Series 1, Post 3: Myths About Renewable Energy – featuring environmental impact

Unexpectedly, another big myth about Renewable Energy is that it’s bad for the environment, as well as the communities that surround these plants.  To be fair, those who are adamant renewable energy is bad for the environment are mostly talking about wind power, and although some of what they believe is true the situation isn’t quite as dire as they’d like us to believe.   If you’d listen to some of the rumors, you’d think wind harvesters have steadily been killing off the planet’s bird population.  To their point, wind turbines do kill birds – but so do cars, skyscrapers, and pollution.  Humans have had bird blood on their hands for years, and as intimidating as a field of wind turbines may appear, according to the US Department of Energy they’re statistically only responsible for a few bird deaths – less than 1 in every 30,000.  This number drops even lower now that more environmental impact assessments are being conducted and migratory and local bird population patterns are evaluated prior to construction.   Aside from bird deaths, wind power also has a reputation for being a noise nuisance in the communities where the turbines are built.  When you look at how massive the wind turbine farms are, it’s easy to believe the noise is equivalent to living near an airport but surprisingly it’s just the opposite.  Modern turbine technology renders them relatively silent, essentially no louder than the steady whine of wind through the blades.  In fact, you can even have a normal conversation while standing right next to one.  When broken down into decibels a typical wind farm scores between 35 and 45, which is right between a quiet bedroom (which scores at 35) and a 40-mile-per-hour car (which is measured at 55) – another reason to take this myth with a grain of salt.   Land use for renewable energy, such as wind farms, can also still be used for farming and cattle grazing and studies have shown that livestock are completely unaffected by the presence of wind farms and will often graze right up to the base of wind turbines.  This in turn actually benefits the communities and economy where these farms are located.   Many complaints of renewable energy farms, both solar and wind, came from those who were opposed to the farms on aesthetic grounds, which was the same with coal or nuclear plants.  However, many complaints drop off rapidly when local communities derive income from the renewable energy projects in question.  Like with anything nowadays there will always be those who protest, but it’s important to remember the facts before believing everything you hear.  Renewable energy has a bright future and each country of the world should be opting in it for a secure, healthy environment and for a brilliant future.

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