On April 6, energy company NextEra pleaded guilty to three federal charges of killing eagles with wind turbines. The plea included an $8 million fine, an agreement to pay nearly $30,000 for future eagle killings, and a pledge to spend $27 million to prevent future killings.
The penalties should have been worse. Prosecutors alleged that NextEra raptor killers executed 150 eagles in eight states.
NextEra did not act alone. Hundreds of hypocritical non-profit organizations implicitly endorse the removal of the eagle because they oppose nuclear energy and encourage the massive construction of wind turbines. Their combined annual budgets exceed $1 billion.
The notorious list includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Financial support comes from big names such as the Ford Foundation.
A March 2021 Department of Energy report said a “typical” nuclear power plant “needs just over 1 square mile to operate”, while “wind farms require 360 times the area to operate”. produce the same amount of electricity and photovoltaic solar power plants require 75 times more space.
Wind energy supporters are not conservationists. There’s nothing ‘clean’ about energy that devours the earth needed for another zero-carbon option hundreds of times over, then unnecessarily wipes out eagles as a cost of doing business.
Renewables cannot meet energy needs
President Joe Biden has yet to find out. In his March 1 State of the Union address, he pledged to “double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind and more.”
But despite hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies already given, solar and wind still accounted for less than 5% of total US energy consumption in 2020. Biden’s speech did not mention the increase. the production of nuclear or other fuels which represent 95% of the energy we need.
In 2020, the combined output of every wind turbine and solar panel on Earth was 6,037 TWh (terawatt hours). By comparison, the US nuclear program only produced 2,051 TWh, even though it represented only 8.4% of total energy consumption in the United States.
Environmentalists should support nuclear power
If the President, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others were conservationists, they would drop unnecessary wind subsidies and instead demand a doubling (or more) of carbon-free nuclear power. The Department of Energy reports that uranium is “a common metal found in rocks around the world” and “economically recoverable” in the United States and more than a dozen other countries.
France got 36.1% of total energy consumption from nuclear in 2020. Of the five richest and largest industrial economies, the French are the least carbon-intensive per capita. In 2020, French carbon emissions were 3.8 tCO2 per person, compared to 4.6 for the United Kingdom, 7.0 for Germany, 8.2 for Japan and 13.0 for the United States.
If 36% of US energy consumption in 2020 had been nuclear, it could theoretically have replaced all coal and almost half of oil consumption. (Although it would have required many more vehicles to run on electricity).
Fake conservationists are pushing us the other way. Last April, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund applauded the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York State. In a preposterous defense of the weather-subjected electricity industry, the Sierra Club released a graph showing that house cats kill more birds than wind turbines.
Well, yes, domestic cats feed on America’s endless supply of sparrows, robins and other small, fast-breeding birds. For the Sierra Club to equate this with wind turbines wiping out large, slow-to-reproduce predators is as silly as saying a Formula 1 racer is comparable to what you find in a second-hand parking lot at the edge of road.
Protecting wild animals and the great outdoors
Quoted by NPR after the federal plea deal, the head of the eagle-killing wind company took a Sierra Club attitude: “NextEra president Rebecca Kujawa said bird collisions with wind turbines are unavoidable accidents that should not be criminalized.
Each of these collisions is preventable, because the wind turbines themselves are preventable. We’d almost knock them all over if moralistic anti-nuclear nonprofits acted like conservationists who love watching wildlife and the great outdoors.
This article originally appeared in The Federalist on April 18, 2022.