The first sentence on the home page of Wind Watch makes false claims about
wind turbines, wildlife and the environment.
|North Brown Hill Wind Farm, South Australia
|The power lines and pylons, which predated the wind farm,
will kill far more birds than the turbines.
- Wind farms are not a threat to wildlife.
For example, the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is so
convinced that wind power will be good for birds that they have
built a wind turbine at their headquarters.
The prominent US bird protection group, Audubon, recognise that climate
change poses a far higher threat to birds that do wind turbines.
Australia's Conservation Foundation (ACF) is supportive of wind power too.
- Wind power is very environmentally friendly.
Negligible emissions are produced during operation, very little
water is consumed,
very little land is taken out of production, the
energy used to construct a wind farm is paid back in about six
months of operation, what little
vegetation is damaged is replaced, and few
are killed by turbines.
The second sentence of the home page includes more lies about wind power:
regarding carbon emissions and the dependence on 'other fuels'.
|Emissions intensity on the Australian NEM
|Emissions intensity (EI) from the four large states in the Australian
Graph credit – Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne;
data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
Wind Watch writes of "Strobe lights day and night" on wind turbines in
an obvious effort at sensationalism.
The phrase "strobe lights" produces a mental picture of dazzling flashing
lights like those in a discotheque, the lights on wind turbines are only
bright enough to be seen by pilots at night.
Some wind farms have
lights for safety, most don't.
They can be annoying for those who like the look of the starry night
sky in the country without the distraction of flashing lights on the horizon
(I am one of these), but it is hardly going to harm anyone,
and unlike town lights it doesn't stop you seeing the stars.
Are they left on during the day? I very much doubt it, but would it matter
if they were?
- Wind power does
reduce carbon emissions.
This is so obviously true that no person having any intelligence or knowledge
of the power system would deny it.
Electricity has to be consumed at the same rate as it is being generated.
If wind-generated electricity is fed into the grid, some other electricity
generation must be lessened; this almost always is fossil-fuel
The graph on the right shows emissions intensity (EI) from the four large
states in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) and the average
for the whole of the NEM, including Tasmania.
Tasmania's EI is off-scale at the bottom of this graph.
Note the very large decline in South Australia's EI, due almost entirely to
the introduction of wind power.
- Wind power does reduce dependence on other fuels.
For example, at the same time as wind power in South Australia went from
0% to 26%,
coal-fired electricity went from 42% to 25% and emissions went down.
The last coal-fired power station in South Australia was due to be shut down
by mid 2016.
More facts about wind farms that are contrary to claims in Wind Watch:
If you get the impression from this page that there's not a lot of truth on
the pages of Wind Watch, you'd be very close to recognising it for what it is;
a tissue of lies.
- Wind power is efficient.
The state of South Australia had near zero renewable electricity in early
2003; in 2012 around 26% of its electricity is being generated by the wind;
practically no fuel at all is consumed to produce all that electricity
– what could be more efficient than that?
(More at Efficiency of wind turbines.)
- Wind power is economical.
Wind power is at present the most economical form of renewable energy;
why else would so many countries be installing so much wind power?
In fact, if the cost of pollution is taken into account, wind power is much
more economical than fossil-fuel-generated power.
(More at Cost of wind
|Waterloo Wind Farm in South Australia
|This photo shows how little scrub need be cleared for a
- Wind power is safe.
Wind power has an excellent
safety record; there are
far fewer deaths per GWh of wind energy generated than for coal, oil, LPG
and hydro electricity.
There is absolutely no evidence that wind turbines cause
- Wind turbines are not
contrary to claims by Wind Watch.
One can easily carry out a normal conversation right beneath a wind turbine
without raising one's voice at all.
A wind turbine is quieter than a car travelling at 80km/hr.
I have visited many wind farms and have only once heard a wind turbine from a
distance greater than 2.5km, and they can only be heard at those distances
in near ideal conditions (for
example, if there was a car travelling on the road within 2km of me, I
could no longer hear the turbines because of the noise made by the car).
- Wind farms do not reduce
Falls in property values is another common lie perpetrated by Wind Watch and
the rest of the anti-wind community.
There is no evidence that more than minor, temporary, reductions to property
values result from wind farm construction.
- Wind farms do not necessarily require
special transmission lines.
Contrary to one of the claims made by Wind Watch, the extensive development of wind power does not necessarily require the building of expensive new transmission lines.
For example, South Australia, where I live, went from no wind power to over 40% wind power without the need for any additional transmission lines (other than those short lines needed for connecting the wind farms to the existing grid).