Jessica Lenz | 07/06/2021
Wind energy and its myths
Wind energy is becoming increasingly economical, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and air pollution. Despite its great potential, wind power has been criticised for some time, or rather always. For a long time now, there have been many myths about wind energy. We would like to address these myths and explain this issue as well.
Any house can own a windmill
Basically, there is a lot to consider when building a wind turbine. There are wide varieties of approval procedures and prior inspections to determine whether the site/land is suitable for the construction of a wind turbine. Small wind turbines, for example, can be built for one’s own house, but in most cases a building permit is required for this as well. In addition, the question arises whether the construction is worthwhile, because the plant would also have to be able to generate enough electricity for a household.
(see also: Small wind turbines, German)
Wind turbines can freeze during cold temperatures
Wind turbines are designed to handle freezing temperatures. The blades of the turbines can continue to turn even when temperatures drop below freezing. In fact, in some cases, more electricity can be generated in cold temperatures than in hot temperatures.
(see also: Fraunhofer Institute,German)
Wind Energy is unpredictable
Certainly, just like sun or rain, wind is dependent on the conditions of nature. Wind turbines are built at locations which are suitable for the production of wind energy. For instance, Germany is located between the North and the Baltic Sea across the Alpine region, which is very well suited for wind energy production. Generally, wind is predictable almost all the time and Germany is well suitable as a location.
(see also: German Federal Environmental Agency ,German )
Wind turbines are noisy
Modern wind turbines are designed to generate very little noise. The resulting noise is mainly generated by the blade movements in the air. There are strict regulations regarding the maximum noise level that wind turbines are allowed to produce. On average, modern turbines are no louder than a conventional washing machine.
(see also: Wind industry, German)
Wind turbines are unpleasing and unpopular
It is always a matter of taste whether someone finds a wind turbine attractive to the eye or not – this will always remain a personal opinion.
Infrasound generated by wind turbines makes people sick
Infrasound is known as the sound that lies below the human perception threshold. This type of sound is described as annoying, can cause nausea, sleep disturbances and anxiety. According to research, we are surrounded by infrasound every day, from storms to wind to our own heartbeat. However, the infrasound generated by wind turbines is very low, so the effects on humans are insignificant.
(see also: https://www.br.de/nachrichten/wissen/rechenfehler-infraschall-von-windraedern-schwaecher-als-behauptet,SVPJbfO and BR 24, German News Service, German)
Wind turbines kill birds
For any wind farm project, it is necessary to conduct a wildlife survey in advance to the area where the wind farm will be constructed. Most wind farms are located away from major migration routes, important foraging, breeding, and roosting areas for those bird species known to be at risk. The environmental impact of operating wind farms is closely monitored and the impact of wildlife is minimal. There are also already some intelligent systems that specialize in this very issue: Wind Energy and Conservation.
(see also: Wind energy and nature conservation)
Wind Turbines kill the forestry
When wind farms are built in forests, they are regularly built on bare areas that have been caused by storms or strong winds. Sometimes, however, trees have to be cleared to make construction possible. However, the requirement is that for every tree cleared, a new one must be planted. Environmental protection is very strict in Germany, in particular 98% of forest areas are not available for the construction of wind turbines, for the protection of the environment. According to the Federal Environmental Agency, wind turbines may be installed anywhere outside built-up areas of course if the public has no objections.
(see also: BWE, German Wind Energy Association, German).
Wind turbines scare tourists away
The Kiel Institute for Tourism in Northern Europe conducted a survey asking guests if wind farms would affect their vacation. Only 1 in 100 guests would avoid a vacation spot because a wind farm is nearby. In fact, majority of the visitors enjoy the having these green energy consumption farms around their vacation homes.
(see also: Kiel Institute for Tourism, German)
In today’s world, technology is advancing rapidly. In the fight against global warming, renewable resources are crucial for a better future. It is very important to compare wind energy with fossil fuels and to question them as well.