Birds and wind energy

I write to clear up mischaracterizations made by a commentary published online in the PG’s PowerSource section (“Linowes: Bird Mortality: Big Wind on the Defense,” Oct. 22) regarding a recently published study on bird mortality at wind energy facilities.

The study in question was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE and was conducted with the support of the American Wind Wildlife Institute, a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to facilitate timely and responsible development of wind energy while protecting wildlife. AWWI’s board of directors is composed equally of members of science and conservation organizations and wind energy companies. AWWI’s work is overseen by scientific experts to ensure it meets the highest scientific standards.

This analysis of bird fatality data at wind energy facilities was conducted independently by scientists and was submitted to PLOS ONE for independent peer review. The issues raised by the commentary are addressed by the study’s authors. The peer reviewers were satisfied that the authors’ paper met the rigorous standards set by the journal, and therefore warranted publication.

This study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of bird fatalities from collisions with wind turbines. Based on available data, the study’s authors estimated that wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually. The authors further estimated that this mortality constitutes less than 0.05 percent of small passerine populations (the most abundant bird group in North America).

Director of Research and Evaluation
American Wind Wildlife Institute
Washington, D.C.