[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


News Home

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Wind energy’s environmental transgressions  

Credit:  By Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter, www.hawaiireporter.com 8 November 2011 ~~

Friends of the Earth oppose the Arctic being ruined by oil extraction, but when it comes to damaging Scotland’s wilderness with concrete and hundreds of miles of roads, they say wind energy is worth it as the impact of climate change has to be faced.

‘No way of generating energy is 100 percent clean and problem-free,’ says Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at Friends of the Earth, report Simon Parry and Ed Douglas. (1)

Environmental groups and activists also ignore bird kills by wind turbines and the devastating environmental damage in China caused by mining for neodymium, a critical rare earth element in wind turbines.

The Fish and Wildlife service estimated that in 2009, about 440,000 birds were being killed by wind turbines. Yet the wind industry has yet to face a single charge. Oil companies face heavy fines for killing many fewer birds. So, what’s the life of a bird worth? If you’re Big Oil it can range from $7,000 to $20,000 per bird. If you’re wind energy it costs nothing. (2)

Green campaigners love wind turbines but the permanent magnets used to manufacture a 3-megawatt turbine contain some two tons of rare earth and the process used to extract neodymium raises serious questions. Parry and Douglas note,

“As Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare earths industry that the ‘green’ companies profiting from demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.” (1)

“Hidden out of sight, behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city of Baotou in Inner Mongolia, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile wide ‘tailing’ lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy. This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.” (1)

The environmental problems at Baotou include air emissions with harmful elements such as fluorine and sulfur, and wastewater that contain excessive acid and radioactive materials. The Baotou Environmental Protection Bureau tested the water and concluded that it wasn’t fit for people or animals to drink or for irrigations. (3)

So it’s one thing to say there is no way of generating energy that is 100 percent clean and problem free, but tell that to all the birds that are being killed or the Chinese workers who are paying a huge environmental price.


1. Simon Parry and Ed Douglas, “In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: pollution on a disastrous scale,” dailymail.co.uk, January 29, 2011
2. Jack Dini, “Bird death fines depend on who kills the birds,” Canada Free Press, September 19, 2011
3. “China’s rare earth-green technology danger,” epaw.org, December 4, 2009

Source:  By Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter, www.hawaiireporter.com 8 November 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher 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. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.