In the past ten years the wind industry has attracted more than 143 billion dollars of private investment in the U.S., and is expected to expand to 35 percent of the grid by 2050. As a fastest-growing direction in the energy market, wind is being actively monitored by the industry leaders and skeptics from the environmental point of view aiming to uncover any hidden costs before they start investment.
It is assumed that expansion to the above mentioned 35 percent of the grid would help avoid over 12 billion metric tons of carbon pollution which equals a third of yearly carbon emissions.
Another evident advantage of wind farms is that only two percent of the wind farm land is taken by wind turbines and infrastructure leaving the remaining more than ninety percent of the land free for numerous other uses, including farming, recreational, habitat and other purposes.
Wind turbines in Europe enjoy sustainable wind flows implying constant energy generation, however the wind electricity prices are often regulated by European governments. In the US, wind productivity is lower than in Europe but wind energy costs are lower than in Europe. This is due to the yet-growing wind energy market in the US and brings to the idea that the sooner one starts their wind energy business the cheaper it would cost them and the more rewarding it would be in future.
On average, up to 30 percent of electricity in Europe is acquired from the wind, allowing the EU to dramatically decrease the pollution level by half per amount of electricity produced within the last decade. Wind productivity in Germany in 2012 could be compared to a third of all gas obtained by Germany from Russia that year, but at an exceptionally low emission rate.
Green energy is less dangerous and harmful to flora and fauna than fuel energy. Consequently, renewables have a lower impact on climate change.
Lower noise level, less intervention into nature result in much lower cases of bird deaths caused by obstruction with wind turbines, the percentage is assumed to be as low as 0.01 percent of all bird deaths due to humans. In the US, forecasts say that bird deaths shall be around 200,000 out of 5 billion bird deaths overall in the US, with buildings, power lines and cars causing 550 million, 130 million, and 80 million bird deaths correspondingly.
Despite the incredibly small hazard to the environment, wind turbines are paid much attention due to high initial investment required to develop a wind farm. Wind industry is being carefully examined to escape the risk of impact to wildlife. To help mitigate such risk wind farm owners often participate in wildlife rescue and reservation programs which get along well especially with renewable energy faсilities. What is more, wind farm owners are often true adepts of zero waste and lean consumption that add to their commitment to the use of wind energy.
Shadow flicker is named among feared inconveniences caused by wind turbines. Obviously, shadows pass fast and are not dangerous to habitants and nature. To make the shadow’s impact as low as possible a wind farm owner should consider the land plot location, sun angle, and habitat constructions nearby. Due to shadow predictability, wind turbines can be allocated in accordance with all habitants’ interests. The shadow falls for a few seconds or minutes depending on the size of a wind turbine. Small wind turbines drop shadow over a smaller land site due to their smaller height and thus have less flicker. Tall wind turbines may throw shadows for dozens of meters however this is often easily solved through placing them far away from rural areas.
WInd turbines are not prone to fire though owners construct them following all prescript safety recommendations. Practically, a very few incidents have been observed at few wind turbines out of hundreds of thousands of them globally.
Rotation speed control and temperature monitoring systems are mandatory for overheating prevention. Automated shutdown, lightning and arc-flash detection and other detecting systems are also present in wind turbines to ease their maintenance and control.
IoT sensors allow to analyze wind turbine’s ongoing and past conditions to better predict future maintenance and support. Likewise, they can indicate cases of interaction with wildlife making a wind farm owner adapt to or avoid such cases in future.
Wind turbines are often accused of bringing noise to a wide surrounding area. Numerous studies by the US wind energy analysts haven’t found proof of negative impact or physical health effects due to the noise. On average, you can talk at a normal voice level while standing just by the side of a wind turbine. Again, size can matter for those who seek zero noise – smaller wind turbines cause less noise, such as a wind turbine by TBHAWT, while big turbines may be louder however they are usually placed far away from homes meaning that barely any people would suffer the noise.
A number of studies in the US and Canada have concluded that they didn’t find “a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported illnesses.” Instead, sometimes people felt something called ‘nocebo’, an effect when a person may feel symptoms but in reality there might be no symptoms found at all. In other words, frustration and feeling bad ‘due to wind turbines’ is often a game of mind of an individual, rather than a really existing problem.
Due to no fuel required for electricity production, wind turbines are not harmful to humans as they are not related to air or water pollution. Wind energy is among the cleanest and cheapest sources of energy which helps fight global poverty and car emissions.
An average wind turbine causes emission in the first few months during its allocation and launch. After that period wind turbines have close to zero emission level, incomparably to fossil fuels.
It was found that each megawatt hour of wind power on the Western US power system reduced carbon emissions by 1190 pounds. Since wind is free of charge and appears more profitable in the long run compared to traditional electric grids, power plants thoroughly explore their wind opportunities to establish wind farms for main or reserve power supply.