I've written a lot about energy companies rushing to build massive solar facilities in America's deserts --mostly on pristine habitat that is home to a variety of rare plant and wildlife. Wind projects also threaten these ecosystems, including the proposed Searchlight Wind project to be built by Duke Energy in Nevada. Even though wind energy projects may not require as much ground disturbance as solar energy facilities, the spinning blades have been proven to kill rare bat species, golden eagles, vultures, and other birds.
The Searchlight Project, near the town of Searchlight, would place up to 160 giant wind turbines on up to 14 square miles of public land. At least 40 miles of new roads will scar the area to reach each turbine. Basin and Range Watch has covered the proposal extensively on its website, and they also provide some beautiful photos of the area.
The danger to desert birds is real, but most people tend to think wind energy farms are "environmentally friendly", simply because they do not emit greenhouse gasses. The American Bird Conservancy is collecting petition signatures to urge the Federal government to consider more careful siting and development of wind energy.
Underscoring the dangers of wind power to birds, the You Tube video embedded below shows an unfortunate collision between a vulture and a wind turbine. Please be warned that the video is graphic.