The Basics

Wind energy, like all energy sources, has an impact on wildlife and their habitat. These impacts have been studied by both the wind industry and the scientific community for decades. Learn more about what we know and what remains uncertain here.

Credit: Michael Okoniewski, NREL PIX 15232
Credit: Ann Froschauer, USFWS, Flickr
Credit: USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Flickr
Credit: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, Flickr

Summary of Wind Power Interactions with Wildlife

To view the AWWI publication, “Wind Turbine Interactions with Wildlife and their Habitats: A Summary of Research Results and Priority Questions,” click here. This fact sheet summarizes publicly available information about the adverse impacts of land-based wind power on wildlife in North America and the status of our knowledge regarding how to avoid or minimize these impacts.

Eagles and Wind Power

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits the taking (killing, wounding, or disturbing) of Bald and Golden Eagles without a permit. Eagles can be killed by wind turbines, yet, as the most commercially viable and scalable form of renewable energy, wind power is critical to addressing climate change, a major threat to eagles and other wildlife. To learn more about eagles and wind power, explore the resources below. Click here to learn more about AWWI’s work on eagles, which is focused on generating the science needed to avoid, minimize, and compensate for eagle take so that wind energy facilities can minimize their impacts and maintain compliance with federal laws.

Bats and Wind Power

Fatalities of bats have been reported at all wind energy facilities where data are available, in many cases at a rate higher than birds. Unlike bird collision mortality, bat mortality is concentrated in a few species, and we have insufficient knowledge regarding the species’ ability to sustain such mortality. To learn more about bats and wind power, explore the resources below.

Prairie Grouse and Wind Power

Wind turbines and associated infrastructure (such as roads) occupy a small area, but wind energy projects can cover thousands of acres: the potential exists for disturbance to wildlife that uses the area for habitat. Two such species, the Lesser Prairie-Chicken and Greater Sage-Grouse, are both experiencing declining populations due to factors unrelated to wind power development, yet the core habitat of these species overlaps some of the best wind resource areas in the U.S. Few studies have been conducted specifically on wind power and prairie-grouse species. For information on recent research, explore the resources below.

Credit: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, Flickr
Credit: USFWS Pacific Southwest-Region, Flickr
Credit: Joshua Mayer, Flickr

Get Involved

AWWI’s success is based on wide collaboration with all who hold a stake in the success of wind energy and the protection of wildlife and habitat. By working together, we can move toward a common goal. Here is how you can help:


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