Wind power facts

                                       SEA Three Peaks Declaration June 21st 2009 Ben Nevis summit

       SEA recommends the following websites for further reading on wind power


Wind power and noise... The Scottish Executive published results of a public opinion survey which found that " before construction of the Scottish wind farms studied, 12% of people living near the sites thought that the turbines would cause a noise nuisance, but after construction, only 1% thought they were noisy".
        Studies into wind farms and how they may affect local residents have been carried out by the UK Government. In August 2007, the UK's most comprehensive study into the noise created by wind farms, concluded that, despite arguments to the contrary, the incidence about noise is low.. Acoustics researches at Manchester University, investigated complaints of noise created by aerodynamic modulation - AM ( also know as amplitude modulation), a phenomenon sometimes compared to a distant train. It was discovered that the number of complaints about noise from wind turbines is relatively insignificant compared with noise complaints with other sources. The study found that 239 formal noise complaints over a 15 year period ( an average of just 16 a year) for the whole of the UK were made in respect of wind turbines, this compares with the national average of  300,000 per single year for noise complaints in general.
        Based on the University's findings, the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform ( DBERR) considers this matter not to be an issue for the UK's wind farm fleet, nor does it consider that there is a compelling case for more work at this time
         The Salford University report followed another study concluded in in 2006, also commissioned by the DTI ( now BDERR), know as the Hayes Makenzie Report. This concluded that there was no evidence of health effects arising from low frequency noise or infrasound generated by wind turbines
Wind power and tourism... In August 2003, 20 GREENPEACE volunteers interviewed over 650 tourists with regard to the proposed Scarweather offshore wind farm in Swansea Bay. The result was emphatic - 96% said that they would be "more likely" or "just as likely" to return for a beach holiday after the wind farm was built, only 4% were against.
         In 2002 a MORI poll in the Argyll are of Scotland found that 80" tourists said that they would be interested in visiting a wind farm if it were open to the public with a visitor centre, while 91% of respondents said they would not be put off visiting  an area because of the presence of wind farms.
         When engaging with members of the public in north Wales and providing the opportunity to support the Gwynt-Y-Mor offshore wind farm. Sustainable Energy Alliance, with the help of Friends of the Earth Cymru, collected close to 5000 letters of support for the project, many of these were from visitors to the area and a good few of those were from overseas.
Wind power and house prices... A report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and Oxford Brookes University ( May 2007) found that no clear relationship between property prices and the proximity of wind farms.
Wind power and subsidies...Almost all energy systems receive subsidies in one form or another. Opponents of wind energy often complain of subsidies to wind but seem far less concerned about the larger subsidies handed out to fossil fuels and nuclear power,. According to the New Economics foundation, " Up In Smoke" (2004) , industrialised countries ( OECD) provided a subsidy of $73 Bn a year to their fossil fuel industries in the 1990's with a further $162 Bn subsidising fossil fuels in non OCED countries. It is thought that by 2020, the wholesale of onshore wind will be less than that of coal and gas.
Wind power and popularity...A great deal of research has been taken into public attitudes towards wind power, and that  time and time again the vast majority have shown support. For example, a Liverpool University Dissertation (for Coal Clough  Lancashire 1996) showed 96% support and 4% against, the NWP open day ( for Trysglwyn, Wales 1996) also found 96% support and 4% against and the DTI found that for Cemaes in Wales ( 1992/3) 86% were in favour, 1% against and 13% had no opinion.
The latest Public Attitudes Tracker (Wave 23)  published by the Government showed that support for renewable energy sources remained high: 84% of respondents said they supported solar energy, 79% said they supported both offshore wind and wave and tidal, 74%supported onshore wind and 69% supported biomass.
  • Wind power and efficiency...Wind power blows at variable speed, variable intensity and sometimes not at all, However this variability is not a problem for the National Grid. Wind power is accurately forecast over the time frames relevant to the network operators and other market participants. Increasing the proportion of wind power in the electricity system does not require greater backup capacity, as it is often believed. Many renewable energy sources ( including wind power) are small scale and so connect into low voltage distribution networks, this means that losses in the electricity network maybe reduced. Generation from UK wind farms ( on and offshore) has increased year on year and data from BEIS shows that it has increased from 10.286TWh in 2010 to 37.368TWh in 2016. It is anticipated that 2017 will be a record year, figures for last year will be available in March

  • Wind power and bird kills...When taken into context, the threat to birds from wind turbines is exceptionally low. At worst, avian mortality's per turbine per year is equivalent to 1-2 birds, but it is often much lower.BY comparison, it is estimated that every year, more than 10 million birds are killed by cars alone in the UK. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill killed more than 500,000 birds.    In the USA, each year; 57 million birds die in collisions with vehicles, 1.25 million in collisions with tall structures, 97.5 million in collisions with plate glass and 100 are killed by pet cats.