Help wanted on environmental damage caused by windmills and solar farms

People in the Four or Five Icebergs group are working on briefing notes on pumped hydro, the comparative cost of RE and conventional power, the island effect (no extension cords), the absurdity of calling batteries “storage” at grid scale and other things including the environmental impact. This includes the noise from turbines.

We are collecting case studies and published information on bird and bat killing, habitat disruption and the like. 

Some of this probably appears in local newspapers,  newsletters or even well authenticated anecdotal accounts.

Please contribute by planting information in the comments or sending direct to rafeDOTchampionATgmailDOTcom



This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Help wanted on environmental damage caused by windmills and solar farms

  1. Petros

    Can someone send links to papers showing how plant based diets are not better for the environment? Sorry to ask on this thread but the main forum gets filled with crap.

  2. Zatara

    2.9 Billion Bird Deaths Linked to Solar, Wind

    The Ivanpah solar panel project in California—likely kills 28,380 birds annually.

    Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States

    Between 140,000 and 328,000 birds are killed annually at monopole turbines


  3. Faye

    The disposal of these monstrosities cause environmental damage? How is it done? Or are they left to rot?
    Is there legislation to dispose of them properly?
    Does rare earth mining, etc, etc create environmental damage?
    How about human damage using child labour and no-pay labour?
    Does wrecking the grid come into it?
    Is the budget damaged by them?
    Are people and businesses damaged from the extortionate energy prices?
    What laws can sue for environmental damage?
    Is this a project looking at wind and solar farms all over the world?
    Don’t know if any of this is of use.

  4. RobK

    The experiment continues.
    This publication from 2019 sponsored by ARENA
    has some highlights:

    There is no official or agreed-upon definition for hosting capacity, but in this study, these three metrics were used:
    1. The percentage of the maximum reference6 PV penetration level when the first breach of the maximum voltage limit or equipment thermal constraint occurs on the LV network
    2. The annual average hours per day in breach of a voltage limit or equipment thermal rating as PV penetration increases
    3. The increase in annual maximum voltage level as PV penetration increases.
    The first metric gives an indication of the level of PV penetration that the LV network can handle before first issues arise.
    The second and third metrics show the amount of time spent in breach and the severity of the breach as PV penetration increases beyond the first breach. They aim to demonstrate the magnitude of non-compliance.
    The methodology for assessing LV network hosting capacity is illustrated in figure 1.
    Techno-economic performance of mitigation measures
    Table 1 summarises the effectiveness of the five mitigation measures at increasing the LV networks’ ability to host additional PV systems, in terms of techno-economic performance. The range of outcomes in the following table shows that there is no single solution to improving hosting capacity that can be applied across all the LV networks. This reflects the variability across CPPAL’s distribution network, where the preferred mitigation measure is highly sensitive to local network characteristics.

    Then a cost benefit of domestic batteries…

    This study has shown that batteries will not contribute to increasing PV hosting capacity without coordinated management

    There’s a huge amount of work to be done that hasn’t even been delineated. It’s a bloody big experiment.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    This one is excellent:

    Wind farms vs wildlife (2013)

    Jim Wiegand explains why bird and bat fatalities are undercounted. This is part 2, and see the link in the article for part 1.

    Big Wind & Avian Mortality (Part II: Hiding the Problem) (2013)

    The most blackly humorous event I know of was when British twitchers came out from all over the country to see a very rare bird. You can guess what happened next…

    Rare bird last seen in Britain 22 years ago reappears – only to be killed by wind turbine in front of a horrified crowd of birdwatchers (2013)

  6. RobK

    I cannot overstate:
    Grid complexity, cost, management intensity and potential points of failure increase while reliability decreases with increased RE on a grid.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Another one of note was the primary school in the UK who thought they’d do the right thing. The trouble was they were quite close to the coast…

    Primary school forced to turn off wind turbine after bird deaths (2010)

    The turbine, at Southwell Community Primary School, Portland, was installed 18 months ago thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It provided six kilowatts of power an hour, but its performance was overshadowed by the number of birds killed – far higher than the one fatality per year predicted by the manufacturer. Headteacher Stuart McLeod was even forced to come into school early to clear up the bodies before his young pupils spotted them. School governers consulted seagull eyesight experts and investigated bringing in bird-scaring plastic owls to solve the problem, but to no avail. Mr McLeod said they had tried everything to stop the carnage but had no choice but to shut the turbine down. He said: “We’ve got the ideal location for wind power but unfortunately seagulls kept flying into it.

    Unfortunately the article is now behind a paywall, nonetheless the problem was again darkly amusing, although not for the poor seagulls.

    As you might expect I’ve a lot of saved links, although they aren’t very recent ones. There were so many such stories I went into overload and gave up collecting them.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    Then there’s the infrasound issue, which can cause quite serious health problems in humans and animals.

    German Expert: Wind Turbine Infrasound Travels 25 KM…Warns Of Health Hazards…Advises Minimum 5000 Meter Distance! (2016)

    “Acoustic Torture” …Austrian Chamber Of Physicians Warns Of Health Hazards From Large-Size Wind Turbines (2016)

    French farmer sues energy giant after wind turbines ‘make cows sick’ (2015, UK Tele, now paywalled)

    I vaguely recall a successful court case in the news recently where compo had to be paid to a family when a nearby wind turbine caused similar serious health problems, coupled with their inability to sell their house any more. Might’ve been in Australia.

  9. Bruce of Newcastle

    Then to add a video, here’s what happens when wind turbines meet a hurricane. A solar farm also is seen later in the video. Giant confetti!

  10. For great case study for the potential danger of wind turbines to start bush fires refer to the devastating fire on Tim de Mestre’s property, “Merigan”, near Tarago NSW, a few years back.

    Currandooley fire’s first anniversary sparks reflection | Goulburn, NSW › News › Local News
    17 Jan 2018 · The RFS found that a bird striking the wind farm’s high voltage power line … Some gathered at Tim De Mestre’s home, Merigan, 14km from Tarago on … Road log cabin after the Currandooley fire destroyed it in January, 2017.

  11. RobK

    Solar PVs tend to cause high line voltage, beyond the 10% specification in some cases. When this happens in rural or less densely populated areas, the high voltage lines also run at excessive voltage. Many of these lines struggle in the heat, poor maintenance means insulators gather dust, become conducive and fail, splattering molten metal or other material on the surrounding land.
    In the heat of the day is the worst possible time to stress the grid with excessive voltage and load, some of which is invisible to the grid management. It is little wonder many fires start because of this.

  12. Boambee John


    Don’t overlook the simple matter of wind turbine foundations.

    Greenies oppose the cement industry because it uses lots of power and raw materials, and have worked hard towards shutting it down. They are also not keen on the steel industry. However, each turbine requires a massive foundation of steel reinforced concrete (not certain of the size, but figures in the hundreds of tonnes lurk in my mind).

    Also, the recent Michael Moore film included coverage of a toxic lake in China (Inner Mongolia iirc), produced by processing the rare earths and cobalt needed for wind, solar, and other electronic devices. Might be worth sitting through it to find the bit.

  13. Nob

    I saw something recently where greenies openly discussed the dangers to animals of wind and solar farms. Their method seems to be that it’s OK to go after wind and solar, (they’ve already killed hydro) but only after you’ve effectively destroyed conventional power generation.

  14. Herodotus

    Enviro activists have successfully opposed dams for decades, often using exaggerated stories about damage to local fauna, even lizards which can easily move uphill as the waters eventually rise. Australia’s history of dam construction came to a halt as a result, and apart from water conservation and flood mitigation this has meant no new hydro power.
    It’s a large and shiny example of leftist hypocrisy that wind and solar have been boosted despite the demonstrable lethality combined with their inappropriate use as major grid suppliers. Wind and solar have a place as off-grid power in remote locations, as the mining industry can demonstrate. What we see now is them being used as battering rams to destroy our power system and then the economy.

  15. Nob

    #3629256, posted on October 23, 2020 at 6:56 am
    Enviro activists have successfully opposed dams for decades

    the Green Party was founded on it, but I wouldn’t limit “greenies” to the Green party – they’re in all parties and all levels of government, and in the HR and environmental departments of companies, anywhere they can interfere and obstruct while getting paid for it.

    Yet they shamelessly count hydro power when they’re boosting a phoney fait accompli like “The Transition”.

  16. old bloke

    Nearly 120 wind turbines catch fire each year, according to a research – ten times the number reported by the industry. The researchers claim that out of 200,000 turbines around the world, 117 fires take place annually – far more than what is reported by wind farm companies.

  17. Bruce of Newcastle

    Good article over at CFACT today:

    Wind turbines take a terrible toll on birds (23 Oct)

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