Effect of wind turbines on bird abundance: A national scale analysis based on fixed effects models

Ruiqing Miao, Prasenjit N. Ghosh, Madhu Khanna, Weiwei Wang, Jian Rong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Existing studies regarding the impact of wind turbines on birds typically utilize data collected from a few wind facilities to estimate the impact at national level. This study examines the impact of wind turbines on breeding bird abundance by using a fine scale, spatial longitudinal dataset for 1,670 wind turbines and 86 bird observation routes located in 36 states in the United States over 2008–2014. We find that the establishment of one additional wind turbine, on average, leads to disappearance of about three breeding birds. The aggregate effect of the U.S. on-shore wind turbines on breeding bird count is 151,630, a magnitude at the lower end of existing estimates that range between 20,000 and 573,000. We also find that turbine size is a critical determinant of the magnitude of this impact, with turbine tower height positively, but blade length negatively, associated with aggregate breeding bird abundance. Grassland breeding bird abundance increases by up to 0.81 following the establishment of an additional wind turbine, although it is insensitive to tower height or blade length. Our findings provide important implications for policies related to wind facility siting and wind turbine development that can enhance the sustainability of wind energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume132
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019

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Keywords

  • Blade length
  • Breeding birds
  • Grassland birds
  • Tower height
  • Wind turbines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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