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Big Wind Turbines Prove No Deadlier to Wildlife Than Small Units

  • The energy produced predicts wildlife fatalities, not size
  • Dog-handler teams searched for carcasses to gather data
A bird flies over a wind turbine at a wind farm near Highway 12 in Rio Vista, California.

A bird flies over a wind turbine at a wind farm near Highway 12 in Rio Vista, California.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

When it comes to wind power, bigger turbines may not mean more dead bats and birds.

That’s the finding of research published Wednesday in the Journal of Applied Ecology, which showed that wildlife deaths remained constant per unit of energy produced regardless of turbine size, according to a U.S. Geological Survey news release.

Wind farms already pose a risk to birds and bats, and the conclusion may help ease concerns that an industrywide shift to fewer turbines but bigger blades would kill more wildlife. Dog-handler teams and scientists searched for carcasses at a wind farm near Palm Springs, California, to gather data for the study.