National Wind Watch: Wind Energy Documents
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(archive: 2012) Ten facts about wildlife and windfarms
Say No to Lingo
Wildlife, Wind power, Wind energy
1. Birds most at risk from wind turbines have been shown to be birds of prey and waterfowl. Passerines are at slightly lesser risk but are still impacted.
References: Desholm, M. 2009, Journal of Environmental Management, 90, 2672-2679; Madson & Boertman, 2008, Landscape Ecology, 23, 1007-1011
2. It is not just a simple matter of wind turbines killing birds by collisions because they migrate across the site or nest close to developments. What also matters is the presence of turbines, especially in arrays, located between the roosting, nesting or foraging sites of birds because the turbines form a ‘barrier’ the birds cannot or will not cross.
Reference: Ferrer et al., 2012. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49, 38-46.
3. Flying over or diverting around wind farms to reach foraging or roosting sites has high energy costs for birds, as the higher or further they fly the greater metabolic demand this imposes on them. This can be critical during the winter when food is scarce and the air temperature is low.
Reference: Sugimoto et al., 2011. Ornithological Science, 10, 61-71.
4. Grassland birds, such as lapwing that forage on the ground, are mainly impacted by turbines because the turbines prevent or deter their movement between forage and roost sites.
Reference: Pruett, et al., 2009. Bioscience, 59, 257-262.
5. An 11-year study of bird mortality in relation to wind farm developments at coastal regions in Northumbria found that between 16 and 21 birds were killed per turbine per year, mainly by collision. Affected species tended to be guillemots, kittiwakes, gulls and pigeons.
Reference: Newton & Little, 2009, Bird Studies, 56, 158-167.
6. Mortality of raptors from turbines has been found not to correlate with bird abundance. Rather mortality depends on turbine height and elevation above sea level. The taller or higher the turbine the greater the mortality rate.
Reference: De Lucas et al., 2008. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 1695-1703.
7. Male birds tend to be killed more frequently by turbines than females because they spend more time foraging. However, chicks suffer and may die indirectly because they depend on food foraged by males to supplement that obtained by females.
Reference: Stienen et al., 2008. Condor, 110, 154-157.
8. Some wildlife species, including birds and squirrels, have been shown to suffer stress (as indicated by high alertness behaviour and alarm calling) in the vicinity of wind turbines compared to animals under control (no turbine) conditions. It is well known that prolonged (chronic) exposure to stress reduces fecundity, immunity, growth and longevity in many animal species.
Reference: Kikuchi, 2008. Journal for Nature Conservation, 16, 44-55.
9. Poor correlation exists between pre–wind farm development risk assessments and actual post construction recorded deaths. Deaths are often underestimated because carcases attract scavenging birds. These, in turn, are then struck by the blades and die, thus pushing up the overall death count.
Reference: Smallwood et al., 2010. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74, 1089-1097.
10. Assessment of bird or bat mortality by counting carcases is also unreliable if other scavengers (eg foxes) remove corpses from the area, especially at night, before counting is undertaken. Therefore recorded mortality rates due to collision are probably less than the real death toll.
Reference: Korner-Nievergelt et al., 2011, Wildlife Biology, 17, 350-363.
(archive: 2006) Sheldon NY Wind Turbine Ordinance
Sheldon, N.Y., Council
New York, Ordinances, Wind power, Wind energy
The Sheldon ordinance is an example of the author’s very limited understanding of the complexities of industrial wind development. The residents of Sheldon are currently dealing with the consequences of this weak document that offers virtually no protection for their well-being or their local investments.
Download original document: “Sheldon NY Wind Turbine Ordinance”
(archive: 2011) Lincoln Electric Wind Turbine
Ohio, Photos, Technology, Wind power, Wind energy
In June 2011, Lincoln Electric erected a wind tower measuring 443 feet tall at its world headquarters and manufacturing campus in Cleveland, Ohio. This installation is the largest known urban wind tower in North America, and is capable of producing 2.5-megawatts of electrical energy, or approximately 10 percent of the requirements for Lincoln Electric’s main Cleveland manufacturing facility. Lincoln Electric officially dedicated its wind tower on August 23, 2011.
How big is the tower? Measures 443 feet tall from the base to the tip of the blade:
- Composed of 4 tubular steel tower sections that weigh a combined 435,000 lbs
- Tower diameter is 14.1 feet at the base and 10.2 feet at the top
- Tower wall thickness varies from over 2ʺ at the bottom to 1/2ʺ at the top
- The 4 tower sections, Foundation Mounting Part, and Nacelle are bolted together with (240) bolts over 1-7/8ʺ in diameter and (384) bolts over 1-3/8ʺ in diameter
- Katana-Summit reports that 2951 lbs of L61 Wire and 5878 lbs of WTX Flux was used in the fabrication of the tower
How big are the blades? Features 3 blades:
- Each blade is about 164 feet long from center of hub to tip of blade
- Weighs over 24,000 lbs each
- Blade Rotation: Clockwise
- Blade swept area: 84,000 sq feet (almost 1.5 times larger then the area of a football field)
- Blade Orientation: Upwind
How fast can the blades travel? Blade tip speed is 165 mph at a hub rotation of 14.1 rpm
What are the dimensions of the base?
- 2,800 cubic yards of earth was excavated to 12 feet below grade
- Foundation is a gravity base that is a 56 foot wide octagon shape
- Foundation is 4 feet thick at the edge and 12 feet thick at the center
- 595 cubic yards of concrete weighing over 2.3 million pounds – enough to make a 4 foot wide sidewalk that is 4 inches thick two and a half miles long
- Contains 65 tons of reinforced steel rebar
(archive: 2010) Peeling Away the Onion of Denmark Wind
Denmark, Grid, Wind power, Wind energy
According to wind proponents, Denmark is a model of wind energy use for electricity generation to be emulated. It is claimed or suggested that:
- Denmark gets about 20% of its electricity from wind. [Note: This number is generation, not usage, which is a crucial distinction with negative implications for the wind lobby’s argument.]
- Reduction in CO2 emissions is due in large part to increased wind electricity production.
These conclusions are superficial at best and invalid at worse. The analysis required to show this, however, is extensive and technical because the Denmark power market is unique and wholly unlike the market in the U.S. or the UK.
Click the links below to read the paper:
- Part I – Introduction
- Part II – Details of Exports and Imports
- Part III – Wind Electricity Used in Denmark
- Part IV – CO₂ Emissions
(archive: 2014) Wind farms and health: Who is fomenting community anxieties?
Health, Wind power, Wind energy
TO THE EDITOR: By his deployment of ad hominem arguments, outdated or industry-sponsored research, comparison to an unrelated phenomenon, and a biased selection of case studies and research reports, I fear the pro–wind-industry opinions expressed by Chapman  will only serve to exacerbate the psychogenic and sociogenic processes he laments.
Wind turbine noise must be treated like any other source of community noise, and its association with renewable energy must not excuse it from public health guidelines. The emergence of large wind turbines clustered close together in “wind farms” can produce modulated noise exceeding 100 decibels in their immediate vicinity. Such exposure will seriously impact health through sleep disturbance and noise-induced stress.
The issue, then, is to determine reasonable distances from human habitation and noise guidelines, such as those for airports, drinking establishments and motorways. There are no current data indicating that wind-turbine noise is privileged in relation to health impacts. Rather, data not acknowledged by Chapman suggest the opposite.[2-5] Indeed, the only mass hysteria I see comes from wind-farm activists who have an aversion to data and a love of conspiracy theories and voodoo. As a public health researcher, I appeal for more data and less opinion.
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Medical Journal of Australia, 6 February 2012, 196(2).
1. Chapman S. Wind farms and health: who is fomenting community anxieties? Med J Aust 2011; 195: 495.
2. Pedersen E, Persson Waye K. Wind turbine noise, annoyance and self-reported health and well-being in different living environments. Occup Environ Med 2007; 64: 480-486.
3. Shepherd D, McBride D, Welch W, et al. Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life. Noise Health 2011; 13: 333-339.
4. Møller H, Pedersen CS. Low-frequency noise from large wind turbines. J Acoust Soc Am 2011; 129: 3727-3744.
5. Van den Berg GP, Pedersen E, Bouma J, Bakker R. Project WINDFARMperception. Visual and acoustic impact of wind turbine farms on residents. Final report. FP6-2005-Science-and-Society-20. Specific Support Action Project no. 044628. Groningen, Netherlands: University of Groningen, 2008. http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-1781 (accessed Jan 2012).
Download original document: “Wind farms and health: Who is fomenting community anxieties?”