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Examining the Impact of Windmills on Bird Populations

The climate debate has been so big in the last few years and then, who can forget Trump's conversation about the windmills killing all the birds?


To explore Trump's claim and to learn about how wind energy is generated, I went to Palm Springs to visit a wind mill farm. We took the windmill tour, which was a self-driving tour. We were given a tablet with an audio-visual program that talked about the different things in the tour - Non-operational as well as successful turbines where we could stop and take pictures.


If anyone is interested in this tour, visit: https://www.windmilltours.com It costs $50 per car and it takes less than 60 minutes to complete. I think the tour is priced quite high (it should cost $20!) but then again, this is the only one out there so they can get away with charging more.


Right behind the windmills is the Green Power 1 merchant power plant. You can't really go in there but you see some of the huge energy-processing machines.

Windmills in Palm Springs, CA
Windmills in Palm Springs, CA

Let me give you a 101 version of what I learned.

  1. On this desert farm, there were 2500 windmills. Turbines as far as your eyes can see!

  2. Turbines are not noisy! Rotations are consistent but very few per minute

  3. There are big wind turbines and smaller ones. The smaller ones are actually the older turbines which are now being replaced by the big ones. Why? Because the bigger ones generate more power and are more efficient. Also, the real small ones, especially the ones that look like mini-Eiffel Towers are delicate and keep falling.

  4. One single large turbine can potentially generate enough power to run 1500 homes a month!

  5. Those big turbines are really quite tall - 500 feet or so, taller than the Statue of Liberty!

  6. Wind turbines have to be placed strategically. For e.g. the farm in Palm Springs had windmills on both sides of I-10 to take advantage of the winds that come through two mountain ranges - San Jacinto Mountains and San Gorgonio Mountains

  7. Windmills convert kinetic energy into mechanical energy which is then converted into electrical power. This electric energy is sent to the energy grid that distributes power to consumers

Quick summary:

The Good: Sustainable Energy

In general, windmills are good for earth. They do not release any polluting emissions, and they do not require the use of water in generating electricity.


The Not-so-Good: Land Use

Windmills have to be spaced out, which means they take up too much land. It depends on the size of the farm and the location, but if it is in an area which has existing natural habitat that will have to be cleared, that would be an issue. So, it is important to ensure that your windmill farm is in an already