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Monday, March 23, 2009

Fact sheet addresses turbines and health

From Turbines and Health published by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):

The American Lung Association’s agenda for the new administration, Protect the Air We Breathe: An Agenda for Clean Air, states: “Climate, energy and clean air are inexorably linked. Solutions that lead to cleaner air must be included in any approach to cleaner, more efficient energy use and reductions in global warming.”

Wind energy is one such solution - a clean energy source that can provide communities with decreased greenhouse gas emissions, along with air quality improvements and corresponding human health benefits. . . .

+ The wind industry takes health concerns seriously . . .
+ Wind energy can help improve air quality . . .
+ Wind energy can help reduce global warming pollutants . . .
+ Wind plants are very quiet compared to other types of industrial facilities, such as manufacturing plants. But wind plants typically are located in rural or low-density residential areas, where turbine noise may be more obvious because background noise is lower than in urban areas. On the other hand, the turbine noise may often be masked by the noise of the wind itself - especially since turbines are located where the wind speed is higher than average and because they operate only when the wind is blowing.
+ The sounds emitted from wind turbines can be mechanical, from internal equipment such as the gearbox or yaw drive, or aerodynamic, from air moving past the rotor blades. Current turbine designs effectively reduce mechanical sound through sound proofing; therefore, the aerodynamic sound, often described as a “whooshing” sound, is what can normally be heard.
+ There is no reliable evidence that low-frequency sound from wind turbines is a problem . . .
+ Shadow flicker occurrence is easily calculated . . .
+ Shadow flicker is not harmful to persons with epilepsy. The allegation is sometimes made that shadow flicker from wind turbines can cause epileptic seizures. This is not true—shadow flicker from wind turbines occurs much more slowly than the light “strobing” associated with seizures. The strobe rates necessary to cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy are 3 to 5 flashes per second and large wind turbine blades cannot rotate this quickly.

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