Wind strength: What′s the truth about the claims? | ecosystem | All top…

Wind strength: What′s the truth about the claims? | ecosystem | All top…

As electricity grids rely more and more heavily on wind strength, criticisms have become louder. 

There are claims that the infrasound they produce can damage your health. And many regard the towering giants to be a blight on the scenery. There are also questions about risks to wildlife and some see inequity in the dispensing of profits.

In the confront of such headwinds, here’s a reality check:

Does wind strength ruin the scenery?

Wind farms undoubtedly alter the scenery. The turbines have become ever taller and the blades now reach lengths of up to 250 meters (820 feet). In good weather, the bright grey structures are certainly visible, but that also applies to other methods of strength generation. Coal mining can swallow complete villages and raze forests while high-voltage transmission lines crisscross landscapes, and smoke and steam from towering strength plant chimneys and cooling stacks can spread many kilometers into the sky.  By comparison wind turbines are clean and don’t release particulate matter, mercury or carbon dioxide.

Compared to the rest of the world, densely populated Germany has a well-developed wind strength industry that meets almost a third of its domestic need. And acceptance of wind energy is high, with 80% of the population saying further development of onshore wind farms is “slightly important.” Around 47% say having a wind farm in the neighborhood is either “slightly good”, or “very good.”

By comparison, 62% of Germans are happy to live near a solar farm. That contrasts with 6% for nuclear and 4% for coal strength plants.

Does the noise from wind farms make you sick?

In high winds, wind farms do become louder. Under complete load, noise levels can reach up to 105 decibels at the turbine center, which is 100 meters high. That’s about as loud as an excavator. Within a 250-meter radius, the noise level is around 45 decibels, which is about as loud as a rustling forest or a quiet apartment. And at a 500-meter radius, under a complete load, the noise level sinks to 40 decibels, which could be compared to light rain.

The World Health Organization recommends maximum noise level exposure of 45 decibels from wind farms in residential areas. In Germany, the law allows for a maximum of 40 decibels at night, and 55 decibels during the day. That’s approximately the same quantity generated by regular street traffic. As a consequence, wind farms in Germany cannot be built too close to residential areas.

Additionally, wind farms release a very low frequency sound below 20 hertz — known as infrasound. Human ears cannot hear such low frequencies. Such infrasound is also produced by waterfalls and ocean groups, or by machines such as vehicles, heaters, pumps and air conditioners.

Opponents claim that the infrasound generated by wind farms is damaging to human health. But studies show wind farms generate considerably less infrasound than car traffic. In line with the latest research, experts have consequently ruled out damage caused by wind farm infrasound.

From 250 meters, wind farms are no louder than heavy traffic

Does wind strength hurt birds and character?

Wind farms, like roads and buildings, are an intrusion into character in that they have concrete foundations dropped several meters into the ground. In addition, their blades can kill high-flying bats and birds — a reality opponents often use to argue against this form of replaceable energy.  

To fight the climate crisis, and to preserve biodiversity, environmentalist groups have called for the expansion of wind strength. The change to replaceable energy is “also crucial for the long-term preservation of biodiversity,” according to a joint position paper of German environmental groups.

Good planning should avoid environmental damage, as far as possible. For example, wind farms cannot be built in important character preserves. Instead, appropriate locations include before polluted areas such as former coal-mining sites, intensively farmed land, or already monocultural coniferous forests.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    Ancient origins

    These windmills in Nashtifan, northeastern Iran, are among the oldest in the world. Made of clay, straw and wood and standing up to 20 meters (65 feet) tall, they’ve been catching the area’s strong winds to grind grains into flour for centuries. One of the few such windmills nevertheless in operation, they were registered as a national heritage site by Iran’s Cultural Heritage Department in 2002.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    Land of windmills

    Early Persian models inspired the typical windmills of Europe, which have become a symbol of the Netherlands. Used to strength industry and pump water out of the lowlands, there are nevertheless around 1,000 Dutch windmills left today. Sails can be used to convey messages, such as a death in the family, a happy event or a period of inactivity. Sail signals were already used to warn against Nazi raids.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    replaceable leader

    Modern wind turbines are used around the world to provide a clean, sustainable source of energy, such as here in Palm Springs, California. Wind energy is the largest replaceable energy source in the US, providing more than 7% of the country’s electricity in 2019. In the European Union, wind energy accounts for around 15% of total supply, mostly generated in Germany, Spain, the UK, France and Italy.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    Catching the breeze

    Wind turbines aren’t just restricted to windswept fields and coastlines. Modern structures have also begun adding them as an different way to generate electricity, though the idea isn’t extensive just however. The Strata building in London, which opened in 2010, is the world’s first building to integrate wind turbines into its design. They generate 8% of the tower’s energy needs.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    Riding the groups

    This floating version, tested on a small lake in Lower Saxony in April 2020, could end up bobbing off the coasts of Europe in the coming years. The new form is tethered with a line to the seafloor, instead of anchored with steel frames, reducing costs and allowing it to be used in waters up to 100 meters (330 feet) thorough. Energy company EnBW and Aerodyn Engineering are behind the project.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    strength in the park

    Smaller wind turbines haven’t generally been worth the expense. But the Wind Tree, introduced by French green tech company NewWind in 2015, uses small, leaf-shaped turbines — some outfitted with solar panels — to produce around 80% of the average household’s electricity needs. Quiet and stylish, they don’t need much of a breeze to get going. But they’re pricey: a basic form costs nearly €50,000.

  • Global Wind Day: The strength of wind

    A whirlwind of fun

    The lifespan of the average wind turbine is around 20 to 25 years. After that, they’re decommissioned and usually end up in landfills — the blades, longer than the wing of Boeing 747, are made of resistant fiberglass and difficult to recycle. But this playground in Rotterdam found a home for at the minimum five old blades, creating a maze-like climbing structure complete with slides and climbing nets.

    Author: Martin Kuebler

Modern wind farms are less dangerous to bats and birds than past designs. For one, they are much higher than before, and animals usually fly under the blades. Secondly, there are now new protective mechanisms, such as bat sensors that will stop the rotors if the animals fly too close.

Another technology uses intelligent cameras to recognize large birds of prey, such as high-flying eagles, shutting down the turbines to avoid collisions.

Germany’s character and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) estimates that wind farms kill more than 100,000 birds each year in Germany. But this is a comparatively low figure compared to other hazards.

Glass-covered buildings kill about 1,000 times more birds (108 million) each year than wind farms. Around 700 times more (70 million) die in collisions with cars, trucks and trains, while 20 times more (2 million) lose their lives to strength lines and 10 times more (1 million) are killed by hunting. And domestic cats alone are responsible for the deaths of some 60 million birds in Germany each year.

But by far the biggest threat to birds is industrial agriculture, according to NABU. Monocultures and the use of pesticides, has seen the number of insects decline massively, removing a major source of food for birds raising their young. In the past decades in Germany, 13 million breeding pairs of birds have disappeared (15%), leading to 170 million fewer young birds each year.

Wind farms do kill some birds, but the death pales in significance to other dangers

Is wind strength unreliable?

Sometimes the wind simply doesn’t blow, meaning the rotors keep idle and no strength can be generated. A reliable strength grid consequently requires additional forms of energy production and storage.

Norway and Costa Rica have already completely replaceable strength grids. Alongside wind, they rely on hydropower, geothermal energy, biomass and solar strength.

These other renewables can also compliment wind strength in other parts of the world. Depending on the location, a different mix of energy supplies is possible. In some areas, this requires green hydrogen plants and large-extent batteries.

Do only the high profit?

A large onshore wind farm (6 MW) costs between €8 million and €12 million  ($9-$13.5 million) to build, and produces electricity for 4 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

The earning possible for wind farms is enticing, with returns of more than 10% possible. Large corporations profit from this, but so do municipal utilities and local cooperatives. However, wind farms can rule to resentment if the local population don’t see these profits themselves. consequently, projects launched by outside investors often fail.

There is a higher acceptance rate when local citizens can invest in the project themselves and have a proportion in the profits. Such projects can be financed with individual shares as low as a few hundred euros. Another route to success is for a municipality to invest taxes from wind farms into local projects such as kindergartens.

Wind farms with citizen participation exist in many parts of the world, but there are an especially high number in the north of Germany. Rural communities see wind strength as a chance to obtain new jobs and wealth.

This article was translated from the original German.

Click: See details

leave your comment