Dominion Energy is proposing a major offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach that would be the largest of its kind in the country.
The company plans to expand a test project that’s already under construction to build up to 220 giant wind turbines on a patch of ocean 27 miles off the coast.
How will this affect migratory shorebirds which make their way each year to the Eastern Shore?
Wind turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year in North America, making it the most threatening form of green energy. And yet, it’s also one of the most rapidly expanding energy industries: more than 49,000 individual wind turbines now exist across 39 states.
Thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it’s illegal to kill any bird protected by the Act—even if the death is “incidental,” meaning it occurs unintentionally on the part of the wind farm. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act recommends that to avoid eagle deaths, specifically, companies seriously consider where they site their wind developments, and that they also limit turbines’ impact using techniques like radar to detect incoming birds. But as the accident at the Peñascal wind farm shows, it’s unclear if deterrents like these actually work.