Way back in June of 2012, the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) announced that it would install a 100 meter high wind turbine to help cut its carbon emissions and impact on the natural world. Unsurprisingly, anti-wind turbine groups were not entirely pleased. After all, the turbines-as-bird-blenders argument has become a staple of every anti-wind farm campaign group everywhere.
Now, after 3 more years of development and study, the RSPB is moving ahead with installation. According to Business Green, the turbine will be up and running within the next two weeks, and the charity is predicting that this turbine alone will reduce the organization's carbon emissions by some 800 tonnes, and meet around half of its annual electricity needs. The move is part of a much broader push that includes energy efficiency improvements, solar arrays and biomass boilers—all intended to help meet a target of 80% emissions cuts by 2050 at the latest.
Of course, any industrial development in the countryside is likely to have an impact on wildlife, and it seems likely that this impact may include bird strikes. But wind energy developers have been working to reduce bird kill impacts compared to early installations—as evidenced by Google's recent announcement of bird-friendly upgrades to an iconic 1980s wind farm. What's significant about the RSPB announcement is the fact that one of the world's preeminent bird protection charity's is putting its weight behind carefully sited wind development, and reminding everyone that the largest threat to our birdlife, and wildlife in general, is the threat of global climate change.
Interestingly, the RSPB is also working with the company installing this turbine, Ecotricity, on their anaerobic digestion "green gas" mills, making sure that the land used for feedstocks becomes a haven for birds and other wildlife and providing an overall win-win in terms of both carbon emissions and biodiversity.