Wind turbines are a proven source of clean, renewable energy, but many people believe that they kill massive numbers of birds. It sounds like a classic Catch-22.

The story that wind turbines kill birds through collisions has gained a lot of traction, but is it actually true?

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Not really. A new study found that, while wind turbines do kill some birds, the numbers are extremely low, as USA Today reports.

Wind turbines kill an estimated 214,000 to 368,000 birds annually--less than 0.1 percent of the total population, researchers say.

The study was funded by the American Wind Wildlife Institute--an advocacy group that encourages cooperation between the wind-power industry and environmental groups--and is based on 116 surveys of bird deaths in the U.S. and Canada.

Wind farm, by Flickr user Patrick Finnegan (Used under CC License)

Wind farm, by Flickr user Patrick Finnegan (Used under CC License)

Researchers found that both cats and cell towers pose a much greater threat to birds than wind turbines.

The former were responsible for an estimated 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths, while cell towers accounted for a much higher3 6.8 million estimated fatalities.

The possibility of large numbers of bird deaths has soured the relationship between some environmental groups and the wind industry, despite wind turbines' potential to significantly retard climate change.

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Wind power is also becoming more important to the car industry, as electric-car owners look to further reduce their environmental impact. The cleaner the energy source, the lower a plug-in car's carbon footprint.

The carbon footprint can be lowered even further by reducing emissions related to manufacturing, and that's what Honda is trying to do with the wind turbines at its assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio.

[hat tip: SeeRexx]


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