RSPB proved wrong by fellow bird society and by US report
- 1) The new Spanish reportSpanish wind farms may be killing up to 1,000,000 birds a year, and the magnitude of the problem is vastly under-estimated according to a new report by SEO/Birdlife, the Spanish bird society.The report is particularly interesting because it flies in the face of the recent declarations from the RSPB in favour of a large deployment of wind farms in the UK.It also vindicates what I have been saying for 6 years, and conforts me in the thought that my perseverance in blowing the whistle hasn't been in vain.The report :(Directives for Evaluating the Impact of Wind Farms on Birds and Bats )TRANSLATION OF ITS MAIN POINTS :( bold letters : my emphasis )
1 - Spain has over 670 wind farms and 16,000 wind turbines.
2 - Bird mortality varies betwen 0.63 and 10 birds per turbine per year in the US ( National Wind Coordinating Committee, 2004 ), and between 1.2 in Oíz ( Biscayne; Unamuno et al., 2005 ) and 64.26 at the El Perdón wind farm ( Navarra; Lekuona, 2001 ).
" This would indicate that Spanish wind farms could actually be killing between 19.000 and 1,000,000 birds a year."
3 - These figures should be considered with caution because the magnitude of the problem is likely to be much larger than has been suggested by the evidence found. The under-estimation of the threat may be due to the following :a) Few monitoring reports are being published, and there is much opacity about it in the windfarm industry and in public administrations.
b) It has been found that bird carcasses have been hidden by wind farm employees.
c) Not all wind turbines within a wind farm kill the same number of birds. Yet in most cases only a small fraction of the turbines are monitored.
d) The monitoring methods are often inadequate for finding bats and small birds.
e) In the majority of published reports, there is no evaluation of the cumulative effect with other wind farms nearby.4 - A few examples show that the magnitude of the problem may be much bigger :
i) At the Altamont Pass wind farm, California, the death of 30-40 golden eagles is registered yearly, i.e. 42% of the deaths of golden eagles in the area ( Hunt, 2002 ).
ii) In the province of Soria, Spain, 143 griffon vultures have been killed in one year at 15 wind farms. This amounts to 0.31 vulture per turbine, or 226 vultures for the 732 wind turbines of the Province.
( my comment : for the 16,000 Spanish wind turbines the total would be 4,960 vultures a year. Conservatively, I had personally estimated the massacre at 2,000 per year - see : www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=2968 ).iii) In the province of Navarra, high levels of mortality were found ( Lekuona 2001 ).iv) In the province of Castellón, two wind farms have been shut down because of the high mortality of griffon vultures.v) At wind farms in the province of Cádiz, an important mortality of egyptian vultures ( Neophron Percnopterus ) has been registered : at least 8 kills to date. This species is listed as being in danger of extinction ( Endangered status in the 2007 IUCN Red List ).Some of the recommendations found in the report :
5) - Vultures travel large distances in search of food every day. Wind farms should not be sited within 50 km of vulture colonies.
6) - Wind farms should not be sited within 15 km of a nest of eagles.
7) - Monitoring reports should be made available on a webpage.
2) The US reportThe U.S. State of Birds report, released by the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on March 17th 2009.I quote the article which brought the report to my attention :"Environmentalists and scientists say the report should signal the Obama administration to act cautiously as it seeks to expand renewable energy production and the electricity grid on public lands and tries to harness wind energy along the nation's coastlines."Like their Spanish counterparts, US ornithologists are concerned by the rapid decline of bird populations and are worried that the additional mortality caused by wind farms and their power lines may prove to be catastrophic.In the circumstances, we are justified to wonder about the soundness of RSPB's management, which as you will recall just aired an appeal in favour of the construction of a great number of windfarms.
Mark Duchamp + 34 679 12 99 97
Director, Climate Change and Alternative Energies
Partida La Sella, 25www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=1228
03750 Pedreguer, Spain