There are many benefits of wind energy, including reduced ongoing emissions, financial savings, jobs, and the opportunities to revive depressed rural areas.
But of course there are also some environmental impacts that come with it, which must be considered. We’ll explore these environmental impacts below.
One of the major concerns with regards to wind turbines and wind farms is its impact on the inhabitants, both human and animal, that live in close proximity to wind farms.
The wildlife most likely to be adversely affected by wind farms are birds and bats, who are susceptible to things such as disturbance, habitat loss and collisions.
There have been a number of high profile wind farms that have been delayed and/or cancelled due to environmental concerns, including:
According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, “if wind farms are located away from major migration routes and important feeding, breeding, and roosting areas of at-risk bird species, it is likely that they will have minimal impacts” .
In order to minimize these risks it is essential that a thorough study of the area, including an environmental impact assessment, is conducted before planning the building of wind farms.
Another concern is the effects that wind farms and wind turbines have on people living in proximity to the sites.
The most common complaint is that wind farms are an eye-sore, and a blight on the natural landscape and scenery.
Residents living near wind farms also have both psychological and physiological complaints.
Some complain of not being able to sleep due to turbine noise, and psychological issues due to the low decibel sound and vibration that the turbines produce.
The Canadian and American wind energy associations requested an expert panel review the situation and investigate. The resulting document, Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects  determined the following:
In order to alleviate some of these issues the best plan should be to educate the residents about the impact of the wind farm.
When undertaking the development of a wind farm, planners should also take into consideration the number of residents in the area, and should consider finding areas that are less densely populated to construct wind farms.
In addition, new technological developments, and methods to reduce wildlife mortality should be prioritized, to make this clean, green energy source that much greener.
The United State department of energy reports, “According to the American Wind Energy Association, employment in the wind industry’s manufacturing sector has increased from 2,500 jobs in 2004 to 20,000 in 2010, with an estimated additional 14,000 manufacturing jobs planned.”
One of the most important factors in using wind energy is that it does not have the negative environmental impact that fossil fuels do. Wind energy, unlike fossil fuels, does not produce greenhouse gases, the discharge of particles and other pollutants into the atmosphere, or cause liquid or solid wastes to be discharged into water and/or soil .
Between the savings on energy costs for consumers that can be realized by the use of wind energy, and the increased number of employed individuals, the benefit to economies are substantial.
 U.S. Department of Energy. Wind and Water Program. Wind Energy Benefits
 Wind Energy, The Facts. Environmental Benefits
 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Wind Farms
 Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects: An Expert Panel Review
 Renewable Energy World. Wind energy outlook 2012: An uncertain forecast. Retrieved from http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/12/wind-energy-outlook-2012-an-uncertain-forecast?page=2
 Save Our Sound: http://www.saveoursound.org/
This post was last modified on April 5, 2019 1:23 pm