Wind Power – downsides greatly outweight upsides

FIRE, BLADE BREAKAGE

Wind farm operators must address the safety impacts attributable to the increased risk of fires being started in the project area, particularly given dry summer conditions and consistently high winds in and around the project area. Fire can be caused by construction activities, mechanical breakdown (e.g., loss of a blade), electrical breakdown, carelessness, or lightning strikes

In an article written in January 1996, Professor Otfried Wolfrum, professor of applied geodesy at Darmstadt University reported on blade failures in Germany, detailing four particularly severe examples where blade fragments weighing up to a half-ton were thrown up to 900 feet.

Palm Springs keeps turbines more than ½ mile from highways and residences because of the risk of flying broken blade debris.

Renewables UK, an industry trade association, has admitted to 1,500 wind turbine accidents/incidents in the UK alone during the past five years, the London Telegraph reported. Those included 300 injuries and four deaths—in just one small part of the world.

IMPROPER MAINTENANCE BUDGETING

In Florida, the Desert Valley Star reported in January 2009 that FPL/NER operates 60 wind turbines—and reportedly 40% were “malfunctioning, in disrepair, or need maintenance.”

Windtech International reported that a survey of 75 wind farm operators in the U.S. in 2008 found that 60% of turbines may be behind in critical maintenance due largely to a shortage of qualified turbine technicians.

ICE THROW

Ice and snow is common in the northeast Mt Washington has an average of 281 inches of snow and a record of 566 inches in a season. Icing is often severe.

Mt. Washington Observatory FAQ: Why doesn’t the Observatory harness wind energy to generate power?
Several years ago a lengthy study was conducted evaluating the potential to harness wind power from Mount Washington’s endless and reliable supply. The study concluded that the frequent icing of equipment and the strength and gustiness of the wind at this location was so severe that wind energy would not be a practical or cost effective alternative. This remains the case today. Perhaps future designs will allow the Observatory to generate power economically through its ever-present friend, the wind.

Markker J. Vartianinen, of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, has written on this subject, “some ice layers 6 inches thick have been detected Professor Wolfrum documented that these fragments could be thrown up to 1800 feet and land with impact speeds up to 170 miles/hour.

ICESTORM TURBINE, TRANSMISSION LINE COLLAPSE

The region is subject to a large sale major ice storm on average every 7 years. Major damaging ice storms occurred in 1973, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2008.

For six days in January 1998, freezing rain coated Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick with 3-4 inches of ice. Trees and hydro wires fell and utility poles and transmission towers came down causing massive power outages, some for as long as a month. It was the most expensive natural disaster in Canada. According to Environment Canada, the ice storm of 1998 directly affected more people than any other previous weather event in Canadian history. Ice storm 1998 in Quebec .But for 300,000 people, it meant shivering in the dark for almost a month — in the coldest, darkest part of winter. Thirty people died in Canada and another 17 in the United States.

The December 2008 ice storm of New England and Upstate New York was a damaging ice storm that took out power for millions of people in those regions. The storm was deemed the worst ice storm in a decade for New England (since 1996) and the most severe in 21 years for Upstate New York (1989). Damage was primarily a result of fallen trees and fallen utility wires and poles, which were coated in a heavy layer of ice. The storm raised heavy controversy over the slow return of power, as at the storm’s peak as many as 1.7 million customers were without power. Days after the storm more than 800,000 customers were still without power. Almost a week after the storm still more than 100,000 customers were without power, affecting the holiday shopping season and crippling the business and transportation of many northeast cities for days.

TRANSMISSION ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVE HEALTH ISSUES

Study the potential for electromagnetic radiation turbine site and transmission lines created by the project to result in adverse health effects such as increased cancer risk

RELIABILITY OF WIND

Mt. Washington Observatory FAQ: Why doesn’t the Observatory harness wind energy to generate power?

Several years ago a lengthy study was conducted evaluating the potential to harness wind power from Mount Washington’s endless and reliable supply. The study concluded that the frequent icing of equipment and the strength and gustiness of the wind at this location was so severe that wind energy would not be a practical or cost effective alternative. This remains the case today. Perhaps future designs will allow the Observatory to generate power economically through its ever-present friend, the wind.

Wind power generation is often the lowest when needed most – daytimes. Highest at night at wind turbine levels as base of the wind profile lifts over the inversion.

Frigid arctic air masses that settle in as they have in Europe the last 5 winters, cause winds to go calm. In 2009, Black Bear Lake in Maine reached a state record low of -50F with calm winds. The German government remarked that solar provided 0% of the electrical needs last winter. In December 2010, when the UK had the second coldest December since the Little Ice Age in 1659, the massive wind farms produced less than 0.5% of their energy needs.

The same wind power die down in west Texas was observed in a cold outbreak a few years ago causing brownouts in Dallas and Houston. In heat waves, stagnant air means little wind/ventilation.

BIRD, BAT MASSACRE

According to an estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in March, almost 600,000 birds are killed by wind farms in America each year, including over 80,000 raptors such as hawks and falcons and eagles (Wildlife Society).

Even more bats die, as their lungs are inverted by the negative pressures generated behind the 170 mile-per-hour spinning blades. A new study from the University of Colorado, Denver, estimates that 600,000 bats were killed by wind turbines last year alone – could be as high as 900,000. Feed on insects that would otherwise destroy crops, and it pollinates as it goes about its nightly tasks.

In Digby, Nova Scotia, an Emu farm was put out of business. Operators of Ocean Breeze Emu Farm in Digby County are shutting down due to a nearby wind turbine farm. The farm’s operators, Davey and Deb Van Tassel, say they started having problems with their emus when test towers were put up for the wind power farm.

“First with the installation of the test towers and the high-pitch sounds emitting from them, we lost 26 of our 38 emus with no eggs laid,” the Van Tassels wrote in an email. “During the time the turbines were erected and the test towers were still in place, we lost five more emus.”

The Van Tassels were told the birds “had died of fear,” they said. The problems have continued, they say, the agitation from the turbines causing the remaining birds “to run and run night and day, wearing them down to practically nothing” In the last five weeks they have lost five young emus.

LIGHT FLICKER

You need to address the possible health problems cased by light flicker. The view of strobe lights or of a red glow all night long is expected to affect migraine sufferers. Wind turbine shadow flicker has the potential to induce photosensitive epilepsy seizures. Shadow flicker is also a safety concern. For example it can cause vehicle driver distraction.

HUMAN HEALTH – NOISE

The New York Times reports residents living less than a mile from the $15 million wind facility in Vinalhaven, Me., say the industrial whoosh-and-whoop of the 123-foot blades is making life unbearable. “The quality of life that we came here for was quiet,” one resident said. “You don’t live in a place where you have to take an hour-and-15-minute ferry ride to live next to an industrial park. And that’s where we are right now.”

In Canada, Carmen Krogh, a retired Alberta pharmacist and a group of volunteers surveyed residents in areas near wind farms. Of 76 people who responded to their informal survey, 53 reported at least one health complaint. All across the US, lawsuits have been filed against the wind farms because of these health issues.

An epidemiology study conducted by World Health Organization demonstrated disturbance by noise and sleep disturbance by noise increased the risk of depression 40%, and 100% respectively. In addition to visual burdens wind turbines create noise pollution which can cause annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance. In light of these statistics it is expected that people may suffer adverse health effects from visual and noise impacts of wind turbines.

In a letter to the Falmouth Board of health, Dr Willian Hallstein, a Psychiatrists wrote: “Turning now to the topic of sleep interruption and deprivation. Sleep disturbance is not a trivial matter. Children with inadequate sleep perform poorly academically, emotionally and physically. Errors in judgement and accident rates increase with inadequate sleep and fatigue for everyone: athletes, truck drivers, ship operators, aircraft pilots and physicians. No one is exempt.

In the world of medicine illnesses of all varieties are destabilized by fatigue secondary to inadequate sleep. Diabetic blood sugars become labile, cardiac rhythms become irregular, migraines erupt and increase in intensity, tissue healing is retarded, and so forth, across the entire field of physical medicine. Psychiatric problems intensify and people decompensate. Mood disorders become more extreme and psychotic disorders more severe.

People with no previously identified psychiatric illness are destabilized by sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation experiments have repeatedly been terminated because test subjects become psychotic; they begin to hallucinate auditory and visual phenomena. They develop paranoid delusions. This all happens in the “normal” brain. Sleep deprivation has been used as an effective means of torture and a technique for extracting confessions.

US Justice Muse has just ruled that two 1.65 VESTAS Wind Turbines in Falmouth cause “irreparable physical and psychological harm” to the health of neighbors. He has ordered that the turbines are immediately turned off between 7pm and 7am every night, pending the hearing of a case for noise nuisance.

These two turbines are the same power generating capacity as wind turbines at a number of wind developments in Australia where local residents have reported the same range of symptoms, most commonly repetitive sleep disturbance, known for centuries to result in serious long term damage to mental and physical health

NOISE ENHANCEMENT IN CERTAIN ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS

The distance sound travels increases 5 fold from day to night when inversions develop and duct the sound. In Australia, infrasound from the wind turbines at Leonards Hill travelled over 19 miles and the attenuation followed the pattern of the NASA experiments in the 1980′s.

The same has been observed in South Carolina when Duke tests sirens. It is called atmospheric audio ducting. It’s when we have an inversion or a warm layer of air just off the surface of the ground. It can trap and bounce the audio waves between it and the ground. Making them travel long distances and make the sound much louder.

INFRASOUND

On 31 May 2003, a group of UK researchers held a mass experiment where they exposed some 700 people to infrasound waves “near the edge of hearing”. The presence of the tone resulted in a significant number (22%) of respondents reporting anxiety, uneasiness, extreme sorrow, nervous feelings of revulsion or fear, chills down the spine, and feelings of pressure on the chest. In presenting the evidence to British Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Richard Wiseman said, “These results suggest that low frequency sound can cause people to have unusual experiences even though they cannot consciously detect infrasound. Sounds like terror in the air Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 2003.

Wind Turbines can be Hazardous to Human Health is a paper on Infrasound by Alec N. Salt, Ph.D., Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis.

EFFECT ON RADAR/AVIATION

The NWS office in Burlington, Vermont has provided research on this issue
that showed wind farms provide clutter that may look like a strong cell and may affect the velocity returns and trigger alarms that forces the FAA to delay or reroute planes.

NOAA FAQ REPLY: Yes. The FAA has re-routed air traffic due to false returns from wind turbine clutter. NEXRAD data streams are fed directly into the FAA’s Weather and Radar Processor System at Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) and FAA controllers use the data to route aircraft safely around weather. ARTCCs have contacted the NEXRAD Radar Operations Center asking about NEXRAD radar data showing what appeared to be significant weather that required rerouting, but pilots reported not seeing weather in the area. This confusion causes unnecessary and expensive aircraft re-routing and excess fuel consumption.

EFFECT ON TOURISM

Tourism is New Hampshire’s second-largest industry. The Total Sales generated by recreational uses (i.e., boating, fishing, swimming) of New Hampshire’s freshwaters, and by public drinking water supplies, range from $1.1 billion to as much as $1.5 billion annually. The Outdoor Foundation reports tourism supports 53,000 jobs, generates $261 million in annual state tax revenue and produces nearly $4 billion annually in retail sales and services.

State parks benefit tourism – “In a recent survey the Division of Travel and Tourism learned that the main activities associated with New Hampshire were outdoor activities with 90% of them being recreational activities that take part in New Hampshire State Parks. Of those surveyed, 70% agreed that New Hampshire has great state and national parks, just reaffirming that these natural resources are an important aspect for promoting New Hampshire. The natural landscapes and varied experiences provide exceptional opportunities for both residents and visitors travelling from all corners of the globe to enjoy what New Hampshire has to offer whether they are seeking active outdoor recreation, relaxation, or just the natural beauty of our quintessential New England landscape. -Lori Harnois, Director, NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development

Plans to dot France with wind farms are facing fierce opposition from critics worried they will blight a landscape that has helped make the country the world’s top tourist destination. …opponents are urging the government to tread carefully so as not to damage France’s thousands of kilometers of stunningly beautiful landscapes.

QUALITY OF LIFE

Wind farms and transmission lines will provide a degraded view of the areas lakes, mountains. An epidemiology study conducted by World Health Organization determined a “bad view out of window” increased the risk for depression by 40%.

Also we need to evaluate how the projects would interfere with communication systems, including cell phones, radios, and televisions in the project areas.

PROPERTY DEVALUATION

Though proponents of wind say it enhances property value, there is concrete evidence to the contrary. In a wind impact study in Dodge and Fond Du Lac Counties in Wisconsin, large turbines (389 feet high) using a literature study, an opinion survey of realtors and sales studies determined that sales were less than outside the areas, and prices were lower. Land values were decreased from 13% to 47% with an average of 30%.

INCREASED ELECTRICITY COSTS
David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis adjusted the Energy Information Administration’s projected energy costs for various sources in 2016 to account for the variability and remoteness of the major renewable energy sources – wind and solar. With these adjustments, swapping one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from coal or natural gas combined-cycle generation to onshore wind drives the cost up from about $79 to $177. Offshore wind is worse at $218 per MWh. Heritage analyzed a generic RES that starts at 3 percent of total power generation in 2012 and rises by 1.5 percent per year. Such an RES would destroy 1 million jobs by 2020, when the standard reaches 15 percent. Average families will pay $2,400 more per year.

INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE FALLACY OF GREEN JOBS

Unemployment reached a new high in Europe in part due to the green renewable revolution that has been deemed a dismal failure.
Almost two-thirds of young Greeks are unable to find work, exemplifying Europe’s ‘lost generation’. In France, the number of jobless rose to a record, while in Italy, the unemployment rate hit its highest level in 36 years, with 40 percent of young people out of work. In Spain, unemployment reached a record 27.2% due to a combination of the progressive big government anti-business policies and the enviro pushed green energy subsidies. This green push (wind power is not only a health hazard to humans and deadly to birds (killing millions worldwide including many endangered species like eagles and condors), but among the most inefficient of all energy sources) caused energy prices to skyrocket, shutting businesses or forcing manufacturers overseas.

In Spain, 2.2 jobs were lost for every green job created and only 1 in 10 green job was permanent. In Italy it was 3.4 jobs lost for every temporary green job, Spain ceased subsidization, but the damage has been done. In Germany where electricity prices have doubled, 600,000 homes had their electricity turned off during the last of 5 straight brutal winter. In the UK 25 to 50% are in energy poverty. Many pensioners have had to choose between heating and eating. Many tens of thousands died in the cold. The German government remarked that solar provided 0% of the electrical needs last winter. In December 2010, when the UK had the second coldest December since the Little Ice Age in 1659, the massive wind farms produced less than 0.5% of their energy needs.

How about the US? Without much fanfare, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently updated the list of loan guarantee projects on its website. Unlike in 2008, when Barack Obama pledged to create 5 million jobs over 10 years by directing taxpayer funds toward renewable energy projects, there were no press conferences or stump speeches. But the data are nonetheless revealing: for the over $26 billion spent since 2009, DOE Section 1703 and 1705 loan guarantees have created only 2,298 permanent jobs for a cost of over $11.45 million per job.

INCREASING NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN ENERGY POVERTY

UK Prime Minister David Cameron who once pledged to lead the ‘greenest government ever’, has publicly promised to ‘roll back’ green taxes, which add more than £110 a year to average fuel bills. A senior aide said ‘He’s telling everyone, “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.”

Just recently, German figures were released on the actual productivity of the country’s wind power over the last ten years. The figure is 16.3 percent!

Due to the inherent intermittent nature of wind, their wind power system was designed for an assumed 30% load factor in the first place. That means that they hoped to get a mere 30% of the installed capacity – versus some 85-90% for coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities. That means that, when they build 3,000MW of wind power, they expect to actually get merely 900MW, because the wind does not always blow at the required speeds. But in reality, after ten years, they have discovered that they are actually getting only half of what they had optimistically, and irrationally, hoped for: a measly 16.3 percent.

Even worse, after spending billions of Euros on subsidies, Germany’s total combined solar facilities have contributed a miserly, imperceptible 0.084% of Germany’s electricity over the last 22 years. That is not even one-tenth of one percent. Even in rock-solid Germany, up to 15% of the populace is now believed to be in “fuel poverty.” Some 600,000 low-income Germans are now being cut off by their power companies annually, a number expected to increase as a never-ending stream of global-warming projects in the pipeline wallops customers. In the U.K., which has laboured under the most politically correct climate leadership in the world, some 12 million people are already in fuel poverty, 900,000 of them in wind-infested Scotland alone, and the U.K. has now entered a double-dip recession.

NASA’S JAMES HANSEN AND MIT’S DR. KERRY EMANUEL RECOMMEND NUCLEAR INSTEAD OF WIND AND SOLAR

In an ideal world, we’d move steadily away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, like wind and solar, while neatly avoiding messy alternatives like natural gas and nuclear power. But according to four top U.S. scientists, renewable energy won’t be enough to head off the rapidly advancing reality of climate change. Despite the scary things you may be hearing about it, they said, nuclear power is a solution, and it needs to be taken seriously.

The letter, signed by James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia — all of whom, according to the AP, “have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change” – was sent to leading environmental groups and leaders around the world. Advocating for the development of safe nuclear power, they wrote:

We appreciate your organization’s concern about global warming, and your advocacy of renewable energy. But continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.

…Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires. While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power.

Using a bit less tact, Hansen told the AP: “They’re cheating themselves if they keep believing this fiction that all we need” is wind and solar.”

We understand that today’s nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer. And modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks and solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently. Innovation and economies of scale can make new power plants even cheaper than existing plants. Regardless of these advantages, nuclear needs to be encouraged based on its societal benefits.

Quantitative analyses show that the risks associated with the expanded use of nuclear energy are orders of magnitude smaller than the risks associated with fossil fuels. No energy system is without downsides. We ask only that energy system decisions be based on facts, and not on emotions and biases that do not apply to 21st century nuclear technology.

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