Wind Turbines: To Know ’em is to Love ’em.
December 9, 2013
When they’ve had a chance to live around wind turbines, and find out that they are quiet, clean, do not cause headaches, or herpes, as windbaggers claim – they quickly figure out who’s been lying to them.
A new survey finds that the wind turbines in Freiburg, Germany, are once again very popular after a brief concern over the impact on bats. The strangest thing was the timing of the bat issue.
A new survey conducted by the University of Freiburg (report in German) finds that approval of the city’s six turbines has risen from 65 percent when they were built to 80 percent today, further indication that acceptance of wind turbines increases when people live close to them.
Over time, the researchers say, initial concerns about the turbines possibly scaring away tourists died down when people realize that tourists keep coming unabated. Indeed, at one of Freiburg’s two sites with turbines, a tower for hikers and mountain bikers was also built directly next to four of the turbines, and it has become a popular attraction itself (see this video).
The survey also found that general acceptance of wind power in Germany has greatly increased among Freiburgers. In 2003, 20 percent of those surveyed said they opposed wind power in general, compared to only three percent today.
There was a dip in public acceptance in Freiburg, however, after dead bats were found below some of the turbines in 2004. The timing of the discovery was interesting; it coincided with a switch in the focus on birds to bats in the US in 2004, as documented by the NWCC’s Fact Sheet (PDF), which was first published in 2004.
In Freiburg, an agreement was reached to ensure that the turbine blades do not exceed a certain speed during the few minutes per day when bats fly, and that deaths have not been an issue at the site since – nor were they discovered there before the issue made headlines in the US. The issue has completely died down again in Germany, as the German Wikipedia entry for bats reveals; it mentions the impact of wind turbines on bats by saying that 13 species are affected – as of November 2005.
Estimates for the total number of bat deaths caused by Germany’s roughly 25,000 wind turbines range from the 250,000 recently reported by Der Spiegel to German environmental organization NABU’s 200,000. The average would therefore be around 8 to 10 bats killed per turbine per year, less than one per month. It is unclear how many bat lives are saved, however, from a cleaner environment.
And more from Australia, where residents who live near turbines were recently interviewed below.
The inaudible sound caused by wind farms is no worse than that from other rural and urban environments and does not affect human health, a review by the Victorian Department of Health has found.
Some groups claim the inaudible noise from wind turbines, known as infrasound, can trigger health problems including dizziness, headaches, and insomnia. Together, the syndromes are sometimes described as ”wind turbine syndrome”.
The Health Department review, released late last week, assessed the evidence and found it does not ”support claims that inaudible sounds can have direct physiological effects. Physiological effects on humans have only been detected at levels that are easily audible.”
The report says infrasound is generated by many sources, such as trains, breaking waves and airconditioners. The department found the evidence showed wind farms produced no more infrasound than the background level in other environments.
”Humans have been exposed to high levels of infrasound throughout our evolution, with no apparent effects,” the report says.
Uh oh. There’s a problem. You’re assuming Windbaggers believe in evolution.
Laurie and the Waubra Foundation have done all they can to spread concern about the harms they allege are caused by living near wind farms. One former Waubra resident has been particularly prominent, speaking emotionally at anti-wind farm meetings about how wind farms have ruined his health and caused his family to move to Ballarat, at great personal expense.
In a statement that would be of immense interest to Apple, Samsung and Nokia, he recently told a meeting in Barringhup that electricity generated by wind turbines started charging his cell phone without it being plugged in:
I’ve had my … mobile phone go into charge mode in the middle of the paddock, away from everywhere.
In 2012, he wrote a public submission to a parliamentary inquiry where he revealed he had suffered a serious head injury some eight years before the wind farm opened in 2010:
I have been in brain training care and rehabilitation for about ten years because of an unfortunate, unrelated accident.
Indeed, the most common health complaints voiced by complainants are problems such as disturbed sleep, anxiety, hypertension and normal problems of ageing that are very prevalent in all communities, regardless of whether they have wind farm