Wind Power

A blog post I read this evening talked about the health hazards and interruptions to daily activities that would be created by wind turbines being erected in our area.  A neon question mark appeared over my head upon reading the statement.  Health hazards?  Disruption to daily activities??

Being my father’s child, I decided to see if I could find out what these health hazards are and what disruption we should be expecting.  Surprisingly, the only health hazards I found when searching “wind power health hazards” dealt with a few situations. 

One was equipment malfunction.  Whether due to mere malfunction or sudden gusts of wind, the tips of turbine blades can fly off.  It would be interesting to further research this issue by talking to wind farmers throughout the country and turbine manufacturers to try and get an estimate on what percentage of turbines have had this issue.  To say it can happen doesn’t mean that it will. 

Another “health hazard” involved accidents during transport and construction.  It’s an unfortunate situation, but there are many buildings that have accidents during construction, sometimes even fatalities.  To count this as part of the health hazards seems a bit of a stretch.

I did find one study that listed true health issues from wind turbines.  Unfortunately, I’m a bit skeptical of a study that sampled 229 people within a 2 mile radius and lists the results without stating how many of those people lived in each group.  I also don’t feel that 14 people is an accurate representation to gauge health effects.  Yes, 13 of them said they noticed increased symptoms, but what would have happened if we sampled more people?  How far away from the installation did those people live?

As for disruption of daily activities, I don’t find much evidence of anyone suffering.  If I find some evidence of this, I will, of course, update.

There is still much research that needs to be done regarding wind energy, the benefits and the risks.  This can’t be done by a city trying to keep them away or by an investment company looking to change the landscape.  Until this happens, we will forever have tainted information and no one coming to a compromise. 

There isn’t a single source of energy that won’t have its drawbacks to the community.  It seems that everyone is for wind turbines as long as they are somewhere else.  Everyone wants to have electricity, but if that means putting a coal burning plant in their area, it’s out of the question.  Plain and simple, we live a complete NIMBY era.  Everyone wants solutions as long as they don’t disrupt their life in any way, shape, or form.

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One Response to Wind Power

  1. stamperdad says:

    Wind power is an excellent alternative. It’s there for the taking. I notice many so-celled wind farms springing up. Here in Alberta where it gets mighty windy along the foothills of the Rockies it is becoming big business.

    As far as the turbine blades flying off. My comment is we all drive cars and most of us never think about that risk. That is the most likely way a person will be injured or die – driving down the street. Most of these wind turbines are in large open areas quite a distance from dwellings. Also in order for the operator to get maximum performance from these wind machines regular maintenance is needed. The incentive to keep them well maintaned – cash income.

    The environmentalists seem to be all for this type of technology, unless of course it obstructs the view in their backyard.

    Steve

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