Owl’s Fair In Love And War Against Wind Farm
A proposed wind turbine farm in northwest Ohio is ruffling bird watchers. The Emerson Creek Wind Project site lies 40 miles southwest of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO). The BSBO hosts the annual Biggest Week In American Birding festival in May. While most birders back renewable electricity, many oppose this wind project. So, let’s look at why birders are taking a green energy project to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Wind Is A Great Asset For Green Energy
It’s no secret that green energy cuts carbon from fossil fuels, like natural gas. And after last year’s extreme price swings, Ohio electricity customers may find green energy burns less cash in their wallets. The proposed 73 wind turbine farm could create up to 950,000 megawatts per year. That output could power around one million homes every year. With electric demand rising, turning towards renewables would ease the state’s energy costs.
Why Is The Location Controversial
Ohio is home to many species of migratory birds. Birdwatching is a very popular hobby in Ohio, bringing in huge numbers of tourists each year. In 2011 alone, birdwatching brought in over $26 million dollars to Ohio towns on the coast of Lake Erie. However, birds don’t stay in one place. Even at 40 miles away, the wind farm could effect one of the state’s prime birdwatching spots. While some studies suggest turbine related bird deaths aren’t very high, the BSBO argues that the wind farm’s location does threaten the area’s birds. The group also dismissed the effectiveness of painting one blade black, adding it goes against FAA guidelines.
What’s Really The Situation With the Birds and The Blades?
According to the Audubon Society, bird-wind turbine collisions kill up to 500,000 birds per year. Although that number seems shocking, pet and building-related fatalities are in the billions. The problem is that adding a new renewable energy resource would help control electricity prices across the state. More importantly, it would reduce carbon emissions, which is good for both humans and birds. But while the site does lie directly in a migratory path, the turbines still present a threat to endangered birds. After all, when each member of a species is important to its survival, loosing just one can spell extinction. To be sure, it’s not an ideal trade off. So, researchers should carefully monitor the wind turbine effects on local bird populations.
Other Problems With The Green Energy Project
Birders aren’t the only people taking issue with the proposed wind turbine project. Local landowners worry about the unstable ground at wind farm’s site. The karst landscape is prone to washouts and sinkholes that could endanger both workers and turbines. However, the Ohio Power Sitting Board argues that construction could reduce these risks to man, turbine, and bird alike.
A Lost Cause or Lost Caws?
There is currently no news about the first court hearing from the Supreme Court. We’ll keep you posted if that changes for both sides of the story. If you’re looking to save on your electricity bill while you save the birds, don’t worry. You can check out the best plans in your area, including green ones, at www.ohenergyratings.com