August 31, 2011
AWWI Letter to the Washington Post
AWWI sent the following Letter to the Editor of the Washington Post regarding the August 29 article by Darryl Fears entitled “Wind farms under fire for bird kills.”
To the Editor:
Wind and wildlife: getting it right
Protecting wildlife while developing wind energy is a shared goal of the wind industry and major national conservation organizations who came together to form the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI).
While we know that buildings and cats pose a much larger threat, in order to effectively address impacts from wind turbines we need to better understand why these can vary by region and landscape type.
A recent study shows on average less than 3 bird fatalities per MW per year, suggesting that the total number is even less than the industry’s estimate of 150,000 birds per year. Averages can be misleading, however, so there is disagreement on projections.
To refine estimates of wildlife impact and to develop better models to reduce that impact, AWWI is therefore working with its partners to vastly expand the amount of data available for analysis, thereby improving our understanding. Additional AWWI initiatives include research to better avoid and minimize impacts to eagles, and a Landscape Assessment Tool to facilitate the siting of wind energy. AWWI is also working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and AWWI Partners to enhance the effectiveness of the Wind Energy Siting Guidelines and Guidance for Eagles.
AWWI partners are working together to get it right, and thereby are enabling us all to reap the environmental and economic benefits of clean, domestically produced, renewable electricity.