Facts about wind power...



Wind power and Noise...   The Scottish  Executive published results of a public opinion survey which found that " before construction of the Scottish wind farms studied, 12% of people living near the sites thought that the turbines would cause a noise nuisance, but after construction only 1% thought they were noisy".


                 Studies into wind farm and how it may affect local residents have been carried out by the UK government. In August 2007, the UK's most comprehensive study into the sound created by wind farms concluded that, despite arguments to the contrary, the incidence about noise is low. Acoustics researchers at Salford University investigated complaints of the noise created by aerodynamic modulation ( AM), a phenomenon sometime compared to the sound of a distant train. It was discovered that the number of complaints about noise from wind turbines is relatively insignificant compared with noise complaints about other sources. The study found that 239 formal noise complaints over a 15 year period ( an average of just 16 a year), for the whole of the UK were made in repect of wind turbines. This compares with the national average of 300,000 per single year for noise complaints on general.

              Based on the University's findings, the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform ( DBERR) considers this matter not to be an issue for the UK's wind farm fleet, nor does it consider that here is a compelling case for more work on AM at this time.


           The Salford University report followed another study concluded in 2006, also commissioned by the DTI (now DBERR), known as the Hayes Makenzie Report. This concluded that there was no evidence of health effects arising from low frequency noise or infrasound generated by wind turbines.


Wind power and Tourism... In August 2003, 20 GREENPEACE volunteers interviewed over 650 tourists about the proposed Scarweather offshore wind farm in Swansea Bay. The response was emphatic - 96% said that they would be "more likely" or "just as likely" to return for a beach holiday after the wind farm was built, only 4% were against.

In 2002 a MORI poll in the Argyll area of Scotland found that 80% of tourists said that they would be interested in visiting a wind farm if it were open to the public with a visitor centre, while 91% of respondents said they would not be put off from visiting an area because of the presence of wind farms.

Wind power and house prices... A report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Oxford Brookes University ( May 2007) found that no clear relationship between property prices and the proximity of wind farms.

Wind power and subsidies... Almost all energy systems receive subsidies in one form or another. Opponents of wind energy often complain of subsidies to wind but seem far less concerned about the larger subsidies handed out to fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the New Economics Foundation, "up in smoke" ( 2004), industrialised countries ( OECD) provided a subsidy of $73 bn a year to their fossil fuel industries in the 1990's, with a further $162bn subsidising fossil fuels in non-OCED countries. It is thought that by 2020, the wholesale cost of onshore wind will be less then that of coal and gas.

Wind power and popularity... A great deal of research has been taken into public attitudes towards wind power, and time and time again the vast majority have shown support For example, a Liverpool University Dissertation ( for Coal Clough, Lancashire 1996) showed 96% support and 4% against, the NWP open day ( for Trysglwyn, Wales 1996) also found 96% support and 4 % against and the DTI found that for Cemaes in Wales ( 1992/3) 86% in favour, 1% against and 13% had no opinion.

Wind power and efficiency...  Wind blows at variable speed, variable intensity and sometimes not at all. But this variability is not a problem for the national grid. Wind power is accurately forecast over the time frames relevant to the network operators and and other market participants. Increasing the proportion of wind power in the electricity system does not require greater backup capacity, as it is often believed. Many renewable energy sources ( including wind power) are small scale and so connect into low voltage distribution networks, this means that losses in the electricity network may be reduced.

Wind power and bird Kills... When taken in to context, the threat to birds from wind turbines is exceptionally low. At worst, avian mortality's per turbine per year is equivalent to 1 -2 birds, but is often much lower. By comparison, it is estimated that every year, more than 10 million birds are killed by cars alone in the UK. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill killed more than 500,000 birds. In the USA each year : 57 million birds die in collisions with vehicles, 1.25 million in collisions with tall structures, 97.5 million in collisions with plate glass and 100 million are killed by pet cats. 

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