Renewal of Tax Credits
for Wind Energy Should Require Protections
for Birds and Bats |
Immediate Release: April 30, 2007
, Director of Public Relations, American Bird Conservancy,
202/234-7181 ext. 216
Bird protection measures must become mandatory for wind energy
projects because voluntary steps are being ignored by the
wind energy industry says Dr. Michael Fry of American Bird
Conservancy in testimony before the House Subcommittee Fisheries,
Wildlife and Oceans tomorrow.
The hearing “Gone with the Wind:
Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats” is scheduled
for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday May 1 and will be webcast live on the
Committee’s web site at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov.
A copy of Dr. Fry’s testimony is available at http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/070430_testimony.html.
“Collaborative efforts to successfully
address the impacts of wind projects on birds and wildlife
have been a failure,” said Dr. Fry, who is a member
of the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) comprised
of representatives from the utility, wind industry, environmental
and government sectors. “There has been much discussion
and almost no real action on the part of the wind industry
to resolve bird collision issues.”
The House Ways and Means Committee is currently
considering an extension of tax breaks for wind energy production.
To keep the wind industry growing, its advocates are aiming
to push Congress to extend a tax credit worth 1.9 cents per
kilowatt-hour that currently does not require any action on
behalf of the wind energy industry to mitigate its impacts
on federally protected migratory birds. The credit generally
expires and is renewed every two years.
“Any renewal of the production tax
credit for wind energy should include provisions that require
developers follow best management practices in avoiding and
minimizing bird and wildlife impacts,” said Dr. Fry.
According to The Worldwatch Institute Report,
“American Energy: The Renewable Path to Energy Security,”
in 2005, the United States led the world in wind energy installations.
In the same year, wind farms were the country’s second
largest source of new generating capacity, after natural gas-fired
But according to the NWCC, this growing
alternative energy source is killing between 30,000 to 60,000
birds a year, including Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Burrowing
Owls, Mourning Doves, bluebirds and over 50 species of migratory
songbirds. At the current mortality rate and growth rate of
the wind industry, by 2030 a projected 900,000 to 1.8 million
birds would be killed per year by wind turbines, unless protective
measures are implemented.
ABC believes that with proper siting, operation,
and monitoring, wind energy can provide clean, renewable energy
for America's future with minimal impacts to birds and bats.
Concerns have surfaced over the potential threat to birds
and bats from the construction and operation of wind energy
projects. ABC emphasizes that before approval and construction
of new wind energy projects proceeds, potential risks to birds
and bats should be evaluated through site analyses, including
assessments of bird and bat abundance, timing and magnitude
of migration, and habitat use patterns.
Wind energy project location, design, operation,
and lighting should be carefully evaluated to prevent, or
at least minimize, bird and bat mortality and adverse impacts
through habitat fragmentation, disturbance, and site avoidance.
For example, wherever possible, wind power projects should
be sited on areas with poor habitat, such as agricultural
lands rather than native prairie. Sites requiring special
scrutiny include sites that are frequented by federally listed
endangered species of birds and bats, in known bird migration
pathways, areas where birds are highly concentrated, and areas
that have landscape features known to attract large numbers
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ABC is the only 501(c)(3) organization that works solely to conserve
native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.
ABC acts to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats,
and reduce threats, while building capacity in the conservation
movement. ABC is the voice for birds, ensuring that they are
adequately protected; that sufficient funding is available
for bird conservation; and that land is protected and properly
managed to maintain viable habitat.
ABC is a membership organization that is
consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent
group, Charity Navigator.