Efficient and clean, renewable energy means a more robust economy, a cleaner
environment, and greater energy independence. Wind farms are vital to the quest for clean, renewable energy. Even so, some myths and misconceptions have arisen around this innovative technology. As the popularity of wind energy increases, it seems the number of misconceptions about wind turbines and wind farms rises right alongside it. Here are five of the more frequently circulated myths:
- Wind turbines are too noisy.
- Wind farms kill large numbers of birds.
- There are health problems caused by wind energy production.
- Wind energy is inefficient compared to other forms of energy.
- Wind farms use up or destroy valuable farmland.
Each of these misconceptions has been thoroughly researched by numerous experts in the scientific community and organizations operating in the energy sector. Below, Green Development LLC provides objective and scientifically sound truths to dispel these oft-repeated myths.
Wind turbines are too noisy
Because many modern wind turbines are variable speed direct-drive, the only audible sound is the swooshing of the turbine blades and the cooling fans’ hum. Often these turbines cannot be heard over the ambient noise of the wind through surrounding trees. The technology used for older turbines created more noise, and this likely the origin of the “too noisy” myth.
Wind farms kill large numbers of birds
Birds can fly into wind turbines like they can any tall structure. This is not, however, a widespread problem or threat to bird populations. The U.S. Department of Energy, along with every other credible research institution, maintains that the overall impact of wind turbines on birds is much lower (<1 of 30,000) than other human-related causes, such as buildings, communications towers, traffic, and house cats. Furthermore, conventional fuels have a far more significant impact on wildlife and their habitat, and the environment.
There are health problems caused by wind energy production
While anecdotal evidence is often repeated, no empirical studies support the assertion that wind turbines contribute to poor health. There is not enough evidence to conclude a correlation between wind farms and illness in humans who live near them.
Wind energy is inefficient compared to other forms of energy
According to the U.S Department of Energy, wind energy is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available. It costs only 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. Because the electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price over a long time and the wind is free, wind energy mitigates the price uncertainty that varying fuel costs add to traditional energy sources.
Wind farms use up or destroy valuable farmland
A typical wind farm leaves about 98 percent of the land it occupies undisturbed which means the ground is free for other uses like farming and ranching. Farmers often lease their land to wind energy companies. This amicable arrangement creates a stable income source and can help protect the farmer from fluctuations in commodity prices or poor crop yields. Furthermore, the additional income allows farmers to reinvest in their farms by purchasing new equipment or making other improvements necessary to maintain their independence within the agricultural industry.
About Green Development LLC
Green Development LLC is the leading developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects in Rhode Island, specializing in wind, solar, and battery storage. The company delivers significant energy savings to municipalities, quasi-public entities, nonprofits, and other qualified entities through the virtual net metering program while providing long-term lease payments to landowners and farmers.
Since 2009, Green Development has been instrumental in transforming the energy mix in Rhode Island to clean, reliable energy. The company has developed more than 70 MW in solar and wind capacity, with plans to add 111 MW in 2021. Green Development is devoted to preserving farmland, reducing water and air pollution, increasing energy security, and creating local jobs. Current wind and solar sites reduce carbon emissions equivalent to using 8,091,141 gallons of gas each year.