In Delaware County, Iowa, a local landowner found 15 rabbits, with their neck’s broken, spread at the base of a wind turbine. A local land manager said it is likely they were placed to lure and potentially kill eagles with the wind turbines.
Wind power provided Iowa with more than 36% of its electricity in 2016. More than any other state in the USA, and second only to coal for total electricity within Iowa.
A sheriff at the scene suggested the animals were purposely placed at the wind turbine. Per the local news, the rabbits looked domestic due to cleanliness and color.
The land is leased from the local owner by RPM Access. They own several wind farms in the state. An environmental consultant of theirs – Linda Slobodnik – said part of her work includes picking up roadkill and monitoring wildlife in the area to keep animals safe.
“There are a lot of anti-wind people. At this time, we are looking at new places for projects, and I am thinking that possibly someone would like us to not build another wind farm in the area,” said Slobodnik.
Recent research suggests 300,000 birds are lost per year to wind turbines in the USA. On a per kWh basis they are about equal to nuclear power, but kill 15 times fewer birds than fossil fuels. Cats kill tens to hundreds of millions of birds per year.
In 2015, a solar tower in California killed 150 birds during a six-hour test. It’s a solar thermal tower that uses mirrors on the ground to reflect the sun’s rays toward a furnace at the top of the structure, where the temperatures get into the thousands. The power plant’s low power mode would concentrate the light above the tower so as not to overheat the furnace. It’s during this period that the birds were killed. The power plant fixed the issue by spreading out the beams during these low power times.
Do animals die at solar power and wind construction projects? Yes. Is it something the industry is concerned with and does their best to manage? Yes. Do I think anti-renewable folk like to use it incorrectly to underpin their illogical, often times fossil fuel funded, fear of something different? Absolutely.
I like the second quote from the site’s owner in the above article –
“I think there are a lot of people who will speak against wind turbines. I think a lot of what they do is out of ignorance,” said RPM Access Project Manager, Kevin Lehs.
The only logic I offer up is that anything humans build is going to kill birds. Our glass buildings and house cats kill 90%+ of the birds we lose. I do know that windmills are saving more human lives – and birds – via cleaning our energy. Unless we’re going to stop using electricity, we have to accept a trade-off.