Altamont Pass – Good for Renewable Energy, Bad for Birds

California entrepreneurs saw potential in the gusty winds that blew out at the Altamont Pass, between the Central Valley and Bay Area. By the mid-’80s, the Altamont was the country’s biggest wind farm. To many, the turbines were more than a new technology. They were symbols of hope, a sign of progress and a world that no longer relied on fossil fuels.

But fast forward 30 years and the Altamont is a blight on the reputation of the burgeoning wind industry. The turbines have killed more than a hundred thousand birds.

Wildlife biologist Doug Bell knows the Altamont intimately. Since 2005, he’s carried out wildlife studies for the East Bay Regional Parks District.

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