Watt about wind power?

The most recent Watts Up With That (WUWT) post is a guest post by someone called Viv Forbes and is called the faults, fallacies, and failures of wind power. I don’t want to comment too much about what Viv Forbes has claimed as a lot appears to have be rebutted by uknowispeaksense in a post from last year. What I found most interesting about this uknowispeaksense post was the rate of mortality when birds collide with man-made structures, which I reproduce below. This would seem to suggest that we could substantially expand the number of wind turbines and they would still not be a dominant mad-made structure in terms of bird deaths. Alternatively, if climate skeptics are so worried about the bird deaths, they should be campaigning for the removal of a large number of man-made structures.

Table from American Bird Conservancy highlighting numbers of bird deaths through collision with various man-made structures.

Table from American Bird Conservancy highlighting numbers of bird deaths through collision with various man-made structures.

Something else that this uknowispeaksense post highlighted was that Viv Forbes appears to be a Director of Stanmore coal. Stanmore coal is a growing coal exploration and development company with assets located in the Surat and Bowen Basins in central Queensland. Okay, so the person who is telling us that wind turbines are inefficient, dangerous and won’t actually help climate change, is a director of a coal company. Hmmm, interesting!

The only other thing I was going to say is that in the WUWT post Viv claims that

the subsonic whine of the turbines drives neighbours batty and devalues local properties.

Quite ironic then that it was reported yesterday that an EPA report finds wind farm noise is not a risk to South Australian rural properties. The report indicated that

“the evidence indicates that sound can only affect health at sound levels that are loud enough to be easily audible. This means that if you cannot hear a sound, there is no known way that it can affect health”.

The report also indicated that the noise from wind turbines was lower than many other everyday environmental noises. Basically, it seems like there is no evidence that subsonic noise from wind turbines can cause health problems, or that wind turbines are creating any particularly significant level of extra noise. So, not only is the person telling us that wind turbines are a bad idea a coal industry executive, he also seems to be ignoring quite good evidence that suggests that some (maybe quite a lot) of what he is claiming is basically wrong.

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5 Responses to Watt about wind power?

  1. cvdanes says:

    The only thing lacking about wind power is power density, but it has proven itself as a reliable and clean source of power 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    It’s a curious position to take to argue against wind power on the basis of bird deaths while simultaneously supporting fossil fuel use when climate change is likely to cause the extinction of entire species. Half a million birds pales in comparison.

    I get frustrated with people who argue against every form of renewable power – wind, solar, nuclear, hydro…but yet they still use fossil fuels. As George Monbiot says, they’d be better off arguing in favour of blackouts.

  3. I guess it’s curious to people who feel that the evidence for global warming is strong. To those who don’t agree with that, it is not. Of course, they’re ignoring swathes of evidence, so it is still remarkable.

    I too get frustrated by those who seem to just argue against anything renewable. Even without the issue of global warming, it’s seems clear that we should be investing in renewables. Global warming just makes it something we should do sooner rather than later.

  4. bg says:

    For completeness sake what is important to add to your table on estimated bird deaths are those due to domestic and feral cats – another human source of deaths. And from my reading a rather large one.

  5. Yes, I looked some of this up after posting this and that indeed seems to be the case. It may be as high as 500 million per year in the US.

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