Are We Not Counting Birds Anymore?

Vol 15, Issue 1, January 6, 2011
On the weekend of Dec. 18/10  a joint venture between Alberta’s Capital Power Corporation C.E.O. Don Lowry was named Alberta Venture’s Business Person of the Year and Calgary’s Greengate Power Corporation was announced. 
The two companies are to develop a wind farm east of Stettler that will develop 150 mw of power and will be completed in 2011.
Greengate has six more such operations planned throughout Alberta of varying sizes. Canada is currently home to 111 such wind farms and to approximately 2300  windmills. At Wolf Island Eco Power Centre Canada’s second largest wind farm (86 windmills, the joint venture project will have 83) in excess of 360 birds are killed by the turbine blades annually. By my calculations that makes the wind farm business responsible for death of about 9600 birds annually in Canada alone. 
Keep in mind that not all of these birds are just killed, many many more are hacked up and simply left to die. All in the name of GREEN energy. It concerns me that nobody ever talks about this. Yet when we lose 1600 birds in a tailing pond (is this worse than being hacked up) we think that the oil sands business is a horrible thing and should be shut down. 
Are we naïve enough to think that if everybody and every business had electric vehicles we would no longer need oil or oil sands? 
If you seriously think about the things we use and consume every day you will realize that about 98% of it requires oil to produce  ( three barrels to make a lap top computer) Alberta is blessed with one of the largest oil deposits in the world. We have companies developing it that are embracing rapidly changing technology in order  to do this with an eye toward good environmental stewardship. To think that this is not true is akin to thinking that shooting yourself in the foot is a good idea. 
Suncor is on track to produce one million barrels of oil per day by 2020 (not something you want to mess up). 
World consumption is a staggering 90 million barrels daily. This resource of ours has such far reaching economic effects that it is indeed hard to fathom. 
Our resource literally provides jobs that feed kids like ours all around the world. For example some of the equipment required is manufactured in places such as Korea and is touched by an unknown number of hands before reaching the oil sands.
When we look at the energy picture I think it is long past time that we start  looking  at the macro picture, not just the micro picture. As evidenced nothing is perfect, but I do believe we are moving in the right direction …… all things in time. 
Paul Champion
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