Wind energy is becoming increasingly prevalent across the globe. Both onshore and offshore wind farm installations show continued growth and wind is targeted as one of the main components to a fossil fuel free world. But with this prevalence there are growing concerns that wind farms are dangerous for particular species in the environment.
A variety of concerns are raised when wind farms are constructed for the human and nonhuman alike. It continues to be an ongoing debate in many locations as to whether the actual sound and vibrations from wind turbines are detrimental to human inhabitants nearby. Another common concern for wind turbines moving into areas is increased deaths of birds.
This is an especially prevalent concern for areas with bird species which are endangered. While environmental reviews often clear wind farms of harm for wildlife, concerns are still raised regarding the number of deaths caused by spinning turbines. However, wind energy advocates are attempting to assuage fears by pointing to the structures and beings already common to this world which are killing large numbers of birds, often forgotten or unknown by the public.
According to wind energy experts, wind turbines cause between ten and forty thousand bird deaths per year in the United States. While this number is significant, especially if the deaths are for endangered species, it only accounts for 0.1 percent of bird deaths estimated in the U.S. each year.
Domestic cats pose a greater risk to birds in the U.S. and globally currently than any other being or structure, according to experts. The exact figure is unknown, but domestic and feral cats are considered to cause the deaths of hundreds of millions of birds each year in the U.S. alone. Power lines and windows are the next biggest threats to birds as upwards of 174 million deaths and 100 million to 1 billion deaths are considered caused by them each year respectively. Pesticides are estimated to cause 70 million deaths per year, while automobiles are estimated to cause between 60 and 80 million.