Demystifying Common Myths of Wind Power

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With all the hoopla going around for and against wind farms going up all over the US, including here on the Great Lakes and off of Nantucket Sound, I feel it is important to weigh in with a little fact checking on “not-in-my-backyard” (NIMBY) claims. After reading all the comments that are inevitably posted to every article involving the wind industry, I feel it is important to quash all the falsehoods associated with wind power.

I’ll start by saying that I am first and foremost pro-environment before anything else. If “evidence” is ever found during an environmental impact study that a wind farm will harm the local ecosystem, I will be the first in line to oppose it’s construction. Now let’s see some comments from these related links.

First let’s start with the argument that “wind turbines do not produce enough electricity to be a viable investment.” If this was true, then even with government subsidies, wind farm developers would go bankrupt soon. Instead wind farms are a 30 year success story in the US alone. My favorite success story is of farmers in Minnesota and their community owned wind crop.

“Wind turbines kill a lot of birds.” This is also not true. With new asynchronous turbine generator technology, wind turbines spin at about 12 rotations per minute. Birds have better eyesight than humans and we can see them just fine. A friend of mine who works on a wind farm in Oregon says he sees more birds fly into the window at the visitors center than he does into wind turbine blades. Other technologies are also being implemented to ensure the safety of birds such as radar devices that detect incoming bird flocks that shut down the turbines if they are on a collision course.

“Offshore wind turbines are an eyesore and will drive away tourism.” Why is it that a sailboat on the horizon is beautiful, but a wind turbine is not? Every time I drive by a wind farm with someone, both of us are breaking our necks to look at them, including people that are opponents to wind turbines. I think this is one of those things that will die off as the turbines go up. There is evidence in Europe that suggests wind turbines help with tourism and actually drive more revenue due to boat tours and other related tours. It was the same for the Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco and the Sears Tower in Chicago. People said it would be an eyesore and now they are landmarks of innovation in their respective cities. Change is something that is slow and difficult to embrace.

“Offshore wind farms will disrupt the underwater ecosystem.” A recent article in Field and Stream magazine mentioned that universities and coral reef restoration organizations agree that the best way to regrow coral reef is on concrete structures. Moreover, there are studies being done in fresh water lakes to see if there is any impact to the fishing industry or underwater ecosystems. So far no evidence.

“We need to stop letting foreign countries invest in our communities.” This one is simple, American investment firms… here is your wake up call. Start investing in our community owned wind projects and this issue is solved.

“Wind turbines are loud.” I live about 200 yards from a freeway and it is two times louder that an entire wind farm. Go visit a wind farm then tell me they are loud.

“Wind turbines will never replace fossil fuels.” No one actually believes we will replace fossil fuels with wind turbines in the foreseeable future. The addition of more wind turbines may prevent the need for additional fossil fuel power plants. Every kilowatt hour of clean electricity produced is CO2 that is not dumped into the air we breath. Each wind turbine is considered carbon neutral after approximately seven months of operation, offsetting its own carbon emissions from manufacturing, shipping, and construction. However, there have been studies (admittedly inconclusive by the researcher at MIT) that wind turbines may affect the climate by slowing down the wind and through the friction caused by the wind hitting the blades.

“Shadow flicker from turbine blades is known to cause headaches and other related illness.” This is occasionally raised as an issue by close neighbors of wind farm projects. A wind turbine’s moving blades can cast a moving shadow on a nearby residence, depending on the time of the year (which determines how low the sun is in the sky) and time of day. It is possible to calculate very precisely whether a flickering shadow will in fact fall on a given location near a wind farm, and how many hours in a year it will do so. Therefore, it should be easy to determine whether this is a potential problem.

Many of the common myths behind nimby arguments have been demystified above. While much of the information used was provided by wind technicians in the field, the American Wind Energy Association, and other renewable energy sites, those of you who may have updated information are encouraged to comment and add their reference.

photos: Jessica Hoffmann, alancleaver 2000

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24 Comments

  1. joelsk44039 on

    What about “dispatchability” of wind power? Because it can’t yet be predicted for “day in advance” service, utilities are reluctant to hold more than 12% to 15% of their capacity portfolios in wind assets. If it cannot be counted on for next day service, power must be purchased at “spot” rates, which are likely to be much, much more costly.

    What’s your response to this?

    • “Because it can’t yet be predicted for “day in advance” service”

      Actually the output of wind turbines can be predicted fairly accurately up to 48 hours in advance.

      So the standby-reserve is not equal to the windpower nominal capacity, but only equal to the uncertainty in the prediction.

  2. I would first like to thank you very much for first, taking the time to read this article. And second for providing a new discussion I had not yet heard someone bring up. With my education and friends in Coal burning power plants and in gas powered turbine technology, I can tell you that it costs the same to fire either one of them up at 3am on a Tuesday as it does to fire them up at 1pm on a Sunday or to increase it’s instant power production from say 100MW to 150MW. Therefore I cannot see why it would cost more if there is no wind on any given day. Power is also purchased from Wind Farms at prearranged price per kwh via PPA’s.

    Furthermore if it did cost more, and given the choice of paying more for clean air I can breath right from the atmosphere or pay less to breath out of an oxygen tank someday, I will pay more any day. Of course this last part is just my own personal opinion. Thank you again joelsk44039 for commenting.

  3. John Romano on

    Great posting Josh. Very concise and to the point. It is crucial to dispel all of these myths that somehow find their way into mainstream media, in order to move in the direction of a renewable energy future. Nobody claims that any one technology is the answer, but wind energy is definitely a significant part of the solution. Great work, keep at it!

  4. All in all, good concise rebuffs, Josh. Of course, none of these are simple enough to really do justice in a sentence or two; the area I know best is noise, and while I totally agree that noise is not a deal-killer for wind farms, “loud” is definitely a relative term. Just because you’re used to living 200 yards from a freeway doesn’t mean that rural residents will experience no impacts from a few dozen 100dB sound sources plopped into their landscape and soundscape. The issue is how much louder the turbines are than the existing soundscape; rural ambient is often 25dB or lower at night, when turbines can still kick in with upper-level winds. Even then, though, the existence of some noise doesn’t mean all wind development should stop; it just means we need to assess and deal with it realistically, not with denial.

    • We have nine turbines(part of a 90 turbine wind farm in north central Texas) on 1000 acres that we own and the noise is terrible. It’s not the “whooshing” of the blades as much as it is the continuous jet engine like roar and whine of the fans that keep the towers/generators cool. And these fans run even if the blades are not turning. It is a drastic change from the ambient quiet that we used to have. I also just read that a study indicates that the turbines cause warmer temperatures by keeping the air moving and reducing night time cooling. Not a good thing here in drought sticken, overheated Texas: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/44583

  5. Rob Mulligan on

    Have you ever heard of bats?

    Also, bat and bird deaths resulting from wind turbines should include the power lines that transmit that electricity. (This is the same situation for solar which should be on rooftops, diminishing power line and ecologically sensitive desert land use.) Furthermore, the full extent of build out of wind turbines hasn’t happened, so that amount in your graphic will go up. (Side note: Regarding buildings/windows, simply changing the reflectivity changes that statistic, but architects might not like having their choices diminished, meaning it’s an unnecessary number of deaths; humans walk into glass doors quite often).

    I’ve been working on a photographic bat essay for the last 2 years, and based on potential new design technology, as well as better management of turbines (down time during low winds), the numbers of deaths can be drastically reduced. I’m not opposed to wind energy, but in its current iteration where the total outlay could be much larger, I feel we should take the time to find an “optimal” solution now.

    Overall, I do agree with your position on the “myths”, but bird AND BAT deaths caused by turbines and their power lines are a serious concern that will only get worse as we continue done the road towards greater wind energy utilization.

    Btw, I couldn’t find the source for your graphic on bird deaths. Did I miss something?

    Rob

  6. @ Rob Mulligan-

    Here is a link to some statistics from the American Bird Conservatory. Pretty reputable source for birds I’d say.

    http://www.abcbirds.org/conservationissues/threats/energyproduction/wind.html

    Even the larger estimates of 7 birds per year per turbine are very low. That is an average per turbine, so this is not likely to increase with more wind development, but I do agree with you that it will cause more bird deaths. Although wind turbines are not as big of a problem as natural habitat destruction, but somehow wind turbine bird deaths get more heat than unsustainable suburbanization, year after year.

    And including power line deaths is a bit unfair to the wind power movement. Power lines were here long before wind turbines were even invented. I agree that there should be regulation guidelines (and there already are in many ways) as to where wind farms can be developed in relation to endangered bird habitats. However, I don’t think that wind farms have, or will ever have, a massive impact on conservation issues with birds or bats. The rate of natural habitat destruction has a much greater impact on birds and bats than wind farms.

  7. Thank you all for reading and for the words of encouragement. Rob, yes I have heard of Bats and thank you for including your take on it. I do disagree a little with the power line issue along with John though, As Wind Farms are generally placed close to where transmission lines already exist. I am one of the few that could also do without electricity in mass production, having said that, and since the general public does not agree with me I would like to ask if you would prefer your electricity to come from a polluting fossil fuel source as opposed to a clean energy source? Which one do you think causes more harm in the long run? Also do you feel as an expert in Bats that there is some sort of device that could be used to deter Bats (as I am a fan also) from flying near the Turbines? Thanks again everyone and keep up the dialog, this is how we will solve these issues.

    Also, my reference for the graph was here

    And Jim you are correct, it is an issue of perception. I do however know someone in Suttons Bay MI near a Wind Farm (very quiet area) and he does say it gets a little noisy during high wind storms. But he says it is no worse than having his fan on at night to put him to sleep. Still depends on the person I guess.

    • Rob Mulligan on

      Josh, thank you for the link. I’m inclined to imagine that in some way solar will at least be one major player in the future. I’m also of the persuasion that dwellings should be used for as many purposes as possible; of course, that would be at odds with private property ownership. Seeing that cost and efficiency, though a low enough cost can justify the necessary evil of greater surface coverage, is the major deterrent to moving straight to solar, and with technology dollars moving towards it rapidly, I can’t imagine why we won’t consider solutions based on pragmatic, and not ideological or political, arguments, arguments based on the greater good.

      If you want solar, you need to do your one act for the cause. Look at volunteer recycling, not until cities started mandating recycling of everyone’s solid waste, and hazardous waste, does it actually work for everyone. The solution is what works without destroying things that we depend on for our quality of life and that we have to learn the hard way to discover. Taking care of our environment using our collective knowhow is the healthy choice in the long run, but it means applying our skills to all aspects of new energy. And, we need to act with due diligence since we now understand there could be and most likely will be dire consequences for our past actions. Something humanity has always known, often times in 20/20 hindsight, but rarely acted on.

      “I am one of the few that could also do without electricity in mass production,” meaning no power lines due to no central power sources then I really am not sure how that actually works as a sole source of energy. I’m not against it because there could and mostly likely would be great merit. I think local energy is great, but I don’t think it will work for the many geographically diverse areas of our country or the world. Its sounds too much like marketplace thinking where faith in the concept (against mass produced energy) is the underlying argument for explaining how solutions are attained. I think every bit counts while maintaining a general clarity to least impact the environment, leaning on, drum roll, the government to continue supporting technology development that society needs, not necessarily what corporations want. Private sector can do whatever it can, but it’s usually driven by the most powerful players seeking profit stymying new paradigm thinking. And the biggest mover is the government, and it’s OUR tool to get things moving when the marketplace magic fails us.

      I want to see every roof require solar in some form (at least in the sunny states). Homes today have an existence that’s so heavily socially supported. What I mean is that they get socialized police, fire, rescue, gas, electric, water, waste, roads… and it’s not a bad thing. America, though tarnished now, had, and still to some extent has, the best regulated utilities on the planet, primarily because we learned to keep things transparent. 100 years in the making and none too late. Not everything needs to be based on a single ideological solution. Those ideologies are human-made, so I don’t think we should get too attached to them. Solar would offset this efficient socialized aspect of our local government and give each dwelling owner their own source of electricity and some back to the grid. For now, a good start would be to NOT put solar in the desert, and mandate it to be on each person’s home or other dwelling that uses electricity. We can still have some limited centralized power, but we would be able to cut back considerably with local electricity generation by solar. So the answer for me is both ways.

      Regarding the power lines being unfairly attributed to wind power, I say that before wind power, deaths were attributed to other electricity sources IF the power lines were already there. If wind energy now also takes advantage of it, they too are responsible as a percentage of use. It’s the source of the use that qualifies it for accountability because use justifies its continued presence. Also, new power lines are being built for centralized solar and wind, and wind sources are not randomly selected. Birds and bats will continue to die because those specially selected sites need transmission lines to reach other lines. It all amounts to something.

      Another important point is the effect global climate change could have on wind patterns. It brings to mind the image of suburbs built in such ridiculous locations that the neighborhood died and everyone left. Imagine wind patterns changing and then seeing a bunch of propellers sitting idle. Solar is less impacted, and with increased efficiency gains replacing aging panels, would remain viable longer as weather patterns change.

      Our government should be required to use its might to work out the best solutions for each geographic area where energy can be produced as locally as possible. And how to make government to act? Media…

  8. Josh:

    This article was very information, but you may have left out a little bit about the transformers associated with these wind farms as well.

    Being in the environmental clean up business, I know that many of the current wind farms utilize transformer oils made of vegetable materials. Now this is not the perfectly environmentally clean release when one of the transformers explodes, leaks, or catches fire, (which happens on occassion to any transformer) but vegetable oils are much more environmentally friendly than say mineral oil which was previously used, or pcb containing oils that are still in many of the pole mounted transformers throughout all of our neighborhoods.

    Because wind farms are generating a more eco-friendly form of electricity, the people that work there are generally more eco-pro in their mindsets. This gets passed on to the people they work with and their families.

    As for the bats being killed in the power lines, as a growing population we will see more powerlines draped around the surrounding countryside regardless of the electricity source. Most of the power lines that run to the indiviual towers here in the midwest are underground. I do believe it may be necessary to explore this topic a little more to see if we can do someting to help these bats. I would hate to see the insect population rise and disrupt my families vacation to see the wind towers.

    Josh, please do not forget about all the old timey pictures of the windmills in Holland. These windmills are landmarks today. I still remember the first time I saw the neighbor in the country use wind to pump water out to his cattle in the pasture. It was super cool.

    Thanks guys,

    Aaron Kinkelaar

    Environmental Project Manager

    Bodine Services of Peoria, LLC

  9. Jill Carpenter on

    I find your omission of bats from this article to be somewhat alarming. The number of birds killed by wind turbines pales in comparison to the numbers of bats killed. In addition, bats are not only killed by blade collisions, but by a phenomenon known as barotrauma which causes lung hemorrhaging due to air pressure differences generated by the turbine blades. Migratory species in particular are being decimated. Due to low carcass recovery rates due to scavenging and difficulty in detection, the statistics for bat fatalities are likely highly underrepresented. Options are currently being studied and tested that would either deter bats from entering that airspace (lovely how we make the animals move out of our way at their energetic expense), or would involve curtailing turbines at low wind speeds (shown to decrease mortality by 56 to 92 percent!) when little energy would be produced anyway (http://www.batsandwind.org/pdf/Curtailment_2008_Final_Report.pdf ).

    Cumulative effects of wildlife deaths from all causes lead to overall decline. It’s a simple case of math. Also, I find the assertion appalling that since so many more birds are killed by collisions with buildings and cars we should dismiss fatalities at wind turbines as irrelevant. That’s like saying since so few children are killed in the U.S. by drowning and accidental poisoning compared to those killed in automobile accidents, we shouldn’t bother looking for ways to minimize deaths by covering our pools and locking up chemicals. If it is possible to minimize deaths to wildlife through refinements in technology, it should be done rather than excused away or by trying to divert attention by pointing to something else (although I do believe we also need to address these other causes, such as by changing building materials, as rob mulligan pointed out).

    In addition, while purporting to dispute myths, this article ends up perpetuating one: rotations per minute. The argument/myth is that something moving at 12 rpm is slow enough to see and evade. The truth is that since many of these turbine blades are 40-90 meters long, the tips of the blades can be moving in excess of 100 miles per hour! Not very easy to avoid after all! And direct wildlife mortality aside, installation of wind farms involves loss of habitat due to access road construction and turbine construction, and installation of vast networks of high-voltage transmission lines (which, incidentally, directly kill many birds) with the purpose of carrying this energy to the people that need it. The cumulative effect of all the turbines and tower construction is actually pretty significant… and its shiny green luster suddenly appears a bit duller.

    There is no simple black-and-white statement to be made here about wind energy being “good” or “bad,” nor is it fair or accurate to state the issue as “we must use wind energy or use fossil fuels.” I don’t think there is a single magic pill, a simple panacea for our energy ills, as wind energy is sometimes portrayed. Sustainable energy is about looking at the big picture, and technologies should be developed in a way that addresses all potential impacts, and that integrates other “green” energy technologies (such as rooftop-solar, which doesn’t involve the devastating loss of habitat that proposed “solar farms” would cause) where regionally applicable. When faced with a problem, such as bat and bird kills associated with wind turbines, adjust the technology (for example, using safer and more efficient vertical-shaft turbine designs) rather than make justifications for doing nothing.

    This is very important: I’m not saying we shouldn’t pursue wind energy due to these issues, I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t blindly pursue it as it is currently being implemented. We should be open to all options and possibilities available, as well as responsible and cognizant of the ramifications of our actions as citizens of this earth.

  10. Josh, we have produced our own electricity for 8 years with wind and solar. This is what we have learned. Solar panels are a better deal than wind generators because the sun is so predictable and there are no moving parts. Solar panel efficiency is improving and cost of production is declining. Grid parity in sunny locations is coming. San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to place solar panels on roofs of large buildings. They found out the same thing we did – micro generation with solar right at the load center works.

    The Altamont Pass wind farm in California is perhaps the best studied wind farm for bird mortalities, and it is a known killer of raptors. Since 1987, this wind farm has been killing 50 to 100 golden eagles per year. Although raptors have excellent eyesight, their vision is focused on prey on the ground, and not where they are flying. The large wind generators that I have observed seem to turn at about 20 rpm. Blade tips are proably moving around 200 mph – too fast for birds to respond. Massive wind farms significantly alter wildlife habitat. You can expect some prairie birds such as mountain plovers to vacate areas with tall structures. All the roads to each wind generator and the cleared area around the tower base are unmitigated environmental impacts. Wind farms will result in hundreds of miles of collector lines, and hundreds of miles of high voltage transmission lines to carry the electricity to distant load centers. Power lines kill birds. Wind farms do not reduce the need for grid capacity with traditional power generation, nor do they increase grid reliability.

    Massive wind farms far from load centers are really a bad idea. Photovotaics right where the electricity is used works so much better with minimal environmental impacts. The best thing about solar panels is anyone can do it. Every house has a south side. The first day that the sun shines on your solar panels you are in business generating electricity.

  11. Hey Rob thanks again, And what I meant by that was I could make do at my home with renewables. Between Geothermal, Solar, and a homemade wind turbine (so easy to make) I could recharge a laptop and light some LED’s for reading, the rest are just modern “conveniences” that consumer products producers have put in our minds that we need to survive.

    Aaron, I agree, they are super cool.

    Jill, please don’t be too alarmed as the article was intended to debunk “myths” and since I have seen no myths that bats are not killed (at least not in my research) there was no myth to squash. I do however thank you for educating me on more data that I was otherwise ignorant on. I would like to speak with you further on this at some point and see if there would be some better ways to prevent unnecessary bat deaths. As I said i am a fan of their work.

    Craig, you took words right out of my mouth… Solar is getting better and dropping in cost. I am also trying to get into the microfinance/Solar world in developing countries so please understand I am all about Solar also. And as far as the Golden Eagle situation, as stated in my article, if they are killing Golden Eagles, just tell me where to sign the petition to take those turbines down and move them.

  12. anyone else find it overly hypocritical that the anti-wind bat supporters never come out in such force against, say coal? coal emits pollutants at rates that disrupt natural habitat many times over that of a wind turbine.

    also, regarding the MIT wind study and slowing down the wind – wouldn’t a skyscraper, which presents several times the surface area of several wind turbines, have the exact same effect?

    • Rob Mulligan on

      “Anti-wind bat supporters?” If that’s not a term to polarize people than I don’t know what is. I don’t think peeps here are anti-wind, just more aware of what wind energy does in it’s current iteration. I’m for wind. Period.

      Regarding coal? It’s time to let that technology out to pasture.

      • I agree, no one has made any anti wind statements really. Just education on the weak spots and where we can make improvements to clean/environmentally sound energy. If we are decimating bat populations then Wind is not doing everything it can to prevent this issue. We can and will overcome it with education and implementing better ways of placing Wind Farms and deterrents for bats. We are still learning, remember that and without people like Jill and Rob we will never fix our shortfalls… hats off to both of you.

  13. dawn hottenroth on

    It should be also be made clear that there are really two types of wind systems- large “farms” placed routinely along ridgetops and more urban systems placed on buildings. A variety of your “myths” are not too mythlike for the more urban systems.

    There is an extremely limited amount of research on urban wind systems. A variety of studies produced out of the UK (best is Warwick Winds Trails Project, Encraft 2009) do hold up the “does not generate enough electricity to pay for itself” and the “noise” myths. The Warwick study even shows that some systems were shut down for noise and vibration harassment reasons (mind you these were older 3 blade type systems). Vibration is another issue you missed which can be especially challenging for building mounted wind. Another big issue is acutally being able to generate the estimated 5.5 m/s wind to make systems financially feasible. For urban based systems where buildings are surrounded by trees or other buildings – that wind speed may be really tough to find. I would hate to see trees removed (which have their own energy and additional habitat and water quality benefits)to create space for wind.

    I would love to see a follow up article about balancing alternative energy needs – i.e do we take out trees for wind or solar access? I have heard testimony from a local green building designer about a concern of “green washing” alternative energy systems – i.e. ignoring negative impacts in the name of alternative energy.

    You might also check out the May 2007 Congressional testimony to the Committee on Natural Resources on wind systems by a panel of experts:

    * Mike Daulton, National Audubon Society

    * Eric Glitzenstein, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal (a pubic interest law firm)

    * Donald Michael Fry, PhD, American Bird Conservancy

    * Edward Arnett, Bat Conservation international

  14. Well Dawn, actually I did state that I was speaking specifically about Wind Farms in my first sentence actually. “With all the hoopla going around for and against wind farms.” I just assumed that most people understand the difference between a small wind turbine on a house and a 300′ megastructure. And as a disclaimer, for them to be economically feasible I am referring to Wind Farms that have been professionally microsited and had a wind resource assessment done to ensure it will produce. If they have not then they get what they deserve I guess.

    Mike, thank you very much, I appreciate it sir! And the Dragonfly looks promising in eliminating environmental impacts, and it uses Bernoulli’s principle, very cool! It definitely reminds me of a Gas turbine design, using wind instead of gas.

  15. Pingback: Being Green – Green Building and Health « M&M's Musings

  16. I know this is an old post but I found my way into it by following a few links in the ENN (Environmental News Network) site. I have a couple of comments. Yeah, wind turbines are noisy. A wind farm with 44 Siemens SWT-2.3-108 turbines was built in a neighboring town and I drive through the area often. Those have 80m towers and rotors 108m in diameter. Those turbines are quite noisy when going above 10 RPM (max speed of 16 RPM for these turbines) and generate a constant jet-engine like noise if you are facing the rotor from the front or the rear and a very noticeable thump or whoosh when seen on edge. I don’t live close enough to hear them at night so I can’t tell how neighbors are coping with the noise at night. Also, those blade tips are moving at about 200 mph when going at 16 RPM.

    Another factor that is either neglected or just simply ignored is the power that the turbines themselves consume. Those things are using power even when not operating with all the computers, cooling systems, heating systems (in cold weather locations), yaw mechanism, pitch control mechanism, obstruction lights and other components that are either running 24/7 or must be on stand-by when the wind turbine is started or wind picks up. I can get about 400 feet from one of the turbines in the wind farm nearby and there is a constant whining coming from the nacelle (rotor spinning or not) and also the normal hum of the transformer at the base. How much power do the turbines themselves consume and who pays the bill when they are not operating due to maintenance or low wind periods?

  17. Yes, electronics consume/use some power. A full size 100-180m turbine , like the turbine listed uses around 50kwh. Negligible compared to its production of around 300 – 3mwh. ALL power forms use power.

    The point is renewables do not destroy resources unlike fossil fuel plants.

    Coal power typically keep spinning in reserve when demand is low as it takes two days to warm back up, nuclear plants needs Constant grid cooling in the many Megawatts when refueling , maintenance , grid problems , problems and years of decommissioning (120years for ex fast breeders). Sizewell nuclear uses between 9- 39mwh to keep cool per day, wylfa on the Welsh coast is using 9mw as I type http://www.magnoxsites.co.uk/about-us/electricity-generation

    No power station is perfect but wind has the lowest impact on the environment that is why I welcome it.

    I live around 1000m from 5 similar sized turbines and have never heard them. The point is in the US and UK sound levels do not exceed background levels not that they are silent ,it just perspective needs to be kept. In the UK local authorities receive 250,000 noise complaints per year but only 16 from our 3,000+ wind farms (all resolved ).http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file40570.pdf

    In all ,your debunk myths article is very informative and well balanced, thank you.

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