Are Wind Farms Bad for Birds?

Overall, wind energy does not cause population level threats to birds and accounts for an extremely small percentage of unnatural avian mortality. A study in Energy Policy, found that fossil-fueled power plants, on a per unit of energy basis, are estimated to kill 17 times more birds than wind energy. So for every megawatt hour of electricity from a wind farm that replaces fossil fuels, seventeen times as many birds may be saved.

Department of Energy Green Lights Wind Power Transmission Line

The Plains and Eastern Clean Line will connect up to 4,000 megawatts of high quality wind energy resources from Oklahoma’s western panhandle to two electrical converter stations, one near northern Arkansas and another near Memphis, Tennessee. High voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology is not new; however, the Plains and Eastern Clean Line’s use of HVDC technology is unique in that it is designated for wind energy resources. HVDC technology can move more power over longer distances with less electrical loss than alternating current (AC) transmission routes; by doing so, HVDC transmission preserves land resources and maximizes clean energy availability.

Favorable Environmental Review Green Lights Wind Energy Power Line Project

The favorable environmental assessment helps pave the way for up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power to be delivered into the south. That amount of wind power could generate as much electricity consumed by nearly 1.5 million southern homes and would more than double the amount of wind power purchased in the region. Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, the Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) are already purchasing over 3,000 megawatts of wind power, with utilities planning to purchase gigawatts more.

Lengthy Environmental Review Covers Bases for Wind Power Transmission

The Plains and Eastern Clean Line, a high voltage direct current transmission project, would connect more than 3,500 megawatts of high quality, low cost wind power from western Oklahoma and Texas deep into Arkansas and Tennessee. The 720 mile long power line is presently undergoing a federal environmental impact statement review by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Weighing in at 3,700 pages, the hulking review document exhaustively covers just about any impact the project may have.

Wind Power Transmission Project Would Save Natural Resources

Compared to Clean Line’s one-time-use of 5,916 acres that can ultimately be returned to production, it’s clear the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project is a net benefit to natural resource conservation. The Plains and Eastern Clean Line project footprint is smaller than other forms of existing power generation, without the corresponding negative health effects.

Wind Power Transmission Project Could Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs

The Plains and Eastern Clean Line project would connect up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power capacity to the southeast. As part of the federal Department of Energy’s Environmental Impact Statement review, the DOE estimates the socioeconomic impacts of the proposed 720-mile high voltage direct current transmission project. Job creation estimates are included in the socioeconomic impacts portions of the EIS. Based on the EIS jobs estimates, lifetime job estimates may conservatively approach tens of thousands of jobs for the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project.

Wind Power Transmission Project Would Provide Health Benefits

A newly proposed transmission project would connect high quality wind power to the southeast. The proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line project would provide up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power from western Oklahoma and Texas to the southeast. The project is currently undergoing a federal Department of Energy Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) review process to evaluate potential impacts from the 720-mile high voltage direct current transmission project. Instead of focusing solely on negative impacts, the EIS also weighs a few of the benefits of the proposed project.

How to Review an Environmental Impact Statement

This blog is the first in a series reviewing the proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line project. Other blogs in the series will be available here when published. The Plains and Eastern Clean Line, a high voltage direct current transmission project, would connect more than 3,500 megawatts of high quality, low cost wind power from western Oklahoma [...]