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Resource Documents: Impacts (116 items)

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Also see NWW "costs/benefits" FAQ

Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.


Date added:  February 26, 2015
Health, New Zealand, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Statement of Evidence on behalf of Glenmark Community Against Wind Turbines

Author:  Shepherd, Daniel

I have been invited by Glenmark Community Against Wind Turbines, Inc to provide an evaluation of the impact of turbine noise on health and well-being. …

Relatively, wind turbines are a new source of community noise, and as such their effects on public health are only beginning to emerge in the literature. The recognition of a new disease, disorder, or threat to health usually follows a set pathway. First, doctors and practitioners attempt to fit symptoms into pre-defined diagnostic categories or to classify the complaints as psychosomatic. Second, as evidence accumulates, case studies begin to appear in the literature, and exploratory research is undertaken to obtain better descriptions of the symptoms/complaints. Third, intensive research is undertaken examining the distribution and prevalence of those reporting symptoms, the factors correlating with the distribution and prevalence of those symptoms, and ultimately to cause-and-effect explanations of why those reporting symptoms may be doing so.

In my reading of the literature the health effects of wind turbines are only beginning to be elucidated, and [are] caught somewhere between the first and second stages described above (Paragraph 1.8). The important point to note is that case studies (e.g., Harry, 2007; Pierpont, 2009) and correlational studies (e.g., Pedersen et al., 2007; van den berg, 2008; Shepherd et al., 2011) have already emerged in relation to the health effects of wind turbine noise, and so the possibility of detrimental health effects due to wind turbine noise must be taken with utmost seriousness.

Noise is a recognised environmental pollutant that degrades sleep, quality of life and general function (WHO, 1999, 2009; 2011). On the basis of data currently available in peer-reviewed scientific publications, it can only be concluded that industrial-scale wind energy generation, involving the saturation of an optimum number of wind turbines in a fixed area, is not without health impact for those residing in its proximity. Based on my experience of wind turbine noise, and my reading of the data available in the scientific literature, I recommend that all turbines displaced at least two kilometres (or more) from any dwelling be consented. …

30 April 2012

Download original document: “Statement of Evidence in Chief of Daniel Shepherd on behalf of Glenmark Community Against Wind Turbine”s

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Date added:  February 25, 2015
EnvironmentPrint storyE-mail story

Wind energy: Increasing deployment, rising environmental concerns

Author:  Tabassum-Abbasi; Premalatha, M.; Abbasi, Tasneem; and Abbasi, S.A.

Of all the renewable energy sources (RESs) ― except direct solar heat and light ― wind energy is believed to have the least adverse environmental impacts. It is also one of the RES which has become economically affordable much before several other RESs have. As a result, next to biomass (and excluding large hydro), wind energy is the RES being most extensively tapped by the world at present. Despite carrying the drawback of intermittency, wind energy has found favor due to its perceived twin virtues of relatively lesser production cost and environment-friendliness.

But with increasing use of turbines for harnessing wind energy, the adverse environmental impacts of this RES are increasingly coming to light. The present paper summarizes the current understanding of these impacts and assesses the challenges they are posing. One among the major hurdles has been the NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome due to which there is increasing emphasis on installing windfarms several kilometers offshore. But such moves have serious implications for marine life which is already under great stress due to impacts of overfishing, marine pollution, global warming, ozone hole and ocean acidification. Evidence is also emerging that the adverse impacts of wind power plants on wildlife, especially birds and bats, are likely to be much greater than is reflected in the hitherto reported figures of individuals killed per turbine. Likewise recent findings on the impact of noise and flicker generated by the wind turbines indicate that these can have traumatic impacts on individuals who have certain predispositions. But the greatest of emerging concerns is the likely impact of large wind farms on the weather, and possibly the climate. The prospects of wind energy are discussed in the backdrop of these and other rising environmental concerns.

Tabassum-Abbasi, M. Premalatha, Tasneem Abbasi, and S.A. Abbasi
Center for Pollution Control and Environmental Engineering, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 31 (2014) 270–288
doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.11.019

Download original document: “Wind energy: Increasing deployment, rising environmental concerns”

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Date added:  February 24, 2015
Environment, IowaPrint storyE-mail story

Satellite Observations of Wind Farm Impacts on Nocturnal Land Surface Temperature in Iowa

Author:  Harris, Ronald; Zhou, Liming; and Xia, Geng

Abstract: Wind farms (WFs) are believed to have an impact on lower boundary layer meteorology. A recent study examined satellite-measured land surface temperature data (LST) and found a local nighttime warming effect attributable to a group of four large WFs in Texas. This study furthers their work by investigating the impacts of five individual WFs in Iowa, where the land surface properties and climate conditions are different from those in Texas. Two methods are used to assess WF impacts: first, compare the spatial coupling between the LST changes (after turbine construction versus before) and the geographic layouts of the WFs; second, quantify the LST difference between the WFs and their immediate surroundings (non-WF areas). Each WF shows an irrefutable nighttime warming signal relative to the surrounding areas after their turbines were installed, and these warming signals are generally coupled with the geographic layouts of the wind turbines, especially in summer. This study provides further observational evidence that WFs can cause surface warming at nighttime, and that such a signal can be detected by satellite-based sensors.

Ronald A. Harris, Liming Zhou, and Geng Xia
Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, State University of New York, Albany, N.Y.

Remote Sensing 2014, 6, 12234-12246; doi:10.3390/rs61212234

Download original document: “Satellite Observations of Wind Farm Impacts on Nocturnal Land Surface Temperature in Iowa”

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Date added:  February 23, 2015
California, EnvironmentPrint storyE-mail story

Further evidence of impacts of large-scale wind farms on land surface temperature

Author:  Walsh-Thomas, Jenell M.; Cervone, Guido; Agouris, Peggy; and Manca, Germana

[Abstract] Large wind farms are power plants that generate clean energy from a renewable source. They are increasingly being installed and operated to replace and complement fossil fuel power plants in an effort to help reduce greenhouse and other pollutant emissions. Wind energy can have a positive economic impact and numerous locations on the planet are good candidates for wind energy production. Any direct environmental impact of large-scale wind farms needs to be investigated because it could impact agriculture, economics, health, society, and technology. A recent study showed that surface temperature is observed to increase directly downwind of large wind farms. This research, performed concurrently, shows that similar and complementary results are obtained for a different location, and using remotely sensed temperature data obtained from a different satellite, at higher resolution and for a longer time span. Satellite remote sensing observations from Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper are used to study temperature changes over the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm from 1984 to 2011, with a pixel resolution of 120 m. A warming trend is consistently observed downwind of the wind farm.

Jenell M. Walsh-Thomas, Guido Cervone, Peggy Agouris, Germana Manca
Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, Virginia

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume 16, Issue 8, October 2012, Pages 6432–6437
doi:10.1016/j.rser.2012.07.004

Download original document: “Further evidence of impacts of large-scale wind farms on land surface temperature”

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