There have been allegations that wind turbines kill birds and thus are a negative power system overall. Science to the rescue! Ornithologists have completed a study about migratory birds and how well they fare around wind farms. The answer? Birds are fine.
The study, which is published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, was carried out jointly by four naturalists and ornithologists from the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). It goes against widespread allegations by critics of windfarms that clusters of turbines routinely cause serious damage to wild birds, through collision with the revolving blades, noise and visual disturbance.
James Pearce-Higgins, the lead author and principal ecologist with the BTO, said: “It was a bit of a surprise that the impact on windfarms seemed to be happening during construction rather than operation.”
“It means we should look at ways in which these negative impacts can be minimised. The next step will be to find out whether those steps are effective,” he said.
A simple addition to the standard wind turbine setup called a wind lens can double, or even triple, the power output.
Professor Prof. Yuji Ohya of the Kyushu University research institute for applied mechanics (RIAM) has been working with a team to improve the efficiency of wind turbines. Combining an inlet shroud, a diffuser, and a brim into a wind lens, power output has been improved by a factor of 2 to 5 times in several experiments. Turbine noise is also decreased.
A small group of people have complained and argued that wind turbines can cause health problems. A new study confirms that those people are wrong and in fact wind turbines are not a health risk at all.
The study acknowledges that a minority of people find the intermittent swooshing noise emitted by the turbines’ giant blades to be annoying, but it also concluded: “Annoyance is not a pathological entity.”
The study says there’s “nothing unique” about the noise or vibrations emitted by wind turbines and no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds have any direct adverse effect on health.
It suggests that those who are bothered by turbines simply have a lower tolerance for annoying sounds of all sorts.
“A major cause of concern about wind turbine sound is its fluctuating nature. Some may find this sound annoying, a reaction that depends primarily on personal characteristics as opposed to the intensity of the sound level.”
El Hierro will rely on a combination of hydroelectricity and wind power to generate its electricity. “El Hierro will be the first island in the world totally supplied by renewable energy,” the ministry said. The technology associated with this task includes a system involving two reservoirs to power hydroelectric stations, a wind farm and a pumping system.