The words “wind turbine syndrome” and “wind farm syndrome” refer to the supposed negative health effects of living near wind turbines. These repercussions, according to proponents, include congenital abnormalities, cancer, and death, all of which have no scientific evidence. The frequency of documented episodes, on the other hand, is related to media coverage of wind farm syndrome rather than the existence or absence of wind farms. Neither name is recognized by any international disease categorization system, and neither appears in any title or abstract in the PubMed database of the United States National Library of Medicine. The wind turbine syndrome has been labeled as a hoax.
The Waubra Foundation, an anti-wind farm astroturfing outfit backed by the Australian fossil fuel sector, has been named as one of those spreading the concept of wind turbine sickness. Following an examination, the foundation’s accreditation as a health promotion charity was revoked.
What are the drawbacks to wind turbines?
Wind energy, like all energy sources, has the potential to harm the environment by reducing, fragmenting, or degrading habitat for wildlife, fish, and plants. Additionally, rotating turbine blades might endanger flying fauna such as birds and bats. Because of the potential for wind power to have a negative impact on wildlife, and because these difficulties could delay or prevent wind development in high-quality wind resource areas, impact reduction, siting, and permitting issues are among the wind industry’s top goals.
WETO supports in projects that strive to describe and understand the impact of wind on wildlife on land and offshore to address these concerns and encourage environmentally sustainable growth of wind power in the United States. Furthermore, through centralized information hubs like Tethys, WETO engages in operations to collect and disseminate scientifically rigorous peer-reviewed studies on environmental consequences. The office also invests in scientific research that allows for the development of cost-effective technology to reduce wildlife impacts at both onshore and offshore wind farms.
WETO strives to foster interagency collaboration on wind energy impacts and siting research in order to ensure that taxpayer monies are used wisely to solve environmental challenges associated with wind deployment in the United States.
- For more than 24 years, the office has supported peer-reviewed research, in part through collaborative relationships with the wind industry and environmental groups including the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (NWCC) and the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative.
- The NWCC was established in 1994 by the DOE’s wind office in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to investigate a wide range of issues related to wind energy development, such as transmission, power markets, and wildlife impacts. The NWCC’s focus has evolved over the last decade to addressing and disseminating high-quality information about environmental impacts and remedies.
- In May 2009, the Department of Energy’s wind office announced approximately $2 million in environmental research awards aimed at decreasing the hazards of wind power development to vital species and habitats. Researchers from Kansas State University and the NWCC’s Grassland Community Collaborative published a paper in 2013 that revealed wind development in Kansas had no significant impact on the population and reproduction of larger prairie chickens.
- The Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative has been involved in numerous research projects funded by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory since its inception in 2003, including studies evaluating the impact of changing the cut-in-speed of wind turbines (the minimum wind speed at which wind turbines begin producing power) and the use of ultrasonic acoustic deterrents to reduce bat impacts at wind turbines.
- Through a competitive funding opportunity, WETO is also financing research and development projects that increase the technical preparedness of bat impact mitigation and minimization solutions. Bat Conservation International, Frontier Wind, General Electric, Texas Christian University, and the University of Massachusetts are among the companies, universities, and organizations receiving funding from the Energy Department to field test and evaluate near-commercial bat impact mitigation technologies, which will provide regulators and wind facility owners-operators with viable and cost-effective tools to reduce bat impacts.
- Through a competitive funding opportunity, WETO is also financing research and development projects that increase the technical preparedness of bat impact mitigation and minimization solutions. Bat Conservation International, Frontier Wind, General Electric, Texas Christian University, and the University of Massachusetts are among the companies, universities, and organizations receiving funding from the Energy Department to field test and evaluate near-commercial bat impact mitigation technologies, which will provide regulators and wind facility owners-operators with viable and cost-effective tools to reduce bat impacts. The Status and Findings of Developing Technologies for Bat Detection and Deterrence at Wind Facilities webinars hosted by the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative provide project updates and testing findings as of March 2018.
- WETO chose six teams in 2016 to work on improving solutions that will safeguard eagles that share airspace with wind turbines. For breakthrough, vital eagle-impact minimization technology research and development projects, more nearly $3 million was allocated across the six teams. The research financed by this grant will equip wind farm owners and operators with practical and cost-effective strategies for reducing potential eagle impacts. This important study expands on the Energy Department’s efforts to facilitate wind energy deployment while also ensuring animal coexistence by addressing siting and environmental concerns. If the study is successful, it will safeguard wildlife while also giving new tools for the wind industry to reduce regulatory and financial concerns.
- WETO is a supporter of research on biological interactions with offshore wind turbines. With this funding, researchers are gathering crucial data on marine life, offshore bird and bat behavior, and other factors that influence the deployment of offshore wind turbines in the United States. The Biodiversity Research Institute and a diverse group of collaborators, for example, completed the largest ecological study ever conducted in the Mid-Atlantic to produce a detailed picture of the environment in Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Areas, which will aid permitting and environmental compliance for offshore wind projects.
WETO also collaborates with other federal agencies to create recommendations to help developers comply with statutory, regulatory, and administrative requirements for wildlife protection, national security, and public safety. The Wind Energy Technologies Office, for example, collaborated with the Department of the Interior on the Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines and Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance.
What are the drawbacks of wind power?
- Wind turbines convert wind energy into useful power by spinning a generator, which is spun by the wind movement.
- Wind energy has several advantages: it does not emit greenhouse gases, it is renewable, it is space-efficient, it produces inexpensive energy, and it encourages employment growth.
- Wind energy has a number of drawbacks, including its unpredictability, the damage it poses to animals, the low-level noise it produces, the fact that it is not visually beautiful, and the fact that there are only a few areas ideal for wind turbines.
- The wind business has developed significantly over the last few decades, and it appears that this trend will continue.
What are the effects of wind farms on the environment?
Driving around the eastern section of Prince Edward Island with companions, admiring the pastoral beauty and mesmerizing animals, was one of my favorite recollections from my first vacation to Canada. When you’re traveling in a car, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ “The sight of statuesque wind turbines sprinkled amongst patches of woodland pleasantly delighted us as “tree huggers.” It was thrilling to see how much this small area of eastern Canada had progressed “emerald”
It didn’t occur to me at the time that this was one of Mother Nature’s ironies: one of the most quickly expanding types of renewable energy can also have lethal implications for wildlife. Wind turbines, which many see as a crucial component in the fight against climate change, have the potential to kill airborne species, with long-term consequences for the food chain.
Wind farms can harm biodiversity in a variety of ways, including direct collision mortality, relocation from feeding or nesting areas, and habitat degradation or loss. Birds and bats are particularly vulnerable.
The battle between wind turbines and animal preservation is raging on Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada, where the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Energy Corporation wants to add seven new turbines to the existing ten. This would entail using larger turbines, both in terms of height and the area swept by their blades. While the province claims that the higher height of 175 meters, compared to the 125-150 meters of existing turbines in the region, and wider blades allow for more energy generation, the PEI Wildlife Federation is concerned about the size and position of the wind turbines.
Is it possible to become sick from windmills?
It’s crucial to analyze what constitutes human health when analyzing the negative consequences of IWTs. “A state of total physical, mental, and social well-being, not only the absence of disease or disability,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 21
Despite its widespread acceptance, the WHO definition of health is routinely neglected when evaluating the effects of IWTs on human health. With varied degrees of completeness, accuracy, and neutrality, literature studies on the health impacts of IWTs have been generated. 22 Some of these commenters admit that the stated IWT health effects are plausible, and that IWT noise and visual effects may induce discomfort, stress, or sleep disruption, which can have other repercussions. However, because “direct pathogenic effects” or a “direct causal link” have not been proved, these IWT health implications are frequently dismissed. The Potential Health Impact of Wind Turbines was published in 2010 by the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health, who acknowledged that some people living near wind turbines experience symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbances, but concluded that “the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.” 23 Dr. Gloria Rachamin, the report’s principal author, admitted under oath that the literature evaluation only looked at direct ties to human health. 24
The discussion is limited to a small portion of the potential health impacts of IWTs by focusing on “direct” causal relationships. The 2011 environmental review tribunal ruling ruled that “indirect impacts (e.g., a person being exposed to noise and subsequently expressing stress and developing other related symptoms)” can cause substantial harm to human health. 20
Physiological tests on humans have revealed that moderate noise causes health effects similar to those generated by high noise exposures on the direct pathway. Noise-induced disruptions of activities such as communication and sleep begin the indirect pathway. 25
Sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep were among the symptoms reported by people exposed to wind turbines, according to Pierpont.
13 These symptoms are “well-known stress effects of noise exposure,” or in other words, “a subset of irritation reactions,” according to a panel literature assessment held by the American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Association. 26
Noise-induced annoyance is known to be harmful to one’s health.
2730 Noise disturbance that persists for a long time should be considered a serious health hazard. 31 “The potential of a noise to produce annoyance depends on many of its physical qualities, including its sound pressure level and spectral characteristics, as well as the fluctuations of these properties over time,” according to WHO recommendations for community noise. 32 At comparable sound pressure levels, industrial wind turbine noise is reported to be more unpleasant than vehicle or industrial noise. 33 Industrial wind turbine amplitude modulation,34 audible low frequency noise,35 tonal noise, infrasound,36 and a lack of nighttime abatement have all been recognized as noise characteristics that could cause discomfort and other health impacts.
Why do birds die as a result of wind turbines?
The Obama administration is allowing the “taking” (killing) of bald and golden eagles over a 30-year period. The massive birds will be killed “accidentally” by lethal wind turbines put in their breeding territory and “dispersion regions,” where their young congregate (e.g. Altamont Pass). A current government research claims that wind farms will kill “just” 1.4 million birds year by 2030, by accident (if you believe in coincidences). This new analysis is one of many, funded by taxpayers, aimed at persuading the public that the increased mortality caused by wind farms is acceptable. It isn’t the case.
Dr. Shawn Smallwood’s four-year study in 2004 found that the Altamont Pass wind “farm” in California killed an average of 116 Golden Eagles per year. Since it was created 25 years ago, 2,900 “goldies” have died. Altamont is the largest, but not the only, sinkhole for the species, and industry-funded study stating that California’s GE population is steady is a sham.
Eagles aren’t the only ones that have suffered. Smallwood estimated that Altamont killed an average of 300 red-tailed hawks, 333 American kestrels, and 380 burrowing owls per year, as well as 2,526 rock doves and 2,557 western meadowlarks. The Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO/Birdlife) evaluated real carcass counts from 136 surveillance surveys in 2012, breaking the European omerta on wind farm death.
According to their findings, Spain’s 18,000 wind turbines kill 6-18 million birds and bats each year. Extrapolating from that and similar (under-publicized) German and Swedish research, 39,000 US wind turbines would kill 13-39 million birds and bats every year, not “just” 440,000 birds (USFWS, 2009) or “only” 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats (Smallwood, 2013). Self-serving and/or politically motivated government agencies, wind industry lobbyists, environmental groups, and ornithologists, on the other hand, are covering up the devastation with a slew of bogus studies paid for with more taxpayer money.
Even though modern monster turbines launch 80 percent of bird and bat carcasses much further, wildlife expert Jim Wiegand has demonstrated how regions explored under wind turbines are still constrained to 200-foot radiuses. Windfarm operators, following voluntary (!) USFWS standards, commission studies that explore far too narrow regions, examine just once every 30-90 days, assuring that scavengers destroy most carcasses, and ignore wounded birds located within search perimeters.
These research techniques are designed to ensure exceptionally low mortality rates, concealing the true death tolls and the USFWS is willing to maintain the lie. Furthermore, data on bird fatality is now considered the property of wind farm owners, implying that the public has no right to know. Regardless, reports have surfaced that eagles are being hacked to death across the United States. Raptors are drawn to wind turbines, so this isn’t surprising. They rest or scan for prey when perched atop them. They come because wind turbines are frequently erected in environments with plenty of food (live or carrion) and strong gliding winds.
Save the Eagles International (STEI) has released images of raptors sitting on nacelles or stationary blades, as well as ospreys establishing a nest on a decommissioned turbine. A turkey vulture perched on the hub of a spinning turbine and a griffon vulture being injured in films prove that moving blades do not deter them. Birds mistake areas traveled by spinning blades for wide space, oblivious to the fact that blade tips can travel at speeds of up to 180 mph. Many people are preoccupied with catching prey. Wind turbines are “ecological death traps” because of these reasons, regardless of where they are positioned.
The United States intends to generate 20% of its electricity from wind by 2030. That’s approximately six times as much as today, from three or four times as many turbines, which, due to their larger size, strike more flying species (even the mendacious study predicting 1.4 million bird kills recognizes this). By 2030, our wind turbines would be killing over 3 million birds and 5 million bats annually, according to the higher but still underestimated estimates of death released by Smallwood in 2013.
However, this is a factor of ten off from reality, because 90% of casualties occur beyond the search zone and are not counted. As a result, we’re talking about an unsustainable death toll of 30 million birds and 50 million bats every year and even more if we factor in other STEI-documented hide-the-mortality schemes. Eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, condors, whooping cranes, geese, bats, and other protected species are among those killed by cars and cats. Rodent numbers will skyrocket as a result of the raptor slaughter. Agriculture and forestry will be hurt hard by the slaughter of bats, who are already being destroyed by White Nose Syndrome.
According to the US Geological Survey, the value of pest-control services offered by bats to US agriculture ranges from $3.7 billion to $53 billion per year. These chiroptera also function as pollinators and fight forest pests. Insects that swarm around wind turbines attract them from as far as nine miles away, according to a Swedish research. As a result, the bloodbath. Wind industry lobbyists argue that they require “regulatory clarity.” Eagle “take” permits, on the other hand, will almost certainly result in extinction as well as ecological, agricultural, economic, social, and health crises that we cannot afford.
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Are wind turbines environmentally friendly?
Wind is a renewable source of electricity. In general, using wind to generate energy has less environmental consequences than many other energy sources. With few exceptions, wind turbines do not emit pollutants into the air or water, and they do not require water for cooling. Wind turbines may help lessen total air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the quantity of power generated from fossil fuels.
The physical footprint of a single wind turbine is relatively tiny. Wind farms, or clusters of wind turbines, can be found on open land, on mountain ridges, or offshore in lakes or the ocean.