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India orders wind industry action over rare bird deaths

Ministry tells power industry to help stop endangered bustards hitting turbines and frying on power lines

India’s government has told the wind industry to act to help save the great Indian bustard, alarmed by the number of the endangered birds that are colliding with turbines or frying on power lines.

The country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said turbine collisions and electrocution on transmission lines are now “major causes of death” of great bustards in the key Indian wind power states of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

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The states are also the main homes for the remaining great Indian bustards, which number only about 200 worldwide according to conservation charity WWF India, which lists electrical infrastructure as among the key threats to the one-metre-tall, ostrich-like birds.

MNRE said it will contact wind turbine and transmission operators in Rajasthan and Gujarat over mitigation measures such as retrofitting power lines with bird diverters and painting the tips of turbine blades orange.

It named Suzlon, Greenko and Mytrah among the companies needing to take note of the bird-protection measures.

Future developments will have to comply with measures set out under an “ambitious great Indian bustard species recovery programme launched in collaboration with the Wild Life Institute of India”.

India is due for a wind power boom over the next four years as the government embarks on a massive tendering programme to meet a 60GW installed capacity target for 2022, roughly double what’s in place now.

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