Short answer: Yes, wind farms are a key part of the solution to climate change, making them essential to our native wildlife and marine life’s survival. Wind farms can and must be well-designed to coexist with and mitigate their impact on wildlife.
Long answer Climate impacts like acidifying oceans, rising sea levels and extreme heat waves are putting threatened species at grave risk.
Climate destruction, driven by burning coal and gas, is a key driver of extinction in Australia. Conserving nature demands that we phase out coal and gas. Wind farms generate renewable energy to replace coal and gas in powering our lives, providing critical relief for our wildlife.
Just like any development, impacts on native plants and animals must be front of mind when renewable energy projects are being planned. Wind farms must be well-designed to avoid and mitigate impacts on plants, animals and ecosystems.
Research shows that with thorough environmental assessments and planning and mitigation, the overall risk of wind farms to marine mammals can be low.
The same cannot be said for the destructive nuclear, coal and gas industries, which have long histories of harming wildlife and ecosystems in Australia and across the world. A US study showed that compared to wind energy, fossil fuel power is responsible for more than 34 times the rate of bird fatalities.
Australia’s plants and animals will have no hope in a world that’s 2 degrees hotter, so, well-planned wind farms are critical to phasing out coal and gas and providing wildlife with a liveable future. We can achieve this with strong, consistent planning laws from our governments to ensure every wind turbine is carefully managed and placed where harm to our wildlife is mitigated.
"The reality is offshore wind has been operational for decades with active proponents mapping and mitigating any sort of impacts on marine life. Many studies [point] to how proponents can minimize impacts on marine life to ensure that offshore wind projects are not sited in particularly sensitive areas." – Macquarie University senior lecturer Madeline Taylor.