Neoen's Mutkalampi wind farm. LEHTIKUVA

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Wind turbines, a crucial component of green energy transition, have been found to adversely affect various bird and mammal groups, causing them to avoid these areas. Research conducted by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) involved a comprehensive review of 84 studies across 22 countries, analyzing the impact of wind turbines on these animals.

The studies revealed that 63% of bird species, 72% of bats, and 67% of terrestrial mammals displayed avoidance behavior, steering clear of wind turbine areas.

Particularly affected were common cranes, owls, and reindeer, which showed consistent displacement, often retreating as far as 5 km from the turbines. Gallinaceous birds, bats, waterfowl, raptors, passerines, and waders also exhibited varying degrees of displacement.

The review highlighted that these shifts could result in population declines, reduced offspring production, altered mating behaviors, and increased offspring mortality, posing significant threats to rare and endangered species. Factors influencing non-displacement included species-specific traits, young age, natural preferences for open environments, and availability of resources around wind turbines.

This research underscores the need for careful planning of wind turbine locations to minimize their impact on wildlife. It also sets the stage for the WINDLIFE project, launched in 2023, which focuses on the effects of wind power on species under the Habitats Directive, including wolves, Finnish forest reindeer, and golden eagles. The study aims to fill knowledge gaps and aid environmental impact assessments, particularly in the context of Finland's unique environmental conditions.

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