.

            We estimated direct habitat loss based on data from 32 wind farms in Canada. On average, total habitat loss per turbine was 1.23 ha, which corresponds to an estimated total habitat loss due to wind farms nationwide of 3635 ha. Based on published estimates of nest density, this could represent habitat for ~5700 nests of all species. Assuming nearby habitats are saturated, and 2 adults displaced per nest site, effects of direct habitat loss are less than that of direct mortality. Installed wind capacity is growing rapidly, and is predicted to increase more than 10-fold over the next 10-15 years, which could lead to direct mortality of approximately 233,000 birds / year, and displacement of 57,000 pairs.

            Despite concerns about the impacts of biased correction factors on the accuracy of mortality estimates, these values are likely much lower than those from collisions with some other anthropogenic sources such as windows, vehicles, or towers, or habitat loss due to many other forms of development. Species composition data suggest that < 0.2% of the population of any species is currently affected by mortality or displacement from wind turbine development. Therefore, population level impacts are unlikely, provided that highly sensitive or rare habitats, as well as concentration areas for species at risk, are avoided.

            Canadian Estimate of Bird Mortality Due to Collisions and Direct Habitat Loss Associated with Wind Turbine Developments

            Estimation de la mortalité aviaire canadienne attribuable aux collisions et aux pertes directes d’habitat associées à l’éolien

            J. Ryan Zimmerling, Andrea C. Pomeroy, Marc V. d'Entremont and Charles M. Francis

            This paper was sponsored by the Society of Canadian Ornithologists and Bird Studies Canada


            Did you pick up on " incorporating correction factors for scavenger removal, searcher efficiency, and carcasses that fell beyond the area searched"?

          • Peter Gray

            Thanks for the cites and data; those could come in handy. I read through most of Sovacool’s exhaustive (and exhausting!) rebuttal on the pro-nuke site, so that got me up to speed on some of this. Also read the nice satire Canadian campaign to ban cars, from Gipe’s site. You’re right that he has a great collection of tech stuff as well.
            Out of idle curiosity, if some research results indicate that nuclear power is safer or cheaper than you thought, do you accept that and change your views if the paper is peer-reviewed and/or research was not sponsored by the nuclear industry?

          • Bob_Wallace

            If someone can build a nuclear reactor which produces electricity as cheap or cheaper than wind and solar then I will definitely change my mind about nuclear.

            I will take a new look at nuclear and see if we should (IMHO) accept the hazards of nuclear energy or go with safer renewables.

            If someone can find a reasonable solution for the hazardous waste created by nuclear plants – all the waste, not just used fuel – then I’ll again take a fresh look at nuclear.

            Generate some facts. I am not willing to make decisions based on a YouTube video.

          • Peter Gray

            No argument with any of that, and might add that nuclear cost should include liability risk.
            About the waste, I would partly concede a point to the industry, that NIMBYism and perfectionism re disposal have unnecessarily added to cost and uncertainty. It’s not entirely the industry’s fault that we’re stuck with so much spent fuel in riskier temp storage than underground somewhere, imperfect though that might be. And there’s often a double standard in play, where we don’t see anywhere near the outrage and hysteria, per sievert of emissions, over radioisotopes from coal plants as from nukes.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So what I hear you saying is “Damn the danger, stick the used fuel somewhere out of sight. If it causes problems later on that’s someone else’s problem.”

            I suppose you expect that ‘somewhere out of sight’ isn’t close to where you live. Let those folks out in Nevada, wherever, take the risk.

            And, Peter, you’re not going to make the bogus “Will it be nuclear or coal?” argument are you?

          • Peter Gray

            When what you hear is so far from what I wrote, I can’t be responsible for that.

            I worked closely with the WIPP Pu waste site in NM, listened carefully to all the arguments against and fears about it, and concluded that this solution is about as good as it will get for that kind of waste.

            I’m not as knowledgeable or convinced about Yucca Mtn., even though – guess what?! – it’s just over the hill from my home/family town. I know enough to conclude that Yucca is better than storing the stuff indefinitely above ground in swimming pools and casks.

            And the silence is deafening when it comes to opponents suggesting or accepting a better place to put the waste. It’s just “Don’t put it here, no matter what.” And then nothing. What’s your solution?
            Yes, I know spent fuel can be very dangerous for a long time. So can lead, mercury, and cadmium. Leaded fuel created what many epidemiologists say is the biggest public health disaster of the 20th century – dwarfing the harm from nuke weapons testing, which in turn dwarfs that of nuclear power. Perfectionism poses its own set of dangers. You recognize that when it comes to demands for zero bird kills by turbines. But you can’t see it here.

            ‘And, Peter, you’re not going to make the bogus “Will it be nuclear or coal?” argument are you?’
            No, but if it makes you happy to put words in my mouth, go right ahead. If you had paid any attention to the long arguments we’ve had over several months, you wouldn’t need to ask that question.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Do you think “about as good as it will get for that kind of waste” is acceptable? Would you be happy to have your children living close to “as good as it will get”?

            My solution?

            First, when you’re in a hole – quit digging.

            There’s no reason to build more reactors and create more hazardous waste.

            I clearly understand relative cost and risk issues. Nuclear is expensive and it brings with it a risk unlike any other type of generation.

            It’s not a choice between coal or nuclear.

            It’s not a choice between nuclear or living in caves.

            We have the option of using renewables which bring no significant dangers into our lives, which kill fewer birds than the number we are now killing with coal and nuclear, and will generate electricity at a lower price.

          • Peter Gray

            BW: ‘Do you think “about as good as it will get for that kind of waste” is acceptable? Would you be happy to have your children living close to “as good as it will get”?’
            PG: Yep, I’d be fine with that. Much prefer them living near WIPP, where waste is sealed in a salt mine 1,500 feet below ground, and risk of release is sub-microscopic – than in Denver, downwind of Rocky Flats, where risk is millions of times higher.
            “As good as it will get” kinda means it won’t get any better, doesn’t it? Your unstated alternative is perfection, which is only available at an infinite cost – meaning we have to give up other things we like: health, wealth, happiness, life…

            BW: ‘My solution?
            First, when you’re in a hole – quit digging.
            There’s no reason to build more reactors and create more hazardous waste.’
            PG: Separate issue. Let’s assume we decide to build NO new reactors (I’m fine with that). Now what’s your specific plan for dealing with the existing waste?

            BW: ‘It’s not a choice between coal or nuclear.
            It’s not a choice between nuclear or living in caves.’
            PG: Never said it was. Strawman argument you got (or imagined) from someone else.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Now what’s your specific plan for dealing with the existing waste?”

            I have no plan for dealing with our existing nuclear waste.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “You seem more than ready to ascribe base and biased motives to pro-nukers, coal lobbiers, renewables skeptics, et al, up to and including name-calling when they disagree with you. Why not allow for the same human failings from your energy allies, when appropriate?”

            Because all of them have a long, long, loonnngggg history of dishonesty that Renewable Energy advocates don’t.

          • Peter Gray

            I tend to agree with you, but I wouldn’t make quite such a blanket, reflexive dismissal. I worked for many years on the effort to end nuclear weapons production and testing, and on the start of cleaning up DOE sites around the country. So I saw a lot of that dishonesty at close range.

            But I also saw a lot of extremism, fear-mongering, and exaggeration or distortion of the effects of radiation, from the other side. Many enviro groups have abundantly earned a reputation for exploiting issues based on fundraising potential rather than real public benefit.

            They’ve also shot themselves in the foot with reflexive lawsuits against every conceivable project, including some with clear environmental benefits. Narrow-minded NIMBY opposition to wind turbines, including nutty stuff about health effects, generator fires, and non-reduction of CO2, is a perfect example of the results.

            The more responsible groups don’t support all that, but too many have stood by and let the wackos run wild.

          • Paulbee

            this comment is incredibly distressing and on the face of it cannot be true.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “this comment is incredibly distressing and on the face of it cannot be true.”

            Well if that’s the case it must be false.

            I mean the Earth being round is completely unintuitive so we burnt Columbus at the stake because his “sail to Asia” plan was obviously a scheme to get human sacrifices for the dragons that live over the edge of the world on top of the giant turtle.

          • Paulbee

            1) Your comment is indeed false.
            2) Your analogy is irrelevant and defies reason.

            3) Nuclear supporters do not “ALL” have a history of dishonesty.

            4) Rather, some reneweables supporters such as yourself, routinely throw verbal incendiaries a nuclear power (support/ers), and Completely turn a blind eyes to legitimate complaints/ defect of some renewables schemes.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “while Completely turning blind eyes toward legitimate complaints/ defects of some renewables schemes”

            Like what?

          • Paulbee

            I’d rather that you addressed the rest of the post, especially about your irresponsibly incendiary use of the word “ALL”.

            But just to answer you:

            1) Low Capacity factors to be applied to Nameplate Capacity.

            2) 25-30 yrs (at best) service life of Windmills and Solar Panels, meaning they all have to be replaced twice before a nuclear plant is decommissioned.

            3) Adequate storage is currently unavailable, and the more renewables we rely upon, the greater the need for storage becomes.

            4) Very long transmission lines, and transmission factors to bring power from windy or areas to population centers.

            5) Current dependence on CO2 producing Natural Gas, and in Germany for instance Coal Plants.

            6) Renewables are not likely to support increasing demand for power in a world with increasing populations who demand a better/more comfortable life.

            Now please respond to my other points 3, and 5

          • A Real Libertarian

            “1) Low Capacity factors to be applied to Nameplate Capacity.”

            Capacity factor doesn’t matter except as far as it effects price.

            “2) 25-30 yrs (at best) service life of Windmills and Solar Panels, meaning they all have to be replaced twice before a nuclear plant is decommissioned.”

            This is a problem how?

            “3) Adequate storage is currently unavailable, and the more renewables we rely upon, the greater the need for storage becomes.”

            This is also true of nuclear and storage is just taking off.

            “4) Very long transmission lines, and transmission factors to bring power from windy or areas to population centers.”

            The best areas for wind are off the coasts. Incidentally just next to the most populous areas.

            “5) Current dependence on CO2 producing Natural Gas, and in Germany for instance Coal Plants.”

            And doing nothing about it for 10-20 years as we build nukes is a solution how?

            “6) Renewables are not likely to support increasing demand for power in a world with increasing populations who demand a better/more comfortable life.”

            Renewables are the only thing that can.

            “Now please respond to my other points 3, and 5”

            3. “Nuclear supporters do not “ALL” have a history of dishonesty.”

            All I can think of.

            5. “It is not surprising that previously “renewables only” climate scientists are warming up to nuclear power as part of the mix.”

            Linus Pauling.

          • Paulbee

            1) Capacity Factor for Solar power is a deal Killer, except for CCS, but CCS requires rather specific environments to be successful.

            2) This is a problem because the cost of replacing everything is not usually included. This will include mining , manufacturing and emissions from both.

            3) US nuclear has a 90% C.F, and storage is not at issue.

            4) US coastal Wind, unlike Europe does not have much better CF. At best US offshore CF is 33%..
            We already have better inland CF in the Great plains (33-43%). There is no / little advantage to building more expensive Windmills in the sea, and replacing them in 20 yrs/ and maintaining them at sea for 20yrs.

            I don’t “get” your Linus Paulin reference.

            Finally, I am not say (and never said) that Wind power doesn’t work.

            I am saying that advocates like you are ignoring the problems with it, and that they use unproductive incendiary remarks in their rhetoric.

            I am saying that Nuclear Power need not be as expensive as it is in the US.

            I am saying that the Idea that WindPower will be scaled up cheaply or not to provide energy to the world is without merit.

            I am saying that Wind power is non-dispachable and it does require support from CO2 producing sources.

            And I am saying that opposing a beneficial CO2 free source like Nuclear power seems ideological to me rather than logical, and it is counter productive to our planet and populations.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Paul, I don’t think you know what capacity factor is.

            Yes, solar has a low CF. But it also has low capex, finex and no fuel cost. That makes solar a half to a third less expensive than nuclear.

            What I failed to add to the above is that we have no nuclear plants that have lasted 60 years. Many of our plants simply fail earlier.

            How about we use a compromise and assume reactors would last 50 years? Wind farms should last 40. With wind at 1/3rd the cost of nuclear, nuclear is not going to catch up in those extra ten years. Especially considering the operating cost of a reactor comes close to the cost of electricity from a brand new wind farm.

            Linus Pauling (look him up) was a very important person in his specialty. He tried to do things outside his specialty and spectacularly failed. Just because Hansen and the other three know a lot about climate science does not mean that they know anything at all about nuclear and renewables.

            Nuclear power cheaper in the US? Are you kidding?

            Wind power is not dispatchable.
            Nuclear power is not dispatchable.


            Both need to be worked into a 24/365 responsive grid. Both require storage and fill-in. And like all generation they require backup simply because all generation fails at some point.

            If you start with 16+ cent electricity and add in 10 cent storage you are going to have 26 cent electriicty.

            If you start with 4 cent electricity and add in 10 cent storage you are going to have 14 cent electricity.

            (Notice how stored wind is cheaper than non-stored nuclear?)

            Opposition to largely CO2 free nuclear generation is financial. Along with practical. And there’s the safety issue.

          • Paulbee

            Bob, Real Quick.

            1) I know what capacity factor is..if you have a point please state your point. Solar Power has a Miserable CF.

            2) Capital Expenditure of Solar not withstanding, Zero power at night is still Zero Power. Too Much power at Noon is still too much power.

            3) Modern Nuclear plants are rated for 60 years.

            Quote “Most nuclear power plants originally had a nominal design lifetime of 25
            to 40 years, but engineering assessments of many plants have
            established that many can operate longer. In the USA
            over 70 reactors have been granted licence renewals which extend their operating lives from the original 40 out to 60 years, and . ”
            Further, modern plants are being designed/engineered to be able to last 60yrs, from scratch.

            4) US Nuclear power has CF of 90%+ and has no need for storage.

            Quote “The average capacity factor for all US reactors has improved from below 60% in the 1970s and 1980s, to 92% in 2007,[44][45]”

            5) I am not the only one who considers Nuclear as dispatchable.



            6) Opposition to nuclear power is ideological/political/. People have been fed fear of Nuclear, and excessive regulation has made it expensive.

            7) Nuclear Safety in the US already has a great track record.

          • Bob_Wallace

            CF is one part of a LCOE calculation. Low CF along with low capex, low finex and low opex can result in a low LCOE.

            Nuclear may have a higher CF but its high capex and finex result in a high LCOE.

            No nuclear plant has made it 60 years yet. The average lifespan of a US reactor is 33 years.

            “4) US Nuclear power has CF of 90%+ and has no need for storage. ”

            OK, describe to me how you would run a 100% nuclear grid that requires an average of 100 GW and a 1:3 off-peak:peak range.

            This is critical. Please do not blow it off.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Hey, Paul, I really want you to respond to this request –

            “4) US Nuclear power has CF of 90%+ and has no need for storage. ”

            OK, describe to me how you would run a 100% nuclear grid that requires an average of 100 GW and a 1:3 off-peak:peak range.

          • Bob_Wallace

            1) I have no idea what you mean by that. Price and time of delivery are the important metrics for generation.

            2) First generation turbines (mills grind grain) lasted 30 years. Our technology is much better. 40 years is more than possible.

            We have 40 year old solar panels still producing 80% of their original output. Panels loose about 0.5% performance per year.

            3. Adequate storage is available. Adding more nuclear to the grid would also require adding more storage.

            4. Yes. We would have to build transmission. That is not a problem.

            5. Nuclear plants also require fossil fuel backup.

            6. This is where you are most wrong. The developing world is installing renewables. They are not building coal plants or nuclear reactors. They are installing the least expensive technology and avoiding becoming dependent on imported fuels.

            Your earlier #5. Just because four climate scientists seem to know little about renewable energy does not make nuclear power affordable.

            Ever hear of Linus Pauling?

          • danS

            I’m surprised no mention of France has been made in these discussions. France has been producing cheap nuclear energy for a while, so I hope that illustrates that nuclear costs are legislative and not actual:


            What I see when I read about these things are the following happening, right now:

            – Governments build a token amount of renewable power, barely enough to offset the increases in CO2 even in the most progressive countries.

            – Governments not building nuclear because they are unpopular because of public lobbying by those who feel they are unsafe.

            – Governments building more coal fired power stations because of energy shortfalls.

            Germany is a prime example here. They committed to renewables and are shutting down their nuclear, following the public outcry over Fukushima, but are now building more coal fired plants.

            Surely posters in this group can see that the important issue here is CO2 release and as long as nuclear is demonised more coal fire plants will be built? Forgot the US, this is a world issue. You can’t persuade every country in the world to build renewables instead of coal. But, you can persuade every country in the world that nuclear is too much of a hot potato and that’s exactly what the anti-nuclear lobbying has achieved in the last 30 odd years. Which is why CO2 counts will keep going up.

            We don’t need 20% carbon neutral energy, we need 100%. We don’t need that 100% only in the US, we need it worldwide.

            The source needs to be able to supply domestic energy, industrial energy, automotive energy and perhaps even aircraft in the fuel in the form of ammonia (or whatever that solution might be). Why? Because the population is growing and we are already too late.

            If you think we can do it with renewables then show me who’s leading the way. Because I see Germany and I see France.

            It frustrates me so much that idealism that leads to caring so often over steps the mark and misses practicality completely.

  • GRLCowan

    Well at least wind turbines don’t kill *people*, right?

    • danS

      Actually windfarms have killed more people in the last 25 years than nuclear has in the last 60 (144 vs 53), that’s not after normalizing against the GWh…

      Here are some stats on windfarms:

      That said, if they were a realistic way to provide for our current energy requirements I’d still vote for them over coal any day. However they can’t and neither can solar, which is why nuclear is the only clean source that can replace coal.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Those are some very bogus numbers. Chernobyl alone killed 56. More will likely die from radiation caused cancers over time.

        • danS

          I’ll grant you that these number are on a NIMBY website, I googled them in response to the poster, but I find the numbers in this article very unintuitive also and I feel no higher quality than these. Wind farms represent huge construction projects and are not without their risks, the risk to birds (particularly in the UK where I’m from) seems real to me. Saying nuclear has a similar risk seems divisive and hard to visualise.

          Let me say that I do genuinely believe in renewables as part of the solution however.

          Everything I read indicates that nobody really knows about Chernobyl as I’m sure you are aware.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve spent a lot of time digging through the wind/solar/nuclear death stuff. Quite simply we do not have the data we would need to make a valid comparison.

            There’s a database that lists (I would guess) every wind-related death. It contains clearly countable deaths such as falls and people getting their safety tethers caught in spinning parts.

            It contains construction deaths such as a bulldozer rolling over the driver who was building a road, a load that fell off a truck and killed one of the people unloading, a delivery truck that turned over when a culvert collapsed under the truck. A crane operator who drove into a power line with his boom up.

            I also contains the death of a first time sky diver who parachuted into a turbine. A snowmobile rider who ran into a wind farm fence. Someone who snuck onto a wind farm and committed suicide. A three year old who was playing on her father’s wind tower while it was laying on the ground – part of it rolled over her. Five Chinese officials who were killed when part of a stage fell on them while they were setting up for a presentation.

            Now, we have no record of the sort for nuclear. We don’t know how many delivery drivers were killed, if any. How many construction workers fell or were hit in the head with a boom, whatever.

            We have no pulled together record of the non-radiation deaths that have occurred during operation. Two workers were scalded to death at Rancho Seco. Seven (?) in an incidence in Japan. Two people fell to their deaths in the US/Canada in the last few months. Many people died in the Fukushima evacuation.

            We have no complete count for nuclear like we do for wind. We simply can not say that one is safer than the other.

            We can say that several workers have been killed by exposure to radiation.
            We have no record of any workers being killed by wind or sunshine.

            We don’t have to worry about how we’re going to store the used wind and sunshine for thousands of years to keep people from being hurt.

          • danS

            The post was really a slightly antagonistic response to the previous poster who was suggesting that wind farms are safe for humans and nuclear power stations are not. When the real answer is that both are pretty darn safe, certainly when factors against global warming.

            The people who died in the evacuation from Fukushima did not die from
            radiation, directly relating this to nuclear power after the area was
            his by an earthquake followed by a tidal wave seems questionable.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We have to go to great lengths to keep nuclear plants from melting down and to keep ourselves protected from used fuel and other radioactive waste.
            Can you comprehend the danger? Do you understand the effort and expense required to protect ourselves?

            The people who died in the Fukushima evacuation were victims of nuclear energy. The only reason they were hastily evacuated from the area was because is had become extremely dangerous for them to remain in the area.
            No one has to evacuated from the vicinity of a wind or solar farm.

          • Solar power not safe

            Yes they have been rooftop solar fires, and yes there have been evacuations because of solar rooftop fires in the US.

            You got your facts wrong again Bob. would you like the web link.

  • heinbloed

    To counter the proliferation of radioactivity birds and other animals are frequently culled. These numbers are propably not included in the count, nor are the victims of ‘scientific researches’ with radioactive substances and with pollutants released from combustion/mining.

    Forgetting these victims could be blamed on brain shrinkage:

  • Marion Meads

    Peter Sinclair provides us with The List of Top Bird Killers (via CBC):

    1. Domestic and feral cats: 200 million
    2. Power lines, collisions and electrocutions: 25 million
    3. Collisions with houses or buildings: 25 million
    4. Vehicle collisions: 14 million
    5. Game bird hunting: 5 million
    6. Agricultural pesticides 2.7 million
    7. Agricultural mowing: 2.2 million young birds, equivalent to one million adult birds
    8. Commercial forestry: 1.4 million nests, equivalent to 900,000 adult birds
    9. Communications towers: 220,000


    • Paulbee

      Good points.

  • Marion Meads

    Why even bother bring this up when all windmills of the world never made it to the top 20 causes of bird deaths. You have the link right there in front of you in related post. The number 1 killer by several orders of magnitude higher are domestic and feral cats. Number 2 would be the buildings. Windmills, with all its hype about bird deaths never made the list of top killers.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Zack just wants to make my Thanksgiving interesting.

      I’ll now to get to deal with a tinfoil cap and anti-wind crowds that typically show up when an article like this runs…. ;o)

      • Peter Gray

        Bob, for an insanely optimistic moment there, I thought you might be wrong about the tinfoil hats.

        But then Mary showed up.

        Sorry I ever doubted you.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There’s Something (not quite right) About Mary.

          She shows up here and there on the web making the same claims. People point out where she is misinformed. She never seems to take on new information but continues to spam the same basic message.

          There are a number of people like Mary who seem to form a belief and then look for arguments they can make to support their belief. No amount of facts seems to modify their beliefs. They seem to be unable to see other sides of the issue.

          All of who support the use renewables over fossil fuels recognize that every technology we have is somehow flawed. Wind turbines do kill some birds and bats. Manufacturing solar panels does create some hazardous waste. Dams can burst, they can harm fish migration, and they flood land that wasn’t previously flooded.

          But relatively to the continued use of fossil fuels the downside of wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal and biomass/gas is miniscule.

          Even if wind turbines were to wipe out a few species of birds that is nothing compared to the massive extinction we have already caused. If we allow climate change to continue unabated we will drive hundreds of thousands of species to extinction.

          • Peter Gray

            Couldn’t agree with you more on all of that, Bob.

            By the way, have you checked out Wm. Nordhaus’s latest book, The Climate Casino? Excellent so far, as I expected from Nordhaus.

            For fun, check the user review section on Amazon. When I looked, of the 2 negative comments, one was from an avowed denier, the other from a rabid, perfectionist enviro type. That they both panned the book (likely w/o reading it; surely w/o understanding) is a small point in favor, IMHO.

          • Mary

            Bob, you’re an ignorant alarmist. There is nothing that even remotely suggests that industrial wind does squat to reduce CO2 emissions. You are also completely ignorant when it comes to ecosystems and sustainability. I’d dumb this down for you but I got rid of my puppets and crayons years ago. Perception does not equal reality, no matter how much you wish it was so. Wishing industrial wind was the answer is not enough.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That I could be, Mary. Let’s see if you can prove that I am ignorant.

            Let’s start with the fact that the US will generate about 5% of its electricity from wind in 2013.

            Now, I believe that if we generate 5% of our electricity from wind we must have used less fossil fuels than if we had generated 0% of our electricity from wind. And the fact that we reduced our fossil fuel use we lowered our CO2 emissions.

            It could be, in fact, ignorance on my part to believe that using less fossil fuels would decrease CO2 output.

            Now, how about explaining to us all how we can use less fossil fuels and not lower our CO2 output….

    • heinbloed

      ” The number 1 killer by several orders of magnitude higher are …..”

      ….. humans. There are billions of birds eaten by humans, eggs, habitats destroyed and the farmers and gunners not to be forgotten.

      Every year the airports are ‘cleared’. All airports.

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