Originally Posted by dante2308
I think the price of transmission lines go up over time gradually and consistently, but I think it is worth it so you don't have to convince me. However there are two problems that the scientists need to solve with wind and solar.
First wind power kills thousands and thousands of birds.
This is indeed true, but I want to put this into perspective. What people fail to realize is that wind turbines kill somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 birds per year
in the US, but that number is insignificant when compared to other bird killers. We shouldn't turn away from non-polluting energy sources due to this. I do agree, however, that each region will have renewable resources best suited to its locality.
From a report by the National Wind Coordinating Committee (link
The NWCC reports that: "Based on current estimates, windplant related avian collision fatalities probably represent from 0.01% to 0.02% (i.e., 1 out of every 5,000 to 10,000) of the annual avian collision fatalities in the United States." That is, commercial wind turbines cause the direct deaths of only 0.01% to 0.02% of all of the birds killed by collisions with man-made structures and activities in the U.S.
For comparison (from the report):
Utility transmission and distribution lines, the backbone of our electrical power system, are responsible for 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year
in the U.S.
Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually
in the U.S.
While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually
A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) report states that, "recent research suggests that rural free-ranging domestic cats in Wisconsin may be killing between 8 and 217 million birds each year. The most reasonable estimates indicate that 39 million birds are killed in the state each year.
" This is in Wisconsin alone.
While it is unfortunate that birds are killed by turbines, it is a paltry amount compared to other bird dangers, many of which are manmade and not producing clean energy. Also, newer turbine designs are higher with larger blade spans, resulting in fewer kills per turbine than older designs. Paraphrasing from a synopsis (link
) of a report by the Government Accounting Office (link
Older turbine designs produced far less power, thus more were needed in a condensed area than would be required today. Plus, new designs are higher (out of reach of birds swooping down to catch prey) with longer, thinner blades, thus less area for a bird to hit.