The giant Bird Cuisinarts are at it again. Only this time they're killing bats. Well, a bat, but an endangered bat.
Thirty-five windmills at a western Pennsylvania wind farm have been silenced at night since a bat that belongs to an endangered species was found dead under one of the turbines.
The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown is reporting the farm shut down the windmills overnight after the Indiana bat was found Sept. 26.
Shut it down at night. That's a terrific idea. Wind's main problem is that it is inconsistent, intermittent and generally unreliable. So where is our green energy going to come from at night?
Solar. At night. Really.
This is accomplished by redirecting the heat from the sun and storing it in a tank. In order to keep the plant going 24 hours, the engineers used molten salt instead of oil to product pressurized steam in the turbine, which is apparently more efficient.
Back to wind energy and its detrimental effects on flying creatures: If you're an oil operator and your operations accidentally kill a (non-endangered) duck, you can be criminally prosecuted, regardless of whether you're negligent. But since wind energy is "environmentally friendly", who cares if a few endangered bats or protected eagles become, um, collateral damage?
Absurdity aside, this prosecution is all the more remarkable because the wind industry each year kills not 28 birds, or even a few hundred, but some 440,000, according to estimates by the American Bird Conservancy based on Fish and Wildlife Service data. Guess how many legal actions the Obama Administration has brought against wind turbine operators under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act? As far as we can tell, it's zero. At the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Northern California, some 5,000 wind turbines each year kill scores of golden and bald eagles, which are highly protected under federal law. There have been no federal prosecutions, though NextEra Energy Resources has agreed to purchase new turbines that are less likely to harm birds.
The wind industry is even seeking a formal legal waiver to shield it from the type of criminal or civil action that the oil companies now face.
The BP spill killed some 6,200 birds, and pictures of oiled pelicans were probably the #1 image, in terms of emotional impact on the average media consumer. With sympathetic media and an environmental movement willing to look the other way, we'll not be seeing dead bats or birds on the nightly news any time soon.
By the way, wind energy provides about 2% of current electrical generating capacity, and less than 1% of our total energy budget.
Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.