Putin on Wind Energy: What about the Worms?

July 10, 2019

Fossil powered autocratic leaders have consistent messaging about renewable energy. They don’t like it.
But they love birds. They’re all about the birds. And now, the worms.


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned on Tuesday the use of wind power, saying wind turbines were harmful to birds and worms. 

Russia, a world-leading producer of fossil fuel, is lagging other countries in its development of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind-powered energy.

Wind power is rarely used in the country to generate electricity. Enel Russia (ENRU.MM) pledged 90 million euros to build a power generation facility by 2024 with a capacity of 71 megawatts. 

“Wind-powered generation is good, but are birds being taken into account in this case? How many birds are dying?” Putin said at a televised conference on industry in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

“They (wind turbines) shake, causing worms to come out of the soil. This is not a joke,” he said. 

Putin added that people would not like to live on a planet dotted with “rows of wind-powered generators and covered by several layers of solar panels”.


Russian worms are mostly safe for now. The country that remains the fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world has little in the way of wind power.

The source of Putin’s concern about worms? Obscure anti-wind blogs going back nearly a decade. The problem appears nowhere in scientific literature. Bird deaths caused by wind turbines are a fraction of those caused by cars, buildings, and cats, which kill billions each year.

At least, however, Putin appears to have changed his tune on the impacts of climate change – at least to a degree. Having previously pointed to the benefits of a warming climate in a country with such a severe winter, Putin’s government now concedes that “global climatic changes are taking place in the world, which have a rather significant effect on economic issues”.

Recharge News:

Gas-rich Russia is currently in the early stages of a renewables build out that targets 5.4GW in clean energy capacity by 2024, about 3.4GW from wind.

Progress in wind so far has been led by Finland’s Fortum in conjunction with local developer Rusnano, and Italian developer Enel, with industrial commitments from turbine OEMs Vestas and Siemens Gamesa.

Putin at least qualified his remarks by saying that “wind power generation is good”, marking a contrast with Trump, who rarely has a kind word for the sector.

The US President famously this year claimed wind turbines cause cancer – an assertion that even his most supportive allies have declined to back up, and was widely viewed as backfiring on Trump.

8 Responses to “Putin on Wind Energy: What about the Worms?”

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    Please tell Vlad to not hang noodles on our ears.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Vlad obviously subscribes to the same “nutty science” journals that Trump does.

    I can’t believe that he thinks “worm grunting” occurs around wind turbines—that’s a technique whereby vibrations are used to get worms to come up—-I am NOT kidding—-there are even Worm Grunting Festivals in several places around the world. Could he be making fun of his lackey Trump and the cancer bit?


  3. Hobart Stocking Says:

    Regardless of the nutty science, wind energy is subject to framing by fossil fool interests. It helps us all to know what the real science is. Here’s a good summary paper on wind turbines from Mike Bernard. https://medium.com/the-future-is-electric/wind-turbines-much-better-for-birds-and-bats-than-alternatives-f02b92d435a0
    Hobart Stocking

  4. Keith Omelvena Says:

    Caring about worms must be the warm, fluffy side of Vlad? Helping his mate gas children in Syria? Not so much!

  5. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    They do like having ports that aren’t frozen over much of the year.

  6. Gingerbaker Says:


  7. jfon Says:

    Germany has enough wind turbines to cover 100% of its current electrical demand, but the turbines are at the moment only producing 2% – so 2 % of their capacity. Russia has been making less CO2 per kilowatt hour all day, using nuclear and hydro. Their reactors are running at about 85% of capacity. ( Germany’s reactors are running at 91% of capacity, but, in blatant disregard for the climate consequences, they’re all scheduled to be closed by 2024, even though they could be used for at least twenty years more.)

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