Wind power is making the world a cleaner place, and a single wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes. No harmful polluting gasses are produced, and it’s a cost-effective way to bring clean energy to communities. According to the Wind Energy Foundation, wind energy reduced CO2 by 9 percent in 2016, or the equivalent of 33.7 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions.  The further development of wind energy secures a healthier environment for the future.

Wind energy is far better for wildlife than traditional “dirty” energy, but it’s important to ensure that wind farms aren’t erected in key migratory bird routes.  Responsible wind energy is bird-safe.

Landowners are the first line of defense when it comes to bird-smart wind energy. 

The Role of the Landowner

Depending on your location, you could live in an area where more than 500,000 migratory birds travel throughout the year. These areas are essential for the continued survival of raptors, night-migrating songbirds, grassland birds, and eagles. These key areas for wildlife may not be viable for wind farms.

 Landowners are the first line of defense when it comes to bird-smart wind energy. So how can a landowner know if they live in a good location for wind turbines?

The Wind Risk Assessment Map by the American Bird Conservancy

Interested in erecting a wind turbine or four? Time to investigate! Use the Wind Risk Assessment Map by the American Bird Conservancy to tell whether or not you live in an important bird migratory route.

From their website:

“Our wind risk assessment map promotes bird-smart wind energy siting by highlighting the locations of important bird areas that should be avoided by wind developers or approached with care.”

The American Bird Conservancy provides an easy-to-use, visually pleasing, and interactive map so you can easily see the bird migration activity in your state or region. It’s not only incredibly helpful, but it’s also fascinating! It’s a great first step in studying bird patterns in your region to discern if your land might be good to go for a wind farm.

Interested in erecting a wind turbine or four?

How it works

If you live in a red zone, it means you live in a critically important migratory route for bird life. If you live in an orange zone, it means you’re in a key migration corridor where bird risk may differ from season to season, or year to year. You may live in a key habitat area or a “marine important bird area”. In these areas, wind farms may be shut down on a seasonal basis, so some wind development may be possible.

If you live in any of these zones, then we’re less likely to develop a wind farm on your land. We can still check it out and let you know if you’re in a good spot for wind turbines – or if you should take up bird watching instead.

If you don’t live in any of these zones, then you might receive a greenlight for wind development!

The Role of Wind Energy Developers

Here at Alcen, we’re serious about bird safety and wildlife. Here are the steps we take to ensure that our wind turbines are bird-safe and wildlife friendly:

  • Before deciding on a site, we perform a critical environmental issues analysis, called a preliminary site assessment. This is when we assess the suitability of a prospective site.
  • After the analysis, we decide whether to move forward. We spend two full years surveying the site for environmental data and wildlife monitoring. We want to make sure our initial analysis was correct. We take no short cuts!

 

We believe that nothing beats a “boots on the ground” inspection of a site for bird and bat activity. We’re lucky to have the maps, databases, local heritage and wildlife conservation programs to help us with this process.

So even though erecting wind turbines is an exciting prospect, we have to take our time and ensure that we do what’s best for local environments.  After all, the spirit of wind energy is to promote the continued health of the planet.

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