Defenders in Action: How the Wind was Won

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It just might be a win-win for wildlife and wind power. In April, a group advising the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed on draft wind energy siting recommendations detailing how to avoid sensitive wildlife habitat and decrease the chances of birds and bats being killed by wind turbines.

Wind Power, © Stephen Strathdee / istockphoto

© Stephen Strathdee / istockphoto

It just might be a win-win for wildlife and wind power.

In April, a group advising the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed on draft wind energy siting recommendations detailing how to avoid sensitive wildlife habitat and decrease the chances of birds and bats being killed by wind turbines. Each year tens of thousands of birds and bats die in collisions with wind turbines, but smart renewable energy planning can help avoid these disasters.

The Wind Turbines Federal Advisory Committee, a group representing conservation organizations, the wind energy industry, federal and state agencies, and tribal representatives, worked together to provide recommendations that help identify and minimize possible risks to wildlife and habitat at each phase of a new wind energy project. The guidelines aim to steer projects away from crucial habitats and places where birds and bats congregate and encourage developers to think about wildlife and habitat at the beginning of a project before they have invested a lot of time and money into the site.

“Wind energy is an important part of our clean energy future, but for it to be truly successful, we need thoughtful long-term planning that takes wildlife and habitat conservation into consideration,” says Defenders’ Aimee Delach, a wind energy and wildlife expert and member of the advisory committee. “These draft guidelines will go a long way toward ensuring that future wind-energy development is compatible with birds, bats and other wildlife, and we urge Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to adopt them.”

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