Wind Power was once thought to be a clean, nearly free, and practically unlimited source of green power until we started using it on a massive scale. Over the last 15 years major commercial wind farms have cropped up all over the U.S., the U.K. and Western Europe and things are anything but breezy for wind farmers. According to recent Harvard research, the large scale wind farming practice is actually slowing down the wind.
Each wind turbine creates behind it a “wind shadow” in which the air has been slowed down by drag on the turbine’s blades. The ideal wind farm strikes a balance, packing as many turbines onto the land as possible, while also spacing them enough to reduce the impact of these wind shadows. But as wind farms grow larger, they start to interact, and the regional-scale wind patterns matter more. One of the inherent challenges of wind energy is that as soon as you start to develop wind farms and harvest the resource, you change the resource, making it difficult to assess what’s really available,” says Adams. LINK
Scientist are trying to build accurate models of what will happen to our climate as these wind farms essentially put the breaks on the wind as it travels the globe. We have already discovered evidence that wind farms affect pollination, local weather patterns, and worse contributes to the build up of Co2. Part of eliminating Co2 depends on the reliability of the wind patterns.
The publics argument against wind farms is becoming more diverse recently. In the past the issue centered around cost and aesthetic, but know there may be scientific evidence that links wind farms to public health problems. Residents who have wind power plants built near their homes have complained of nausea, lack of sleep, headaches, lack of sleep and dizziness. What’s causing all of these symptoms? Scientist believe they know what it might be… simply the noise. Wind turbines are not really all that loud, but they do produce an irregular and varying low-frequency noise that fluctuates at about 12 Dbs. Why is that a bid deal? The noise can keep a person on a state of high alert around the clock causing all sorts of health issues.
last year Ohio legislators passed a law requiring wind turbine blades to be at least a quarter-mile from the nearest property line. That’s because sounds in the low frequency range can travel great distances; they “are not well attenuated by air,” Arenas says. “Low frequency noise is hard to mitigate.”
In an article on Science Daily researchers from Virgina Tech go into detail on this issue. That article can be found here.
While there might be stormy weather ahead for wind power, the future is as bright as it ever was for solar power. We are all about renewable energy and staying up to date on all the breakthroughs regarding clean energy and we hope researches find a way to overcome these challenges facing wind power. Having multiple sources of dependable, renewable and clean energy is what we all need and should all be working toward.