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.

Renewables International:

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 Age:

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.

The Conversation:

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

8 Responses to “Wind Turbines: To Know ’em is to Love ’em.”

  1. kingdube Says:

    Some people may overreact to wind generators with unfounded fears.

    Other may overact to weather variability with unfounded fears.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    “Other may overact to weather variability with unfounded fears.”

    Right – so the laws of physics have been revoked, and increased CO2 does NOT cause a greenhouse effect. Got it.

    You just can’t keep any particular thought in your head for more than a minute or two, can you, dube?

  3. kingdube Says:

    Right – so the laws of physics have been revoked, and increased CO2 does NOT cause a greenhouse effect. Got it.

    No one challenges that. But the insightful investigator goes on to ask: Where is the evidence of the 2.5-5X positive feedback multiplier that causes some to believe that the word “Catastrophic” belongs in front of AGW?

    • Where is the evidence of a global feedback multiplier? Ok, so if there were no feedback multiplier, there would be no positive feedback, right? A positive feedback might be like the ice melting and more sun hits darker earth, but we do not need to argue that. Because you are asking where is the evidence of a positive feedback. Well without positive feedback,there would be no sudden shifts in temperature, particularly positive ones. Looking at the geologic record there is nothing but record of drastic sudden changes in upward temperature.

  4. I love the sight of windmills. Very relaxing. When they are moving, the wind is whistling in the grass. Majestic, mystical, graceful. It always makes me breathe deeply and slowly. Like a sailor searching for land, they are spotted on the horizon. From the first sight, The thin white blades look like seagull wings pointing to the sky, beckoning, join me. Yet we stand, rooted on the ground. Staring at their magnificence. They appear tiny from a distance, disappearing into the horizon. It seems impossible to get close to them even as we grow nearer. Nearer, looming like cliffs. Standing underneath one of these giants, like the trunk of a redwood, too big to embrace with clasped arms, looking up at a tower, merging to the sky. One blade at a time, moving imperceptibly, until it reaches it’s nadir, looms larger, whooshes faster, then disappears. Wanting to play and leap, to join the dancing blades. And after that, our energetic playfulness subsides, time to say goodbye. Even when the mind accepts departure, the presence only gradually decreases. the whole experience is reversed, with feeling of having been there like the warmth of the sun lingering after the shade of a cloud, as the giants now tiny white body disappears into the distance, only a feeling of awe remains.

  5. dumboldguy Says:

    Very poetic, and quite true. There are no sizable wind farms in my part of the country yet, although I have driven across Texas, where they go on for many miles. I HAVE seen the small group of turbines on the grounds of the Atlantic City NJ power generating station. They always elicit a grin when seen, especially since the casinos stand behind them and offer an interesting counterpoint.

  6. There first time I stood underneath one was in Goodenoe, on the Columbia River Valley. It was A DOE two bladed. It was a dream come true. That was decades ago. I saw them again on a trip across the US, down 80. Read about fracking and taps that catch fire. While I dreamt and hoped and knew the future was there for them, the time dragged on so slowly, .. and then in an instant the vista was filled with nodding white wings. Change is happening so quickly, nobody even can grasp it. Its too big. I can feel it though. You cant believe the excitement.

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