Wind Farms and Alternative Energy

Austin Priebe (TC)'s picture

As states look to alternative energy sources, it has come with hardships. Michigan began to rely on wind power as its preferred energy due to the large amounts of wind that can come off the surrounding Great Lakes. Concerns with these large wind farms is not only the noise and “ugliness,” but also the impact these large moving figures can have on birds and bats. As noted in the article, they affect, “federally protected, threatened and endangered species, and bald and golden eagles.” Unfortunately, acts like the Endangered Species Act do not protect against birds being “taken” by wind turbines due to the it allowing “incidental taking permits.”

Furthermore, through studies of alternative energy, the “American Bird Conservancy estimates that by 2050, when wind energy is projected to produce 35% of our electrical energy, as many as 5 million birds per year could be killed by turbines in the United States.” This is clearly a concern moving forward as Michigan has plans to expand its wind energy production. Furthermore, this issue isn’t just the “taking” of millions of birds, it’s also the aesthetics and safety of these turbines that soar hundreds of feet in the air that people are concerned with. There is a notion that people like alternative energy, specifically windmills, until it’s in their backyard, causing the “not in my backyard” issue. Also, in the YouTube video below, you will see windmills spinning out of control and creating a safety hazard.

  • Would you allow a windmill in your backyard? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • What is an alternative energy source that you think would be a good substitute?
  • How does alternative energy affect the daily lives of people in the long run?