(CNSNews.com) – President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power.
“I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories,” he told enthusiastic supporters at a rally in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As the applause died away, he added, “As the birds fall to the ground.”
After hailing steps to end “the war on clean, beautiful coal” and announcing that 33,000 mining jobs had been added since he took office, Trump said, “We’re going to have all forms of energy.”
“Whether it’s natural gas, whether it’s alternative sources, we’re going to have everything.”
“We use electric, we use wind, we use solar, we use coal, we use natural gas, we will use nuclear if the right opportunity presents itself. We’re going to be strong for the future,” he said.
Later in the speech, Trump announced – for the first time in public, he said – that he was mulling the possibility of having the envisaged wall along the U.S.-Mexico border powered by solar panels.
“We’re thinking of something that’s unique,” he said, noting that the southern border region has “lots of sun, lots of heat.”
“We’re thinking of building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy – and pays for itself.”
“And this way,” he added, “Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?”
Trump also said the panels would look “beautiful,” and pointed out with a grin that “the higher it goes, the more valuable it is.”
“Pretty good imagination, right? Good?” he asked the crowd. “My idea.”
Trump’s reference to birds falling to the ground relates to concerns about birds dying as a result of the giant turbines used in wind farms
A 2013 study found that between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die in the U.S. every year as a result of colliding with wind turbines.
It also found that taller turbines, deemed to be more efficient in generating power, pose a greater risk of fatal collisions.
The Washington-based American Wind Energy Association, a national trade group, contends that collisions with buildings, communication towers and high-tension wires kill far more birds each year.
AWEA also argues, citing extinction predictions by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that climate change is the biggest threat to wildlife.