NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 23, 2006

Predictions by bat experts that expanded industrial wind farms in West Virginia will increase numbers of disease-carrying mosquitoes and crop-destroying grasshoppers, locusts, and moths are not the only expected ecological consequences of expanded wind farms. Giant wind turbines take an even greater toll on birds, including many endangered species and birds of prey instrumental in controlling rodent populations, says the Heartland Institute.

According to the December 18, 2005, Riverside, California Press-Enterprise, up to 1,300 birds of prey are killed each year at Northern California's Altamont Pass wind farm alone.

Residents near California's smaller San Gorgonio Pass wind farm report that even in an area with far fewer wind turbines than Altamont Pass, the declining number of birds of prey associated with the wind farm is causing an ever-worsening rat infestation:

  • Longtime residents Nancy and Peter Wright have witnessed a steady decline in golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and barn owls near their San Gorgonio-area home; at the same time, report the Wrights, rats have begun taking over.
  • Another San Gorgonio resident, Xandi Shaw, has brought three new cats to her home in an attempt to keep the rats at bay. However, "other than the coyotes, there's nothing out there rats are scared of," says Shaw.
  • Other neighbors report rats becoming so prevalent and bold as to move right into area homes and establish nests.

"All forms of power entail environmental trade-offs," says Alex Avery, director of research and education for the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues. "Wind power fares especially poorly in this equation."

Source: James Hoare, "Wind Turbines Kill Raptors, Lead to Rat Infestations," Environment and Climate News, February 2006.


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