A colleague of mine said to me recently, “No energy is clean energy.”
Which got me thinking. Of course, Clean Coal comes to mind. And people love to say that “No coal is clean,” and “Clean Coal is an oxymoron.”
OK, OK. It’s not the best marketing term I’ve ever heard. There is a U.S. Department of Energy program that uses the term, and that program has funded gasification and carbon sequestration projects. So there is such a thing, whatever you want to call it. How about “Clean(er) Coal”?
Then I thought about wind. Big, majestic, white turbines … cutting up birds that fly into them. Whoops. That’s not very clean.
But you can lessen the impact of bird kills by making sure you don’t site turbines along migratory bird paths. Even the Audubon Society has come out in support of well-positioned wind.
Which brings me to radar — some bird-friendly technology now in the works.
Alternative Energy News reports that a new wind farm in Texas, operated by a Spanish firm, is using radar technology developed by a Florida firm called DeTect Inc. How’s that for collaboration?
The radar, much like a cop scanning the highway, looks for approaching birds, analyzes weather conditions and shuts down the turbines if necessary. The blades are reactivated once the flock has passed.
The radar is in use here, according to AEN, because the wind farm was constructed on the Central Flyway, a main route for migratory birds. Environmental groups are skeptical.
What do you think? Is using radar technology to save birds OK? Even if the technology is needed due to bad planning?
This radar could help spur more wind development and remove a barrier to breeze power. DeTect also makes bird deterrent devices for wind farms, including bioacoustics and propane cannons, according to the company’s Web site.
Bird kills are a controversial subject, so let’s hear it.