Wind and wildlife

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In response to the Post-Gazette’s Nov. 26 editorial (“Use the Talons: Justice Must Crack Down on Eagle Deaths”), the wind power industry works hard to minimize its effects on wildlife.

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

The wind energy industry is proud of our record in addressing our impacts and has been demonstrated by third-party analysis as having the lowest life-cycle environmental impacts of any form of energy generation.

Duke Energy Renewables has agreed to be held to a higher standard than companies in other sectors, by not only paying a fine for the impacts, but agreeing to avoid, minimize and mitigate for future impacts, and conduct research into means for reducing the impacts of others in other locations.

No one takes wildlife impacts more seriously than the wind industry, and while unfortunately some eagles occasionally collide with turbines at some wind farms, this is not a common occurrence, with fatalities of golden eagles at modern wind facilities representing only 2 percent of all documented sources of human caused eagle fatalities, and we are striving to reduce these impacts further.

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

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

Director of Siting Policy
American Wind Energy Association
Washington, D.C.

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