Clean energy doesn't have to be deadly.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recently falsely claimed that wind turbines kill 750,000 birds each year. In actuality, wind turbines kill a little more than 350,000birds annually — which is far fewer than cars, house cats, or plate-glass windows put to death. What’s the biggest threat to our flying friends? According to the Audubon Society, it’s climate change.
Of course, to draw down heat-trapping carbon pollution, we need to ramp up wind power by an order of magnitude, which will put a lot more birds in danger. Fortunately, it seems scientists have found a fix. Researchers at the College of William & Mary have built an innovative device that alerts birds in danger of crashing into a wind turbine.
“There’s a lot of interest in developing near-shore or offshore wind energy. Putting large, rotating structures that look like mincemeat-makers in the sky isn’t going to be good for the birds,” said biologist John Swaddle, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Swaddle wants to equip turbines with his new invention, the Acoustic Lighthouse, which warns bird to look up before it’s too late.