Google Announces Revolutionary Flying Wind Turbines – but will the cost to wildlife be too high?

Google X's prototype flying wind turbine. What impact will this have on birds?

Google X’s prototype flying wind turbine. What impact will this have on birds?

Less than 15 percent of land around the world meets the criteria to support wind turbines, namely  where winds routinely reach speeds of between 5-8 meters per second. Astro Teller, the head of Google X, announced a new and innovative solution.

Google X, for those unaware, is a project of Google that is dedicated to making major technological advancements.

During a keynote address at South by Southwest (SXSW), Teller outlined Project Makani, which would utilize massive, flying kite-like wind turbines.According to their website, these  energy kites will generate 50% more energy by accessing stronger winds at higher altitudes, while eliminating 90 percent of the materials used in conventional wind turbines.

Up until now, Google has only tested smaller scale, 28-feet long models, but now the company will test a full-scale model.

Teller told conference attendees that “There’s an enormous benefit to going up higher.”

But as many of us recognize, every new solution creates new problems. One of the most apparent is how will this affect the migration and flight patterns of birds? Already large wind turbines have a nasty reputation for too many bird kills. Put these turbines in the air and the chances of this increase exponentially. And there’s no discussion about this yet so clearly this is likely deemed inconsequential.

But humans really must figure out how to live in balance with Nature. We’re already seeing severe decline in many bird species due to pesticide use. If flying wind turbines become a reality, surely these numbers will soar.

Time to think proactively, rather than react after the fact (and after too many bird kills are discovered), don’t you think?

One Response

  1. 1)During high wind speeds will it automatically get grounded.
    2)In fixed wind turbines can the blade angles be adjusted automatically or manually to a safe value not to catch wind to rotate.

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