Most popular Wind Power Myths

 

The Public Opinion survey undertaken by Innovative Research Group for CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association) in 2007 indicates that while the real underlying preceptions fueling any opposition to wind power are property values, encumbered land use, neighbour turbine envy, change averseness, and lack of understanding of technology and approval process. These underlying issues are usually masked and advanced by emotionally charged misinformed arguments and concerns around Birds, Viewscape, Noise, Flicker, Intermittent wind, Safety and Health.

Below is an attempt to scientifically evaluate and address some of these concerns both above and below the surface with peer-reviewed research facts.

Myth 1. Sound

Misconception - Wind turbines are noisy and flap around Helicopter blades.

Facts - Wind turbines are akin to agricultural machinery and do produce sound, but this output is reasonable, measurable, can be modeled, and is regulated by law to ensure that there is no threat to human health. The Ontario Ministry of Environment has developed specific regulations on this issue and specific setbacks exist for specific turbine models.

Source and Noise Level Comparison
Source / Activity Indicative Noise Level dB (A)
Threshold of hearing 0
Rural night-time background 20-40
Quiet bedroom 35
Wind farm at 350m 35-45
Car at 40mph at 100m 55
Busy general office 60
Truck at 30mph at 100m 65
Pneumatic drill at 7m 95
Jet aircraft at 250m 105
Threshold of Pain 140
Source: The Scottish Office, Environment Department, Planning Advice Note, PAN 45, Annes A: Wind Power, A.27, Renewable Energy Technologies, August 1994

Studies-

a) WIND TURBINE FACILITIES NOISE ISSUES - ACOUSTIC CONSULTING REPORT

Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment By Dr. Ramani Ramakrishnan in Dec 2007
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings: 

- Ministry hired Ramakrishnan to look at wind turbine noise guidelines and policies in other areas, as well as to critique available scientific literature, including a dissertation by Dutch scientist G. P. van den Berg.

- Ramakrishnan's critique of this data says that van den Berg's claims weren't backed by scientific evidence.
-
The noise expert's critique looked at noise policies from other provinces and other counties, including the United States, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. It found that Ontario's limits are similar to those other areas.

- Ontario's noise guidelines for wind turbines are sound and, although more research is needed, there is no scientific proof that the giant machines cause excessive noise

- According to his report, Ontario's noise limits apply to both daytime and nighttime periods, with the level being measured at the nearest point of reception: a location within 30 metres of an existing or zoned-for-future dwelling
- The noise expert's report for the ministry found that the provincial regulations surrounding wind farm noise levels strike a fair balance "between noise impact and the need for wind farms, based on currently available scientific data.

b) Lawrence Technological University - Primer for Addressing Wind Turbine Noise - Revised Oct. 2006
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings:
-There is no evidence that wind turbines generates the level of noise that causes health problems
-It is difficult to distinguish the sound of the turbine from the rustling of the corn stalks.

Myth 2. Infrasound

Misconception - Wind Turbines produce low frequency sound or infrasound that is dangerous to human health.

Facts - Low Frequency sound emitted from the 'swish' of a turbine's blades as it passes the base is often confused as infrasound. Numerous studies have demonstrated that wind turbines do not produce infrasound that affects human health.

Studies-
a) Wind Turbine Acoustic Noise - by Dr. Anthony Rogers of the University of Massachusetts' Renewable Energy Research Laboratory - January 2006
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings: 
-Their is no reliable evidence that infrasound below the audio perception threshold produces physiological or psychological effects.

b) Infrasound from Wind Turbines – Fact, Fiction or Deception, Published in Canadian Acoustics 2006 by Dr. Geoff Leventhall
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings:
-There is an insignificant level of infrasound from wind turbines and normally little low frequency noise. Turbulent air inflow conditions cause enhanced levels of low frequency noise, which may be disturbing, but the overriding noise from wind turbines is the fluctuating audible swish, mistakenly referred to as “infrasound” or “low frequency noise”.

c) 
In response to an individual’s concerns of the sound from a nearby windfarm impacting his property, HGC Engineering was retained by Natural Resources Canada to assess the environmental noise impact from the Pubnico Point Wind Farm in Nova Scotia.HGC Engineering – Environmental Noise Assessment Pubnico Point Wind

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

-Sound at Infrasonic frequencies is not present at perceptible levels near the

wind turbine generators. Infrasound is not an issue

-Sound of the wind turbine generators is continually audible at the

residence, but much of the time is not appreciably above the numeric

criteria derived under the guidelines of the Ontario Ministry of the

Environment

d) Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound from Wind Turbine Generators: A Literature Review – Prepared for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority of New Zealand by George Bellhouse of Bel Acoustic Consulting – June 2004
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings: 
-There is no information available to indicate that wind turbine generators emit infrasound

anywhere near the intensity in the infrasound region for the sound to be audible even to a

person with the most sensitive hearing acuity at a distance where houses are generally

located relative to wind farms.

-It is important to realise that there is no reliable evidence that would indicate any effects

on people when infrasound is present at a level below the hearing threshold.

-There is no evidence to indicate that low-frequency sound or infrasound from current

models of wind turbine generators should cause concern to anyone living close to a wind

turbine generator or a wind farm.

 

Myth 3. Birds

 

Misconception - Wind Turbines are unusually harmful to birds and disrupt bird migratory patterns.

 

Facts – Wind turbines can potentially have impacts on birds through collisions and habitat disruption. However, the impact if any is much less than that of urban sprawl, buildings, house cats or the climatic changes that are impacting many bird habitats. National Audubon Society recently quoted, “ On balance, Audubon strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduce the threat of global warming”

Summary of Predicted Annual Avian Mortality
Mortality Source Annual Mortality Estimate Percent Composition
Buildings 550 million 58.2 %
Power Lines 130 million 13.7 %
Cats 100 million 10.6 %
Automobiles 80 million 8.5 %
Pesticides 67 million 7.1 %
Communication towers 4.5 million 0.5 %
Wind turbines 28.5 thousand <0.01 %
Airplanes 25 thousand < 0.01 %
Other souces (oil spills, oil seeps, fishing by-catch etc.) not calculated not calculated
Table reproduced from Summary of Anthropogenic Causes of Bird Mortality as reference in Study a) below.
 

Studies

a) A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions – carried out by US Forest Service

Source: Click here for the document 
Key Findings:

- For every 10,000 birds killed by human activities including fatalities by collisions with man made structures, less than one death is caused by a wind turbine.

- Green house gas emissions pose the most significant long-term threat to birds.

- American house cat poses a much greater threat to birds than wind turbines. Housecats are estimated to kill 10.6% birds each year in the U.S. compared to less than 0.01% birds that die from a collision with turbines.

 

b) Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States carried by The National Wind Coordinating Committee

Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings:

- Wind plant related avian collision fatalities probably represent between 0.01 percent to 0.02 percent of the annual avian collision fatalities in the U.S.

- Data collected indicates an average of 1.83 avian fatalities per turbine for all species and 0.006 raptor fatalities per turbine per year.

 

c) The Effects of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats in Northeast Wisconsin – carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. There two year study involved a 31 turbine wind farm.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- While bird collisions do occur (with commercial wind turbines) the impacts on global populations appears to be relatively minor, especially in comparison with other human-related causes of mortality

 “Previous studies suggest that the frequency of avian collisions with wind turbines is low, and the impact of wind power on bird populations today is negligible. Our study provides little evidence to refute this claim.”

 

d). Avian Monitoring and Risk Assessment at Tehachapi Pass and San Gorgonio Pass Wind Resource Areas, California - carried by The National Wind Coordinating Committee

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

-A 1986 study found that 69 million birds flew though the San Gorgonio Pass during the spring and fall migrations. During both migrating seasons, 38 dead birds were found during that typical year, representing only 0.00006% of the migrating population.

 

e). Audubon Society Stands Up In Support For Wind Power - John Flicker, President of the National Audubon Society, wrote this column in the November-December 2006 installment of the organization’s magazine. The National Audubon Society mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- “When you look at a wind turbine, you can find the bird carcasses and count them. With a coal-fired power plant, you can't count the carcasses, but it's going to kill a lot more birds.”

- "As the threats of global warming loom ever larger, alternative energy sources like wind power are essential,"

 

f) Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006 – a study sponsored by Greenpeace

Source: Click here for the document 

Key Findings:

- The UK’s leading bird protection body, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), says that the most significant long-term threat to birds comes from climate change. According to the RSPB, “recent scientific research indicates that, as early as the middle of this century, climate change could commit one third or more of land-based plants and animals to extinction, including some species of British birds.” Compared to this threat, “the available evidence suggests that appropriately positioned wind farms do not pose a significant hazard for birds,” it concludes.


Myth 4. Property Values

 

Misconception - Wind Power will cause property values to decrease.

 

Facts - There is no evidence that the presence of a commercial windfarm within sight of a property systematically decreases its' value.

 

Studies -

a) “The Effect of Wind Development on Local Property Value” – carried out by The Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) published a study of property values in 2003. REPP evaluated residential property values at 10 wind power projects (10MW and larger) throughout the U.S. built between 1998 and 2001. Property Values in a view shed radius of five miles were compared with property values in nearby communities.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- “The Statistical analysis of all property sales in the view shed and the comparable community provides no evidence that wind development has harmed property values within the view shed.”

- “For the great majority of projects the property values actually rose more quickly in the view shed than they did in the comparable community. Moreover, values increased faster in the view shed after the projects came online than they did before.

- In the minority of cases where property value decreased, the values decreased slower in the view shed than in the comparable community

 

b) Public Attitudes to Windfarms: A Survey of Local Residents in Scotland. MORI Scotland was commissioned by the Scottish Executive to undertake a study examining the attitudes of people living close to windfarms in Scotland. It was decided that the research should focus on the larger sites, i.e., those windfarms with nine or more turbines of which there were ten operational in Scotland at the end of 2002.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Three times the number of residents say that their local windfarm has had a broadly positive impact on the area (20%) say that it has had a negative impact (7%). Most (73%) feel that it has had neither a positive nor negative impact, or expressed no opinion.

- People who lived in their homes before the site was developed say that, in advance of the windfarm development, they thought that problems might be caused by its impact on the landscape (27%), traffic during construction (19%) and noise during construction (15%). However, only 12% say the landscape has been spoiled, 6% say there were problems with additional traffic, and 4% say there was noise or disturbance from traffic during construction.

- People living closest to the windfarms tend to be most positive about them (44% of those living within 5km say the windfarm has had a positive impact, compared with 16% of those living 10-20km away). They are also most supportive of expansion of the sites (65% of those in the 5km zone support 50% expansion, compared with 53% of those in the 10-20km zone).

 

c) Impacts of Wind Farm Visibility on Property Values in Madison was sponsored by Fenner Renewable Energy Education Foundation (FREE) to examine the impacts on local property values of the Fenner wind farm, NY.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- The report finds no measurable effects of windmill visibility on property values. This absence of evidence holds even when concentrating on homes within a mile or on those that sold immediately following announcement in 2001

d) A real estate study of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center, Mclean and Wooldford Counties, Illinois. The study compared sales of homes and farmland properties within an area close to the wind farm, the “target area,” to those in a “control area” with similar characteristics but outside any areas of wind farms. Study was prepared by Poletti and Associates for Invenergy Wind.
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings:
- The study of property sales from 1998 through 2006 indicates no differences in property

values in the wind farm areas as compared with other similar areas

- In Kewaunee, Wisconsin, an analysis of the area in and around two wind farms that have been operational since 1998 indicated that there were no measurable differences in home values in the target areas close to the wind farms and the contol areas outside of the wind farm vicinity. The study utilized 87 residential and farmland sales transactions in the target and control areas.

- In Mendota, Illinois, an analysis of a wind farm that has been operational since 2003 concluded that there was no measurable difference in the home values between the target and control areas. This study utilized 69 residential and farmland sales transactions in the target and control areas. In addition, the report indicates that residential development is continuing in close proximity to the 63-turbine wind farm with the Lee County Board recently approving a 100-unit subdivision near the wind farm. Sales in the subdivision are proceeding with homes within 3,000 feet of the wind farm selling for $530,000 to $540,000.

Myth 5. Safety

 

Misconception - Wind turbines are unsafe. The blades can fly off and can cause dangerous ice throws, or the turbine could collapse.

 

Facts - Wind energy is one of the safest energy technologies, and enjoys an outstanding health & safety record. There is over 35 years of operating experience and more than 85,000 machines are installed around the world.  At any point in time, wind turbine computes 200 types of data sets, and detects any ice build from readings on blade imbalance, icing detector sensor, different readings from heated vs non-heated anemometer and shuts down. In addition in ice prone areas wind blades with embedded heating elements can be used to prevent ice build-up. Proof is the Toronto Exhibition Place Wind Turbine near downtown Toronto, which overhangs one of the busiest highways, and has no ice injury reported to date. As for blades flying off and tower collapse, modern wind turbines & their components undergo certification from International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM), ANSI, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American Gear Manufacturer's Association (AGMA), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), International Energy Agency (IEC), International Standards Organization (ISO) etc.

 

Studies -

a) Odds of Death Due to Injury, United States, 2003

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- The odds of anyone being killed in a wind turbine related accident in the U.S. over his/her lifetime was 1 in 3,777,272. This compares to a 1 in 84 risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident, a 1 in 1,134 risk of drowning, and a 1 in 56,789 risk of dying from a hornet, wasp or bee sting.

 

b) A Summary of Fatal Accidents in Wind Energy by Paul Gipe details the worldwide accidents in wind energy.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Over the course of past 35 years their have been 20 fatal accidents in wind energy worldwide

- Falling from the tower is the single most apparent occupational hazard of working with wind energy.

- Most accidents are due to the same common sense fatal mistake, where people did not use any form of fall protection

Myth 6. Viewscape

 

Misconception – Wind Turbines look ugly on the landscape, they can be cramped together to fill up the land, and they each have multiple aviation flashing lights.

 

Facts - Beauty is the eye of beholder, and no two people agree on what is beautiful. However, research and anecdotal evidence indicates that wind developments do not negatively influence the viewscape. On the contrary, they have been found more than often to be a positive influence on tourism. Laws of Physics dictate that wind turbines cannot be cramped together, but have to be at least 5 to 7 rotor diameter apart. Meaning that they have to be approximately 1,200 to 1,700 feet apart, which distance increases considerably after taking any setbacks and environmental zone into account. Furthemore, the wind turbines are not randomly spread around, as the rules of construction require them to follow a specific pattern. Each wind turbine does not have multiple flashing lights, nor do all wind turbines have a flashing light. Transport Canada requires only one CL-864 medium intensity red flashing light on few specified wind turbines located in the perimeter of wind farm with a maximum horizontal separation distance of 2,700f feet. No turbines are lit inside the perimeter of wind farm expect the most dominant turbine at the highest absolute height. All the red beacons are to be synchronous.

 

Studies -

a) Visual Assessment of Windfarms: Best Practice By University of Newcastle (2002) Visual Assessment of Windfarms Best Practice. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report F01AA303A

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- In most situations turbines dominated the view up to a distance of 2 km (zone 1)

- Turbines appear visually intrusive at distances 1 - 4.5 km in average to good visibility (zone 2).

- Turbines noticeable, but not intrusive, at distances 2 - 8 km, depending on atmospheric conditions and other factors (zone 3).

- Turbines seen as indistinct elements within the distant landscapes at distances over 7 km (zone 4).

b) Tourist Attitudes Toward Windfarms, MORI summary report, September 2002. An independent 2002 survey performed by MORI (Market & Opinion Research International) and commissioned by BWEA and the Scottish Renewables Forum provides strong evidence that wind farms do more to benefit than harm tourism. MORI interviewed tourists visiting Argyll and Bute, Scotland, an area chosen because it currently has the greatest concentration of wind farms in Scotland. Furthermore, the area also has a tourism industry reliant on the area’s high landscape value.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Almost half (48%) of the respondents who came to the area reported doing so for the scenery (as opposed to 10% who said they came for music festivals, the next most reported reason).

- 40% of tourists interviewed were aware of the existence of wind farms in the area and when asked whether this presence had a positive or negative effect. 43% maintained that it had a positive effect, 43% felt it made no difference, Less than one in ten (8%) felt that it had a negative effect

- This means that the majority of tourists who knew about the wind farms, came away with a more positive image of the area because of their presence

c) Wind turbine and Wind Farm Lighting By Transport Canada
Source: Click here for the document
Key Findings:
-Use one CL-864 medium intensity red flashing light
-Only few turbines located in the perimeter no more than 2,700 ft from each other to be lit
-Inside the perimeter only turbine at highest absolute height to be lit

Myth 7. Intermittency

 

Misconception - Because wind power is intermittent, any significant amount of wind energy fed into the grid would result in grid destabilization and reduced reliability. More so, wind power uses grid electricity to operate.

 

Facts - Wind does not start and stop at irregular intervals, but can be predicted in advance - hence the term “intermittent” is misleading and the output of the aggregated wind power capacity is variable. This is because wind power projects are spread throughout the province and there is little overall impact if the wind stops blowing in one particular place, as it is always blowing somewhere else. To put it in perspective, the power system itself is inherently variable, since electricity flows – both supply and demand – are influenced by a large number of planned and unplanned factors. Changing weather makes people switch their heating and lighting on and off, millions of consumers expect instant power for TVs and computers, this means that the supply of power on the grid is always being varied to meet the constantly changing demand needs. This is done by keeping some amount of power generation operating as standby called spinning reserves, regardless of whether the grid has any wind turbine connected to it or not. Also, wind turbines like any coal, nuclear or gas powered generator are induction machines, meaning that they need an external source of power called excitation current to induce power in the generators to start – just like we would need a match to start campfire.

 

Studies -

a) Ontario Wind Integration Study, Oct 6, 2006

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Demonstrated that the integration of 5,000MW of variable wind energy production poses no challenges to Ontario’s electricity system. This would be equivalent to 7% of total yearly energy in Ontario.

b) Intermittency Analysis Project: Final Report by California Energy Commission
Source: Click here for the document
Key Finding:
-Their is no technical barrier to integrate 20% of wind energy on California Grid

 

c) “Variability of Wind Power and Other Renewables: management Options and Strategies” (2005) - A report by the International Energy Agency

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Barriers to greater penetration of renewables into the existing grid were economic and regulatory rather than technical.

 

d) The UK Energy Research Center (UKERC) convened an expert group that reviewed more than 200 studies on wind power integration and an internationally peer reviewed, comprehensive report

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- None of the 200+ studies UKERC reviewed suggested that the introduction of significant levels of intermittent renewable energy would lead to reduced reliability

-100% ‘back-up’ for individual renewable sources is unnecessary; extra capacity will be needed to keep supplies secure, but will be modest and a small part of the total renewables.

- Increased costs of intermittency with a significant amount of renewable energy on the network would only be less than 1% of electrical costs.

 

e) Planning of the Grid Integration of Wind Energy in Germany Onshore and Offshore up to the Year 2020. By German Energy Agency Dena demonstrates that large-scale integration of wind energy in the electricity system is technically and economically feasible.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Wind energy annual production can triple by 2015, providing 14% of the German net electricity consumption

- Wind energy requires only minor expansion of the grid

- Wind energy does not require construction of additional ‘balancing’ power

stations

- Wind energy increases only marginally the cost of electricity for the consumers

- Wind energy can help maintain the system security of supply even with a very significant percentage of the power supply

 

f) “Utility Wind Integration State of the Art” - U.S. utility associations find the impact of wind on operating costs to be incremental and manageable.

Source: Click here for the document 
Key Findings:

- “At wind penetrations of up to 20% of system peak demand, system operating cost increases arising from wind variability and uncertainty amounted to about 10% or less of the wholesale value of the wind energy.”

 

g) “Large scale integration of wind energy in the European power supply: analysis, issues and recommendations” –  released November 2006 by European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is a comprehensive report based on a review of over 180 sources – published data, reports, research findings from all stakeholders across the power industry, operators, utilities and experts.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- In 2003, the European Commission estimated that wind energy will be the main contributor to meeting the 2010 targets for renewable electricity in the European Union

- When about 10% of total electricity consumption is produced by wind power, the increase in back up power is calculated at only 2-4% of installed wind power capacity – not total electricity consumption.

 

h) “Wind Integration Study” by The Minnesota Department of Commerce. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the impacts on reliability and operating costs of 1500 MW of wind generation capacity on the Xcel Energy System with a projected 10,000MW of peak customer load in the year 2010.

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Adding an additional 1,500MW (enough energy to meet the needs of more than 400,000 homes) to the system of a major utility, Xcel Energy Minnesota, would require only an additional 8MW of conventional generation to deal with added variability. (less than 0.5% back-up required)

- Groundbreaking Minnesota wind integration study finds up to 25% wind can be incorporated reliably into electric power system.

Myth 8. Expensive, Subsidized, and Very Profitable

 

Misconception - Wind energy is much more expensive than other power generation sources, it receives undue government subsidies and wind energy companies are making money hand over fist.

 

Facts - Wind Energy is very competitive with fossil sources of generation. For example in the Request for Proposal issued by Ministry of Energy in Ontario in 2004, the average fixed price contract for wind energy for a 20 year term was 8cents/kWh, while the average fixed price contract for gas fired generation for the 20 year term was 7.5cents/kWh. All forms of generation receive some form of subsidy. For example the coal and gas industry gets tax breaks and no accounting of the societal cost of pollution caused. Nuclear industry’s cost of insurance and loan guarantees is underwritten by the government, not to mention that most forms of existing generation had been paid for by stranded debt to taxpayers. So yes, wind receives an incentive of 1cent/kWh as its contribution to society. Wind projects are infrastructure projects, and are marginally profitable. They provide low stable return over a long period of time. Additionally, most wind projects are bid in a competitive tender process, which ensures success to only those projects that have very low cost of capital.


Studies -
a) Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends: 2006. Produce by US Department of Energy Berkley Labs

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

-Wind power has provided good value in wholesale power markets in recent years, and has generally been priced at or below the cost of conventional fossil generation.

-The cost of turbines has risen since 2002, reversing the decline in total wind project costs and driving up the cost of generating wind power. The full effect of this cost increase will continue to play out in coming years as recent turbine cost increases flow through to wind power prices.

-Wind project performance has increased over the last several years, driven in part by higher tower heights, improved project siting, and technological advancements.

-The wind market is in a period of transition, as electric utilities have shown increased interest in wind project ownership, and merchant wind power plants and sales to power marketers have become more common.

 

b) Federal Energy Subsidies: Not All Technologies Are Created Equal – Research Report by Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP)

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

-In the non-fossil category, nuclear industry received more than 96 percent of almost $151 billion in subsidies identified.

-Photovoltaics and solar thermals received the second largest subsidy at a total of $4.4 billion, wind received a total of $1.2 billion while hydropower technology received at least $1.6 billion.

 

Myth 9. Wind Power Internationally

 

Misconception – Countries all around the world are stopping their development in wind power, and especially Germany.

 

Fact – The complete opposite is true, as wind energy around the world has been growing at a breath taking pace. Infact,Canada has been far behind in regards to the use of wind power with only 1,460 MW installed which accounts for approximately 0.5% of our power needs.

World Leaders in Wind Power (2006)
Country Installed Wind Power
Capacity (MW)
Annual Growth % of Total Power
Germany 20,621 12% 6%
Spain 11,615 155 8.25%
United States 11,603 27% 0.6%
India 6,270 41% NA
Denmark 3,136 0.15% 21%
 

Studies

a) European Market for Wind Turbines Grows 23% in 2006

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

-European market for wind power broke new records with installed capacity of 7.588MW an increase of 23% from 2005

-Germany has 6% of its power needs met by wind power, which is forecasted to triple by 2015 amounting to 14%

-Germany is compensating the shortage of available wind sites by repowering old turbines & pursuing offshore development

-German Environment Ministry (BMU) estimate that off shore wind power could reach 12-15,000MW by 2020

-Danish Energy Authority statistics and DONG Energy (Danish utility and successor in part to ELSAM) state that wind energy provide 21% of Denmark’s power needs.

-Denmark from 1990 to 2005 has experienced a 250% increase in the amount of renewable energy production.

-Spain’s windy province of Navarra generates 60% of its power needs from wind, while Castilla La Mancha and Galicia province generate 20% of their power needs from wind.

-Spain currently meets 8.25% of its power needs from wind with a record installed capacity of 1,764MW

-Spanish government’s target is to have more than 20,000Mw of wind power by 2020

-Asia has experienced the strongest growth in wind power of 53% in 2006 with India accounting for 1,840MW

-Ireland set a new record in wind power, increasing its capacity by 250MW or 50%.

-China more than doubled its total installed capacity of wind power 2006 to 2,604MW, increasing by 70% from 2005

-North America installed 22% of the World Wind power, increasing the annual market by third in 2005

-US installed 2,500MW in 2006 – an investment of $4 billion & the largest source of new power after natural gas power

-Canada had a record year in 2006, with installed capacity more than doubling from 683MW to 1460MW

-Canada’s Canadian Wind Energy Association has a target of 10,000MW of wind power by 2015

 

b) Planning of the Grid Integration of Wind Energy in Germany Onshore and Offshore up to the Year 2020 – by German Energy Agency, Dena

Source: Click here for the document

Key Findings:

- Wind energy installations in Germany can expand from about 17,000 MW today to 36,000 MW in 2015, and 48,000 MW in 2020

- Wind energy annual production can triple by 2015, providing 14% of the German net electricity consumption.

 

Other Myths 10. Co2 emission, Radar Interference, Blade Glint, Blade Flicker, Water Table, Loss of Agriculture Land

 

Co2 Emissions Fact - Wind power is supported by National and Local governments around the World, along with Leading Scientist and Researchers Investigating Climate Change. Every kilowatt of electricity generated from wind power means that one less kilowatt needs to be generated from a potentially carbon emitting fossil source.
Studies - Impact of Increased Utilization of Ontario Hydro's Fossil Fuel Plants
Source: Click here for the document

 

Radar Interference Fact - June 2003 British Department of Trade concluded that hardware & software mitigation measures are available to address any interference issue. Prior consultation, predevelopment study of interference, and proper siting can address any potential interference issue.
Studies - Feasibility of Mitigating the Effects of Windfarms on Primary Radar carried by UK Department of Trade and Industry
Source: Click here for the document

 

Blade Glint Fact – Any glint is mitigated by surface treatment of blades with low reflectivity material in modern wind turbines.

 

Blade Flicker Fact – Any flicker phenomenon can be easily studied, predicted, and mitigated through suitable wind farm siting and design.

 

Water Table Fact – Hydrological and geological studies are a requirement of Environmental Assessment process, and any impact along with its mitigation is studied and quantified prior to construction. Infact study of Surface and Ground Water is the number one criteria in Ontario Environmental Screening Checklist, as pointed out in Appendix C of page 69 of the following Environmental document as below.
Source: Click here for the document

 

Loss of Agriculture Land Fact – Footprint of a turbine is about 12 feet in diameter which represents the footprint of a typical silo. Wind turbine, access road etc. use less than 2% of the land.

 


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