Green Energy Has Its Ugly Costs Bird Mortality Noise Pollution Human/Property Danger Scenery Implications
Externalities What are Externalities? Externalities are the benefits or costs of a product or its manufacture that affect people external to the market for the product. A positive externality is one that has beneficial effects, such as the low cost and high performance of wind energy which can benefit the whole economy. A negative externality has negative effects, of which the most common example is noise pollution. Wind turbines have both, I am going to focus on the negative externalities in this presentation.
“Wind turbines across the U.S. kill an estimated 33,000 migratory birds a year” – U.S. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Tens of thousands of birds are killed by wind turbines every year. The Altamont Pass wind farm (Pictured) kills far more birds than any other farm in the United States. The total at this single wind farm with 4,000 turbines is 4,700 fatalities. The total for all wind farms in the United States, with more than 25,000 turbines in operation at any given time, is 10,000 to 40,000 per year. -How Stuff Works: “Do wind Turbines Kill Birds”
What is being done to prevent these bird fatalities? AVSNWCC: The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife co-founded the Avian Subcommittee of the National Wind Coordinating Committee, working to reduce bird strikes with wind turbines. – US Fish & Wildlife DESIGN: Turbine designs have changed dramatically in the past couple of decades, They are now solid, meaning no lattice structure to attract birds looking to perch. Also, the blade’s surface area is much larger, so they don't have to spin as fast to generate power. Slower-moving blades mean fewer bird collisions. – How Stuff Works: “Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds” LOCATION: Smarter placement of wind turbines, combined with a more bird- friendly design are a couple of ways to further reduce the number of bird deaths. Altamont Pass, is in the process of replacing its turbines with newer more bird-friendly models. – How Stuff Works: “Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds”
Are Wind Turbines NOISY? This seems to be a very controversial topic, some people are saying “The noise is ruining their quality of life, and making them miserable” - The Telegraph: “ How Noisy Is a Wind Farm” Others say that the turbines make very little noise compared to other types of outdoor background noises. Placement of the towers seems to be the biggest issue when it comes to how loud the noise is. If the towers are placed far enough from the residences. Click on the icon on the next slide and decide for yourself. The closest that a wind turbine is typically placed to a home is 300 meters or more. At that distance, a turbine will have a sound pressure level of 43 decibels. To put that in context, the average air conditioner can reach 50 decibels of noise, and most refrigerators run at around 40 decibels. – GE Reports: “How Loud is a Wind Turbine”
What do you think? -Recordings of Nature: “Wind turbine sound field recording” This sample was taken with high quality microphones placed 50 meters from the tower on a moderately windy day.
Wind Power Is Also Dangerous For Humans Statistically wind power is more dangerous per kilowatt hour than coal, oil and gas. “On a million-megawatt-hour basis, the wind-energy industry has averaged 0.0220 deaths compared with 0.0147 for coal over the years 2003-2008. Even adding coal’s share of fatalities in the power-generation industry, which brings the rate up to 0.0164, still leaves wind power with a 34 percent higher mortality rate. For the record, the workplace fatality rate for wind also exceeds that for oil and gas on an equivalent-energy basis.” - NebraskaHeritage.org article: “Wind Power is More Dangerous than Coal and Oil” by David Kreutzer
How is the scenery affected? -Adams County Wind
Other Negative Externalities -Google Images: “Wind Turbine Issues”
References NebraskaHeritage.org article: “Wind Power is More Dangerous than Coal and Oil” by David Kreutzer (http://blog.heritage.org/2010/06/26/wind-power-is-more-dangerous- than-coal-or-oil/#idc-cover) U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife: “Many Human Caused Threats Affect Bird Population” (http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf)http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf The Telegraph: “How Noisy Is a Wind Farm” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8621266/How-noisy-is-a-wind- farm.html)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8621266/How-noisy-is-a-wind- farm.html Recordings of Nature: “Wind turbine sound field recording” (http://recordingsofnature.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/vind-turbine-sound-field- recording/)http://recordingsofnature.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/vind-turbine-sound-field- recording/ Adams County Wind: “Advocates for Responsible Energy Development” (http://www.adamscountywind.com)http://www.adamscountywind.com How Stuff Works: “Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds” By Julia Layton (http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill- birds1.htm)http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill- birds1.htm GE Reports: “How Loud is a Wind Turbine” (http://www.gereports.com/how-loud-is-a- wind-turbine/)http://www.gereports.com/how-loud-is-a- wind-turbine/ Google Image Search: “Wind Turbine Issues”