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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.

Date added:  March 3, 2023
Environment, MassachusettsPrint storyE-mail story

Oils, Fuels, Gases and Lubricants

Author:  Sunrise Wind

Table 3.3.1-2. Summary of Maximum Potential Volumes, Oils, Fuels, Gas and Lubricants for the Onshore Converter Station

Onshore Converter Station Equipment/System Oil/Fuel/Gas Type Total Oil/Fuel/Gas Volume
(2) High-Voltage Shunt Reactor (fixed) Mineral Oil Dielectric Fluid 26,640 gallons (gal) (100,844 liters [L])
(2) High-Voltage Shunt Reactor (variable) Mineral Oil Dielectric Fluid 37,000 gal (140,060 L)
(4) 345/275-kV Grid Transformers Mineral Oil Dielectric Fluid 37,693 gal (107,014 L)
Gas-Insulated Switchgear Bay Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF₆) 3,500 lbs

Table 3.3.6-2. Summary of Maximum Potential Volumes Oils, Fuels, Gases and Lubricants for Offshore Converter Station

Equipment Oil/Fuel/Gas Type Oil/Fuel/Gas Volume
Transformers and Reactors Transformer Oil 105,700 gal (400,000 L)
Generator fuel tank Diesel Fuel 24,304 gal (92,000 L)
Medium and High-Voltage Gas-Insulated Switchgears Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF₆) 3,960 lbs (1,796 kg)
Crane Hydraulic Oil 528 gal (2,000 L)

Crane* Grease TBD
Rotating Equipment* Lube Oil TBD
Auxiliary Diesel Generator Lube Oil 53 gal (200 L)
Seawater Lift Pumps Lube Oil 119 gal (450 L)
Auxiliary Inert Gas System High-Pressure Nitrogen 52,834 gal (200,000 L), at 300 bar
Auxiliary Diesel Generator Fire Suppression System* Inert Gas TBD
Auxiliary Transformers Synthetic Ester Oil 3,170 gal (12,000 L)
Chiller units Refrigerant HFO1234ze(E) 40 gal (150 L)
Compressed Air Foam System* Foam Concentrate TBD
Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery* Battery Acid TBD
Cooling Medium System Glycol/Water Mix 7,925 gal (30,000 L)
Chilled Water Medium System Glycol/Water Mix 5,283 gal (20,000 L)
*The volumes listed as “TBD” are pending further engineering and will be provided when the design is further progressed.

Table 3.3.8-2. Summary of Maximum Potential Volumes Oils, Fuels, Gases and Lubricants per wind turbine generator

System/Component Oil/Fuel/Gas Type Oil/Fuel/Gas Volume
WTG Bearings and Yaw Pinions Grease* 132 gal (500 L)
Hydraulic Pumping Unit, Hydraulic Pitch Actuators, Hydraulic Pitch Accumulators Hydraulic Oil 159 gal (600 L)
Yaw Drives Gearbox Gear Oil 79 gal (300 L)
Blades and Generator Accumulators Nitrogen 104 cubic yd (80 m³)
High-Voltage Transformer Transformer Silicon/Ester Oil 1,850 gal (7,000 L)
Emergency Generator† Diesel Fuel 793 gal (3,000 L)
Tower Damper and Cooling System Glycol/Coolants 3,434 gal (13,000 L)

*Approximately 26 gal to 40 gal (100 L to 150 L) per large bearing.
†Emergency generator is not housed on the WTG but would be brought to the WTG during commissioning or in an emergency power outage.

Submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
August 19, 2022

Download original document: “Sunrise Wind Farm Project: Construction and Operations Plan

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Date added:  March 3, 2023
Environment, New JerseyPrint storyE-mail story

Construction & Operations Plan: oils, fluids, and lubricants

Author:  Ocean Wind

8. Waste Management and Chemicals
8.1. Chemicals

Table 8.1-1. Summary of maximum potential volumes oils, fuels, and lubricants per wind turbine generator.

System/Component Oil/Fuel Type Oil/Fuel Volume
Bearings and Yaw Pinions Grease* 187 gallons
Hydraulic Pumping Unit, Hydraulic Pitch Actuators, Hydraulic Pitch Accumulators Hydraulic Oil 40 gallons
Drive Train Gearbox (if applicable), Yaw Drives Gearbox Gear Oil 106 gallons
Transformer Dielectric Fluid 1,585 gallons
Emergency Generator Diesel Fuel 793 gallons
Switchgear Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF₆) 243 lbs
Transformer and Converter Cooling System Propylene Glycol 357 gallons
Converter Primary Cooling Ethylene Glycol 48 gallons

*Approximately 26 gal to 40 gal (100 L to 150 L) per large bearing.

Table 8.1-2. Summary of maximum volumes oils, fuels, and lubricants per offshore substation.

Equipment Oil/Fuel Type Oil/Fuel Volume
Transformers and Reactors Transformer oil 79,252 gallons
Generators Diesel Fuel 52,834 gallons
High-Voltage & Medium-Voltage Gas-Insulated Switchgear Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF₆) 4,950 lbs
Crane Hydraulic Oil 317 gallons

Table 8.1-3. Summary of maximum volumes oils, fuels, and lubricants per onshore substation.

Parameter Oil/Fuel Volume
Transformer oil substation 38,170 gallons
Fixed shunt reactor 1 oil 15,500 gallons
Fixed shunt reactor 2 oil 7,350 gallons
Variable shunt reactor oil 18,300 gallons
SF₆ substation 6,603 lbs
Batteries (lead acid gel) 4,034 lbs

Submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
June 14, 2022

Download original document: “Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Farm: Construction & Operations Plan, Volume I

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Date added:  February 26, 2023
WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Wind Energy’s Impact on Birds, Bats, and Insects

Author:  McPherrin, Jack

Impact on Birds and Bats

Substantial research has been conducted that links wind turbines to avian fatalities. The majority of birds that are impacted by wind turbines are birds of prey. Wind turbines create wind vortexes that draw in birds and cause fatal collisions with the turbine blades. Birds of prey and wind developers are both drawn to the same sites—hills, ridges, and other elevated areas—where stronger currents provide more stable power for wind turbines, while also providing a greater lift for soaring birds. In fact, as the Department of Energy explained in a 1997 budget request, “wind farms have been documented to act as both bait and executioner—rodents taking shelter at the base of turbines multiply with the protection from raptors [another word for birds of prey], while in turn their greater numbers attract more raptors to the farm.”

For a more concrete real world example, researchers in India found approximately four times fewer buzzards, hawks, kites, and other large birds in areas with wind farms. Moreover, the loss of the ecosystem’s primary predators has had a ripple effect on the food chain, with many small animal populations growing unchecked. In the United States, the expansion of wind turbines could result in the extinction of the golden eagle. Generally speaking, wind energy threatens large birds such as eagles, owls, hawks, kestrels, kites, and falcons disproportionately to their smaller cousins. This is especially concerning because these larger birds are of higher conservation value and because they do not reproduce at a high rate.

Bats, too, are heavily affected by wind turbines. Bats die from sudden drops in air pressure, as their lungs cannot accommodate for the change in pressure caused by the turbine-induced wind vortex. Though bats are typically able to detect man-made structures and avoid them by using echolocation, turbine blades are undetectable due to the pressure drops. As such, wind turbines kill bats in two ways: turbine blades directly collide with bats, and wind vortexes cause bats lungs to collapse.

The Institute for Energy Research contends that “wind turbines are the single greatest human threat to migratory bats, which live in different habitats during summer and winter months.” Scientists warned in 2017 that the hoary bat could become extinct if wind farm expansion continues. U.S. Geological Survey research biologist Paul Cryan emphasized in a 2011 article published in Environmental Law, “Wind energy facilities kill a significant number of bats far exceeding any documented natural or human-caused sources of mortality in the affected species…There are no other well-documented threats to populations of migratory tree bats that cause mortality of similar magnitude to that observed at wind turbines.”

Overall, multiple academic studies have found that wind energy generation in the United States alone was estimated to have killed between 600,000 to 888,000 bats, 214,000 to 368,000 small birds, and between 234,000 to 573,000 birds of all sizes in 2012. And, since wind energy production has more than doubled in the past decade, these numbers are likely twice as high today.

Impact on Insects

Until very recently, little research had been conducted on the impact of wind turbines upon the insect population, though this issue is starting to gain more attention. Insects are vital to the planet for many reasons, not the least of which is their importance to food production. At least 75 percent of global food crop types depend on insect pollinators, including 70 of the 100 most important human food crops.

One global assessment suggests that land-based insect abundance has declined by 9 percent per decade since the 1960s, for an overall decline of 43 percent. Another study estimates that approximately 10 percent of all insect species are critically endangered. Bees are particularly at risk; more than 100 wild bee species are at various levels of endangerment, which is especially frightening when considering honeybees alone carry out 80 percent of overall U.S. crop pollination. Moreover, insects are a vital source of food for many animal populations; with less insects available to eat, there would almost certainly be cascading effects upon animal populations and the ecosystem’s food chain.

Ironically, the same environmental groups bemoaning the rapidly declining insect population are typically the same groups championing the use of green energy, such as wind turbines. And, recent studies have proven that wind turbines have a direct causal effect upon insect death. One study conducted by the German Aerospace Center estimated that 1,200 tons of insect biomass are lost annually to collisions with Germany’s 30,000 onshore wind turbines. As another academic article explains, “Assuming an average wet mass of 1 mg for an insect… this equates to about 1.2 trillion insects killed per year for all onshore wind turbines in Germany, or 40 million insects killed annually be a single wind turbine in Germany.”

There are approximately 70,000 wind turbines in the United States as of 2022. As of 2016, there were 341,000 on the planet, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. Assuming that each wind turbine on the planet averages 40 million insect deaths annually, as in Germany, this would equate to approximately 2,800,000,000,000 (2.8 quadrillion) annual insect deaths attributable to wind turbines in the United States alone. As for the planet, this would equate to 13,640,000,000,000 (13.64 quadrillion) insect deaths attributable to wind turbines per year. And, the latter number is based upon 2016’s global wind turbine count, which has almost certainly significantly increased in the past six years.

The vast amount of avian and insect deaths at the hands of wind turbines is disastrous in and of itself, from a conservation and ecological standpoint. Equally concerning, however, is the serious downstream effect upon crop production and the global food supply, especially at a time when farmers and agricultural producers are suffering from stringent environmental, social, and governance (ESG) score mandates. The most direct link between wind turbines and declining food production is the aforementioned reduction in pollinator insects, which will lead to less crop yields. A secondary link is that the declining insect populations will reduce the food available for other animals, many of which are relied upon for food as well. For example, birds that run out of insects to eat have begun to turn on each other, and eat one another to survive. Many land-based animals will suffer from population decline as well, even if they do not rely on insects for food. Many animals rely upon flora that needs to be pollinated by insects to grow; without pollinators, these animals will suffer.

Overall, ecosystems are incredibly complex, but insects have always provided the basis of the food chain. Without them, everything collapses. While it is difficult to quantify the precise degree to which wind turbines will affect the global food supply in the future, one thing is certain: wind turbines undoubtedly cause massive avian and insect deaths on a yearly basis.

By Jack McPherrin
Published November 15, 2022, The Heartland Institute

Further Reading:

Christian Voigt, “Insect fatalities at wind turbines as biodiversity sinks,” Conservation Science and Practice, Vol. 3, Issue 5, //docs.wind-watch.org/Voigt-Insect-fatalities-at-wind-turbines.pdf

Franz Trieb, “Interference of flying insects and wind parks,” German Aerospace Center Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, October 2018, //docs.wind-watch.org/Interference-of-Flying-Insects-and-Wind-Parks.pdf

Institute for Energy Research, “Wind turbines against nature,” July 19, 2019, https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/wind/wind-turbines-against-nature/

K. Shawn Smallwood and Douglas Bell, “Effects of wind turbine curtailment on bird and bat fatalities,” Wildlife Management, Vol. 84, Issue 4, https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.21844

Maria Thaker et al., “Wind farms have cascading impacts on ecosystems across trophic levels,” Nature Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 2, December 2018, //docs.wind-watch.org/Thaker-India-raptors-lizards.pdf

Michael Shellenberger, “Why Wind turbines threaten endangered species with extinction,” Forbes, June 26, 2019, https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2019/06/27/why-climate-activists-threaten-endangered-species-with-extinction/

Paul Cryan, “Wind turbines as landscape impediments to the migratory connectivity of bats,” Environmental Law, 2011, //docs.wind-watch.org/cryan-wind-turbines-migratory-bats.pdf

Simon Potts et al., “Safeguarding pollinators and their values to human well-being,” Nature, December 2016, https://www.nature.com/articles/nature20588

Virginia Farm Bureau, “We would go hungry without our busy honeybees,” accessed December 1, 2022, https://www.vafb.com/membershipwork/news-resources/honeybees

W. F. Frick et al., “Fatalities at wind turbines may threaten population viability of a migratory bat,” Biological Conservation, Vol. 209, May 2017, //docs.wind-watch.org/frick2017.pdf

Wind Energy’s Impact on Birds, Bats, and Insects

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Date added:  February 11, 2023
Noise, Regulations, U.K.Print storyE-mail story

Review of noise guidance for onshore wind turbines: report for UK government

Author:  WSP

This study aimed to answer the question: in view of government policies on noise and commitments to Net Zero, should the existing ETSU-R-97 noise assessment guidance for wind turbines be updated, and if so, how?

Onshore wind is recognised as one of the lowest-cost sources of renewable electricity generation. A sustained growth in capacity is also seen as a keen enabler of the UK government’s commitment to deliver a net zero economy by 2050.

Using our expertise in acoustics, planning and environmental assessments for renewables, we delivered this study on behalf of the UK government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to review the UK onshore commercial wind turbine noise assessment guidance (a document known as ETSU-R-97).

Since the ETSU-R-97 guidance was published in 1996, the context has changed:

Our report recommends key areas of the guidance that would benefit from being updated, and provides recommendations for further evidence needed to support updates identified. These include revisiting the framework of noise limits, and establishing new guidance to support assessment and control of the potential impact of AM.

Our recommendations will help to ensure that guidance for local planning authorities, developers and operators is the most relevant and up-to-date possible, supporting robust planning and assessment processes for managing the potential impacts of noise from wind turbines, which in turn will contribute to sustainable delivery of onshore wind energy.

How did we approach the study?

WSP’s acoustics team worked closely with a steering group including BEIS, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive.

The study comprised three workstreams:

The evidence review employed two stages of systematic literature search and screening of a wide range of publications identified from peer-reviewed literature databases, scientific conferences, official reports, guidelines and standards. In total, 132 publications were reviewed for evidence relevant to the research.

The stakeholder engagement survey included a questionnaire, and focus interviews with identified key stakeholders. In total 32 organisations responded to the questionnaire and 6 key stakeholders were interviewed.

The field measurement exercise collected a ‘snapshot’ of wind turbine sound data from seven wind farm sites during conditions thought likely to enable the detection of amplitude modulation at ranges representative of wind farm neighbours.

What is amplitude modulation?

A feature of wind turbine sound commonly known as amplitude modulation (AM). This is a regular fluctuation of the sound level associated with the passage of the blades. It is often described subjectively as a ‘swish’ or ‘whoomph’ sound.

Areas for increased focus:

Our analysis indicates that the existing guidance would benefit from updating in two key areas:

  1. Noise limits: The ‘noise limits’ defined in the ETSU-R-97 guidance are based on information that reflected the state of knowledge and turbine technology at the time. The research indicates that these should be revisited in view of advancements in onshore wind turbine technology, knowledge and scientific evidence of the potential impact of wind turbine noise, and the evolution of government noise policies in each of the devolved administrations of the UK. These developments could be reflected in a new framework for assessment and control of noise impact, in terms of addressing health outcomes and expected behavioural responses associated with wind turbine noise.
  2. Amplitude modulation guidance: The research also indicates that the current ETSU-R-97 guidance does not fully address the potential impact of AM in wind turbine sound. The evidence identified in the study, including indicative information from the field measurements, suggests that the assumptions about AM adopted in ETSU-R-97 do not fully represent the nature of AM as experienced and measured. Existing evidence could be used to help develop suitable guidance on controlling AM, and stakeholder views suggest this would be welcomed.

Our report also includes recommendations on further areas of the guidance likely to benefit from updating to reflect the latest evidence addressing methods of measurement, prediction, data analysis, assessment and control for wind turbine sound and noise.

Recommendations for future studies:

Our report for BEIS identifies further key evidence needed to support some of the recommended updates, and to inform planning and consenting around onshore wind farms in the UK, including:

Attaining suitably robust evidence to support guidance updates is likely to require government, industry, academia and other stakeholder groups to work together to achieve mutual interests in providing local planning authorities, environmental protection departments, developers and operators with the most relevant and up-to-date guidance possible for planning and assessing noise from wind turbines. Achieving this aim will ensure the effective management of the potential impacts of wind farm noise, while supporting government objectives for achieving Net Zero.

The findings of the study must be considered within the context of its strengths and limitations, which are detailed and discussed in the report. The authors would like to stress that this review represents only an initial step in any process of updating the existing guidance that may be decided on in the future; the report itself does not provide new guidance or supersede any parts of the current policy or guidance frameworks in place in any of the devolved administrations.

Download original document: “A review of noise guidance for onshore wind turbines

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