Azara Blog: Wind farms pose low risk to migrating birds

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Date published: 2005/06/08

The BBC says:

Migrating birds are unlikely to be seriously affected by offshore wind farms, according to a study.

Scientists found that birds simply fly around the farm, or between the turbines; less than 1% are in danger of colliding with the giant structures.

Writing in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, the researchers say previous estimates of collision risk have been "over-inflated".

However, conservationists warn that turbines pose other risks to birdlife.

The research project involved one of Denmark's two large offshore wind farms, Nysted in the Baltic Sea, which contains 72 turbines each measuring 69m to the top of the nacelle or hub. It started operating in 2003.
Globally, offshore projects currently generate around 600 MW, less than 2% of the overall total for wind.

But the potential is huge, because there is less competition for space at sea, turbines are less visible, and the wind there is often more reliable.

It's early days and it's only one study, but definitely good news. As with most technology that is relatively new on an industrial scale, the real problems will only become apparent in decades. And it will almost certainly be the case that some species will be winners (e.g. those that can use the platforms somehow) and some will be losers. On the whole it would seem fairly obvious that onshore farms are better, but many people don't like onshore farms.

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