Wind power in the US

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The wind still represents a small share of the production of American Electric Power (0,3%) but this sector experienced between 1999 and 2003 significant growth (+ 28%). In 2004, wind power plants and fed 1,6 million homes with electricity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. However, the development of this renewable energy paradoxically poses some environmental problems. In the region of Altamont Pass, California, the turbines of one of the oldest farms in the United States (based in twenty years) are formally responsible each year of the death of some birds 4700. Installation cut indeed a bird migration route and is near one of the golden eagle habitats most densely populated. Last August, a California commission, saying most damage than expected, has issued several technical recommendations to remedy the situation. This would be for operators to replace, away from sensitive sites, the old turbines with a smaller number of new (about 5 times less), more efficient and twice as high in order to prevent contact between the blades and volatile. The environmentalists claim the award of three-year licenses, renewable only if efforts are made in the right direction. The companies in turn offer allowed at least 13 years, no fixed timetable for the necessary adjustments, mainly due to the cost of the operation.

USAT 05 / 01 / 2005 (Wind turbines Taking toll on birds of prey)



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