One of the big pushes so far has been to move to cleaner forms of energy, like wind power. Unfortunately nothing is free and even though wind power is much better for the environment then nuclear, coal, or other fossil fuels their are still trade offs. There are a couple of problems with wind farms that make them less green then most people think. First they take up potential habitat for wildlife, I do not consider this a huge problem because they do not take up any more habitat then things like strip mining and oil rigs the bigger problem is with bird and bat turbine collisions. Collisions kill many birds and bats each year especially during migration. With the plan to expand the number of wind farms how will this effect avian population?
Fortunately, according to an article at the American Bird Conservancy website, environmental groups, companies and the government are beginning to look into the effect that wind farms will have on birds, bats and migration and are formulating ways that they can minimize the impact. The article talks about projects where bird friendly organizations, like Audubon, American Bird Conservancy, Cornell and the Nature Conservancy are working to determine areas where wind farms may be a hazard to birds and thus should not be built. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is working on their recommendations on how to protect birds from wind farms and a wind energy company in Texas that uses radar to turn off wind turbines when a number of birds are present.
All of these positive steps are great but unfortunately not everyone is on board. The article speaks about projects in North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas which are on the fast track to be built which may effect species like the endangered whooping cranes. Whoopers are already susceptible to collisions with things like power lines and transmission towers, many new wind turbines on their migration path would undoubtedly provide increased risk to this already endangered species.