Donald Trump criticized the wind-power industry this past week for killing birds. A far bigger threat is real estate developers and their tall buildings.
About 599 million birds are killed annually in the U.S. when they fly into windows, trailing only loss of habitat and cats as the top causes of bird deaths, according to the National Audubon Society. Wind turbines account for about 234,000.
“Wind turbines are way at the end of the list of threats to birds compared to fossil fuel development, oil pits, coal mining — and collisions with buildings,” said Nicolas Gonzalez, an Audubon Society spokesman.
Trump fired off his wind energy critique in a speech Thursday, saying turbines are “killing all the eagles.” The statement came as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee outlined his energy policy, calling for the U.S. to lift environmental regulations and use more coal, oil and natural gas.
Wind and solar energy, Trump said, are “very expensive” and can’t work without “massive” subsidies. That assessment isn’t totally accurate, according to Daniel Shurey, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, who said the oil and gas industries also receive government subsidies. The cost of wind and solar has fallen by nearly two-thirds over the last six years and in some regions is now competitive with fossil fuels — even without subsidies.
“You can’t just say that,” Shurey said. “In some regions it is more economic than others.