Impact of wind turbines on birds: a case study from Gujarat, India

Mohamed Samsoor Ali A, Ramesh Kumar S, Arun PR

Abstract


Rising generation costs, shortage of fuel sources and high environmental costs have raised serious concerns about the sustainability of conventional power generation methods. In this context, the wind-based power generation is gaining prominence, as an alternate source of renewable energy. Globally, India is at fifth position in wind power generation with an installed capacity of 14550 MW. However, based on recent reports from certain parts of the world, there is also a growing concern on the environmental impacts of wind turbines on birds. The present field study was conducted to evaluate these impacts in an Indian context. We have been studying the birds from a wind farm in Kutch District, Gujarat, India since September 2011 and our preliminary results of the past one year study is presented here. We used line transect method to estimate the bird species composition and standardized visual search methods to record the fatalities of birds caused by turbines. During the study span, 139 bird species were recorded which include eight Near threatened species as per IUCN Red list. Totally six bird fatalities were recorded as a result of collisions with the wind turbines. Preliminary findings of this study confirm the possible impact of wind turbines on birds in Kutch region.


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