Anaheim Convention Center, Southern California, last week was a hot bed of one of the ultimate forms of renewable energy. The “fuel” used by wind turbines (really the wind) is free for the 30 year life span of the windmill installation, is considered inflation proof, and is 100 % domestically available.
Just a brief walk through the trade exhibition convinces any visitor of European as well as Chinese commitment to wind energy. One guest speaker, Ted Turner put it: “Just do not look at the next 30 years, look for at least a few hundred years of human energy needs.”
Conventional energy lobbyists claim that wind is unreliable and will harm operation of the grids. However, grid operators have observed that wind power is more reliable and predictable.
There are rumors that sound of operating wind will cause a variety of dangerous health effects, including headaches and disturbed sleep. The studies have shown that wind turbines at a distance of 2,000 feet (normal building codes for Wind Mills) have a dB rating close to 45 (comparing that to 55 in an average home in the USA). Normally, two people can carry on a conversation on any wind mill farm. Please remember: this energy source has no side effects such as air or water polluting emissions, no hazardous waste, and has a direct impact on reducing the public health impact of any other energy generation.
Are birds get affected by wind energy? A very legitimate question by the American Bird Conservancy needs to be addressed with honesty. The bird loss caused by buildings is about 550 million, by power lines 130 million, vehicles 80 million, poisoning by pesticide 67 million, and radio and TV towers close to 4 million. The tabulated loss by wind is under 150,000. Special attention is being paid to bats: The bats and wind energy coalition was formed in 2003 by Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Fish and wild life Service, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The view of a wind energy facility or the distance of a home from a wind mill farm had no consistent, measurable or significant impact on home values.
The current worldwide installed capacity gives a snap shot of Wind energy penetration in a given region. By 2010, the European Union was leading the world with 84,000 MW, China with 42,000 MW and the USA was at 40,000 MW. However, Denmark leads the world as percentage of total power needs fulfilled by Wind Energy: close to 20 % in 2010.
The potential of up to 20 % electricity generation that can be derived from Wind Energy is feasible, both technically as well as financially by 2030. Most land used to construct wind farms can be used for its original purpose of harvesting, grazing and farming. The actual foot print of turbine farms, roads and generating and transmitting facilities is under 3 percent of total land taken out of commission.
Wind Energy should be debated in the public forum with both energy independence and long term sustainability for our planet beyond the next election cycle.