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Resource Documents: General (100 items)

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Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here 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. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.


Renewables, land use, and local opposition in the United States

Author:  Gross, Samantha; and Brookings Institution

Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector is crucial to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. The American public overwhelmingly favors renewable power, and the costs of wind and solar power have declined rapidly in recent years. However, inherent attributes of wind and solar generation make conflicts over land use and project siting more likely. Power plants and transmission lines will be located in areas not accustomed to industrial development, potentially creating opposition.

Wind and solar generation require at least 10 times as much land per unit of power produced than coal- or natural gas-fired power plants, including land disturbed to produce and transport the fossil fuels. Additionally, wind and solar generation are located where the resource availability is best instead of where is most convenient for people and infrastructure, since their “fuel” can’t be transported like fossil fuels. Siting of wind facilities is especially challenging. Modern wind turbines are huge; most new turbines being installed in the United States today are the height of a 35-story building. Wind resources are best in open plains and on ridgetops, locations where the turbines can be seen for long distances.

Even though people like wind and solar power in the abstract, some object to large projects near their homes, especially if they don’t financially benefit from the project. Transmission for renewable power can also be unpopular, and even more difficult to site when the power is just passing through an area, rather than directly benefiting local residents. This is an issue today building transmission to move wind power from the Great Plains and Upper Midwest states to cities in the east.

Technological and policy solutions can lessen the land use impact of renewable power and the resulting public opposition. Offshore wind eliminates land use, but it raises opposition among those concerned with the impact on the environment and scenic views. Building on previously disturbed land and combining renewable power with other land uses, like agriculture or building solar on rooftops, can minimize land use conflicts. Community involvement in project planning and regulations for land use and zoning can help to alleviate concerns. Nevertheless, there is no perfect way to produce electricity on an industrial scale. Policymakers must recognize these challenges and face them head-on as the nation transitions to a lower-carbon energy system.

Download original document: “Renewables, land use, and local opposition in the United States

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Date added:  October 3, 2019
GeneralPrint storyE-mail story

Comparison of inaudible windfarm noise and the natural environment noise whilst monitoring brainwaves and heart rate

Author:  Cooper, Steven

ABSTRACT—
A pilot study undertaken in late 2017 using inaudible wind turbine noise and persons having a heightened sensitivity to turbine noise found the test subjects could detect the presence of the signal by way of feeling (rather than hearing) the signal. A control group that had not been exposed to wind turbine noise was unable to detect or sense the inaudible signal. A single case study as a precursor to a further pilot study utilised inaudible wind turbine noise, inaudible white noise, inaudible surf (ocean) noise and an inaudible ventilation fan, was undertaken in a 126 m³ reverberation room and also in a 313 hemi-anechoic room, whilst monitoring of the test subject’s heart rate and brainwaves was obtained. The results of that testing are discussed.

Steven Cooper, The Acoustic Group, Australia

Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress on Acoustics, 9–13 September 2019, Aachen, Germany: pages 928–934

Download original document: “A comparison of inaudible windfarm noise and the natural environment noise whilst monitoring brainwaves and heart rate

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Date added:  August 25, 2017
General, Impacts, New YorkPrint storyE-mail story

Report on Wind Turbines to the Town of Enfield

Author:  Enfield Wind Farm Advisory Committee

Contents:
Report on Wind Turbines and Noise
    Introduction
    What Is Noise and How Is It Measured?
    Complaints
        Wind Turbine Syndrome
        Vibroacoustic Disease
    What Peer-Reviewed Literature Says
    Conclusions and Recommendations
Wind Turbine Noise
    Summary
        Conclusions
        Mitigations
    Introduction
    Animal Studies
    Human Studies
    Conclusion
Ice and Blade Fragment Throw
    Introduction
    Setback Mitigation
    Other Mitigation Measures
    Summary
Fire, Lightning, Mechanical Failure, Flicker and Other Miscellaneous Issues
    Overview – Mechanical Failure, Fire, Lightning
    Array Loss/Bearing Failure
    Fire
    Lightning
    Foundation Failure/Turbine Collapse
    Flicker
    The Impact of Flicker on Horses
    Stray Voltage
    Lighting of Turbines
    Aeroelastic Flutter Stability
    Bibliography
Water Resources – Climate and Air Quality
    Summary
Geology, Soils & Topography
    Test Borings
    Changes to the Turbines
    Monitoring

Download original document: “Enfield Report on Wind Turbines

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Date added:  September 21, 2016
GeneralPrint storyE-mail story

Critical appraisal of the Biggar Economics research report ‘Wind farms and tourism trends in Scotland’

Executive summary of main points—

The reasons that Biggar Economics’ methodology is inappropriate are:

a. It focuses only on the correlation between wind farm construction and operation with employment trends – ignoring other major influences such as currency fluctuations or post 2007/8 recovery;

b. It uses a short and selective timeframe, ending in 2013 though official figures are available for 2014. If 2009 to 2014 had been used instead, stated employment growth across Scotland would have been much lower than the 2009-2013 figures, so it would not demonstrate a significant trend;

c. It includes spending by local and business people in hotels, restaurants and other sectors which is classed as ‘tourism-characteristic’ activities, though statistics professionals agree this ‘non-visitor’ spend will be at least 50% of the total;

d. It includes the large urban tourism sector in the all-Scotland figures when the contentious issue is impacts on nature and landscape tourism in rural and remote areas;

e. There is a circularity in including wind farm construction workers’ direct impacts on spending and employment multipliers (often cited by developers as a significant boost in its own right to local employment) as part of “tourism” figures;

f. Biggar Economics ignores the ONS caveats and methodological advice on small-scale studies (‘Measuring Tourism Locally’ Guidance Notes 1&2), especially the unreliability caused in small studies by using rounded ONS national survey figures inappropriately.

Douglas Wynn BSc (Soc) MSc (Econ)
An opinion for the John Muir Trust

Download original document: “Critical appraisal of the Biggar Economics research report ‘Wind farms and tourism trends in Scotland’

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