Wind Power Facts and Fiction
The truth is, there is no perfect source of energy. Wind, coal, solar, nuclear, geothermal. They all have their pros and their cons.
Unfortunately, objective analysis of power sources is often difficult to find. A company that runs coal power plants will not go out of its way to explain the environmental impacts of how coal is mined. Instead, they will create TV ads that focus on the number of jobs created by the coal industry (which it does create), the reliability of coal-based electricity (and it is reliable) and how such electricity will be available for decades to come (and we do have a lot of coal left on this planet). However, how often do we hear of the catastrophic health impacts of the air pollution caused by coal-powered plants? Or, how often do we see photos like the one below that shows the impact of “mountaintop removal”, a coal mining technique where entire mountain ranges are stripped bare of natural ecosystems in order to gain access to the coal below.
But coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power industries generate large amounts of capital which they can use to better shape their public image. Supportive politicians advocate for those industries and pass advantageous legislation that helps fossil fuel and nuclear industries maintain their access to and control of the power grids. Additionally, fossil fuels and nuclear power are the “established” sources of energy. And we all know how difficult change can be for our society. Especially when it comes to something as basic and essential as the production of electricity.
On the other hand, renewable sources of energy are the “new kids on the block”. The renewable energy industry does not have access to the same subsidies as the established energy producers. The renewable industry does not generate billions of dollars in profits which it can use to lobby governments or generate massive advertisement campaigns. They are fighting the establishment for access to the power grid. And there is a lot of resistance.
That is why the public image of renewables in North America is tainted by the various “cons” of those energy sources. And somehow, no matter how great the advantages (or “pros”) of renewable energy sources are, they seem to easily be outweighed by the “cons”. These challenges are true of all renewable sources of energy. However, wind energy seems to be the most regular victim of fact-free criticism.
That is why I invite you to visit the website of fellow blogger earthstonestation. This gentleman has written a wonderful three-part series on the “cons” of wind energy. In each part, he begins by addressing a common misconception of wind power and goes on to debunk it with facts. It is worth the read for anyone who cares about the progress of renewable sources of energy. Here is how the three-part series breaks down:
Part 1 addresses wind turbine noise and its impact on human health.
Part 2 addresses the bird and bat deaths associated with wind turbines.
And finally, Part 3 addresses the “intermittent” nature of wind energy.
If any additional “parts” to this series shows up on earthstonestation, I’ll make sure to let you all know.