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IndyStar: Two responses to article “Wind turbines: Birds at Risk” January 25, 2013

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Dear IndianaDG Readers:

In case you don’t remember the original article that spawned these two responses, you can go back and read it at http://wp.me/pMRZi-10a

In addition to these two responses published in the Indianapolis Star, I received this reponse on Facebook posted to the Indiana Beyond Coal Group. I thought I would also share.
Thomas Anderson You won’t see this on the front page: Wind turbines kill far fewer birds in general each year than do many other causes linked to humans, including domestic cats and collisions with glass windows. http://www.nature.com/news/the-trouble-with-turbines-an-ill-wind-1.10849

The debate goes on…but I think renewable energy is winning. 🙂 But if you want a different perspective read the 6 Comments.

Laura Ann Arnold

Our View: Clean wind power has clear net benefits

January 24th, 2013 |  6 Comments

By John Anderson, Sean Brady, Kevin E. Parzyck, Shanelle Montana, Jeffrey Nemeth

As Indiana continues its national leadership in pursuing a more diverse energy portfolio, we who support wind energy development applaud The Indianapolis Star for devoting resources to covering the renewable power sector.

Regarding a Jan. 13 article, “Wind turbines: Birds at Risk,” however, we must point out that the coverage is presented in an unbalanced manner. All forms of energy production come at some cost — whether environmental, financial or otherwise — but to fully understand wind energy’s environmental effects, they must be compared and viewed in context with other forms of energy generation. When viewed in this fashion, wind power is broadly recognized as having the lowest impact, and as being the one most compatible with the environment.

The overall picture reveals that wind energy has created thousands of jobs for Hoosiers; generated tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue for state, county and local communities; and provides steady and substantial supplemental income for Indiana farmers and other landowners.

With regard to the environment, wind power — renewable, clean energy — creates no greenhouse gas or other harmful air pollution. In fact, Indiana’s wind farms currently help the state avoid 2.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually that otherwise would be released by fossil-fuel generation sources. And wind power also saves invaluable natural resources, using virtually no water in the power generation process.

As with many other features of modern-day life — highways, radio towers, airplanes and tall buildings — wind turbines factor into bird fatalities. According to studies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations, for example, hundreds of millions of birds each year die in collisions with buildings. It’s estimated that approximately 60 million annually are killed by vehicles. Further, a recent report estimates that cats kill at least 500 million birds each year.

By contrast, based on recent analysis of publicly available data from studies conducted at more than 100 wind farms around the nation, it’s estimated that fewer than 150,000 birds are killed annually by wind power generation.

In addition to presenting these facts, we write to emphasize that the wind energy sector has historically and continues to actively strive to mitigate wildlife impacts, working directly with regulatory agencies and the conservation community and often going beyond what is required by law.

In conclusion, no energy source, or human activity for that matter, is completely benign. Regardless of how we decide to power our society, some impact will result. However, different energy sources have different impacts and some have especially acute, negative impacts on the health of our children, the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and wildlife populations. Given that wind is clean and renewable, uses virtually no water, and creates no air or water pollution, its net health and environmental benefits are clear.

Anderson is director of Siting Policy with American Wind Energy Association; Brady is regional policy manager with Wind on the Wires; Parzyck is vice president of Development with Invenergy; Montana is an associate of Regulatory & Legislative Affairs with EDF Renewable Energy; Nemeth is project manager of EDPR Renewable.

Local wind turbine hasn’t killed a single bird

January 21st, 2013, Indianapolis Star Letter to the Editor

The state of Indiana and our power companies deserve a round of applause and praise for the wind farms that have been constructed in the last four years. God has blessed us with wind and the sun, and we need to do a better job capturing these resources as our primary source of electricity. It is unfortunate that The Star’s recent article (“Wind turbines: Birds at risk for from growing wind power in Indiana,” Jan. 13) took a negative position on wind energy by focusing on “estimates” of birds that are killed by turbines. As the owner of the largest wind turbine in Indianapolis (6355 Morenci Trail, near 62nd Street and Georgetown Road), I feel it important to educate others on wind turbines and bird kills. My turbine’s blades reach 125 feet into the air and spin 1,800 revolutions an hour.

After over four years of production, my turbine has not killed one bird. The residents of Pike Township opposed my turbine five years ago and stated it would kill birds. They were wrong. It is time we all admit global warming is real and we need to do everything we can to save our planet. Wind energy is a safe and natural way to produce electricity and I am proud of our state for all it has done. Carpe Vendus! (Seize the wind!)

Jim Purcell