Wind energy has become a cheaper and more popular source of clean electricity.
Using wind turbines for electricity has become a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.
But do wind turbines affect animals? And not just ones in the air, but ones on the ground?
Are farmers finding their sheep totally confused by these massive contraptions?
Wind turbines effects on cattle
In most cases, the wind turbines don’t have any effect on cattle and other livestock. The land around a wind turbine is still suitable for grazing and farming.
New South Wales found that livestock would often graze right at the base of the wind turbines. Cattle have also used the wind turbines for shade and as a rubbing post. Apparently, they are great for a good scratch!
Effects of wind turbines on other animals
A 2014 study from the Polish Journal showed that wind turbines had a very small effect on cattle.
It also showed that geese living within 50 meters weighed less and had higher stress levels. The study compared them to geese that were 500 meters away from wind turbines.
In some cases, the wind turbines on wind farms have harmed domesticated animals. There were studies done on wind farms in the northern region of Fennoscandia.
The study included wind farms that were being built. The researchers also observed the reindeer population surrounding the wind farms.
It showed that reindeer stayed away during the construction of the wind turbines. When the wind turbines were complete, they did not seem to affect the local reindeer.
Danger to wildlife
Wind turbines might be dangerous to wild birds and bats in the surrounding areas. The wind turbines hurt or killed birds or bats when they flew into the blades.
Wind turbines will often change the air pressure when the blades move in the wind currents, leading to bats dying from barotrauma.
This is damage in the bat’s body tissue caused by changes in the air pressure. It can happen when bats fly too close to the wind turbine. The air pressure drop will damage the lungs and kill the bats.
The Wind Energy Bird and Bat Monitoring Database released a report in 2018 about the bat deaths. The database found that a single wind turbine killed 5 – 12 bats that year.
In the US, there has also been concern about the danger to birds. There were studies done that showed different amounts of bird deaths.
There was a study in 2013 about the bird deaths caused by wind turbines, and the Smithsonian found that there were 573,000 bird deaths.
Organizations need to take some precautions to protect the local wildlife. When it’s peak bird season, organizations could shut down entirely or reduce activity.
Radar would detect any large flocks of birds flying in the area of the wind farm. The owners would switch the wind turbine off to protect the birds.
Are wind farms a danger to animal habitats?
Organizations often built wind farms in remote locations. These locations will usually be in the countryside and mountainous areas. This is because these areas will often have strong wind currents.
Wind farms need to be on large pieces of land for all the necessary wind turbines to generate electricity. On average, a wind farm can have from five wind turbines to 150 wind turbines.
There has been some concern about the possible danger to animal habitats from wind farms. In particular, there is a potential danger to bird and bat habitats.
There is a minuscule amount of danger to animal habitats from wind farms.
Wind farms built in the US between 2000 and 2009 had minor surface damage. It also found that the construction of wind turbines damaged 0.43% of wind farmland.
Wind farms and cattle
Some critics of wind turbines have shared their worries about the dangers to animals. This included the dangers to cattle and other animals.
There have been studies that show the effect of wind turbines can change depending on the animal. Wind turbines don’t have any impact on cattle. They are still able to graze near the turbines.
Wind turbines have harmed geese and reindeer, and the local reindeer will stay from wind turbines. This will happen during the construction process.
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