Are wind farms a good solution to fossil fuelled power plants?

@sulynsi (2834)
Canada
May 8, 2009 5:41am CST
I live in a place where there are several wind farms, in fact I live about 500 metres from one. I would have thought that it was a good thing, green energy. However, listening this morning to the radio, a lot of locals are NOT happy. They are worried about their property values, noise(believe it or not), fears from EMF damage. Of course, not everyone is upset. Those who have turbines on their land are quite happy. WHat I don't like is that we don't get to use the energy it generates. It gets sold to another country. How about you? Anything like this where you live?
2 people like this
9 responses
• India
8 May 09
no we have hydroelectric power stations in my place...there is therefore inundation of land and wildlife habitat..in some places there is modification of fish habitat and in some cases changes in reservoir and stream water quality...these are few problems we face.... i know that the wind farms have such problems as you mentioned... but we should think in broader perspective..the advantages of such farms are minimal pollution, reducing greenhouse gas emissions,use of renewable sources,less maintenance cost etc...so i think we should forget all their disadvantages... yeah...it's right ..we never get to use the electricity obtained from there..but we should consider the fact that by selling electricity your country is making money which is used for the betterment of your soceity...it's for your development..so minor disadvantages should not be taken and you should work for your country...
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@sulynsi (2834)
• Canada
8 May 09
I tend to agree. I don't mind the windmill close to me. In fact, I'd rather see it than a nuclear power plant or coal fired generator. My husband complains of the noise, but all I hear is the sound of the wind, or it sounds a bit like the surf, and only when I'm listening for it.
2 people like this
• Germany
8 May 09
I got in touch with wind energy about 8 years ago and I have bought a share from one generator (small share only, because the whole wind mill cost about 1 million €). I can say that it is a very reliable technology and it will be the future of producing electricity in my country (Germany). Remarkable contributions to Germany's energy mix wind will bring next years when the windparks in the North Sea will be connected to the grid. Another great choice (avoiding the windmill noise) is photovolatic energy. I have 28 panels on my roof and they produce about 1000 kWh per year. During 5 years was no failure up to now.
• Finland
8 May 09
getting electricity wind power way is a great way to supplement the problem locally. I don´t know the german situation...but i´m pretty close to you guys (fin) But as i see it European wise...more can be done with actual heat(thats energy to). Like how our houses are heated. manytimes transforming electricity to heat. It´s sometimes the only way to do it...but that has more to do with how european citys is (how they where back in the day). electricity to heat is a cheap way of making heat if you basicly have you countrys electricity coverd. But getting electricity in the first place. You need powerpants(nuklear/wind/water that even matter electricty vice on a big scale)...and the ecoaffect of this... So i think there is more to be done with getting the heat....that would affect the "big picture"
• Finland
8 May 09
and yes i´m northern of you...but as i see it the problem is how long "wintertime" is not that you in germany prolly have a couple of degress over our looking over the whole year...
@mariposaman (2967)
• Canada
8 May 09
Most people do not want the technology close to them. There was a wind farm proposed for Lake Ontario, right in the lake where there is lots of wind, and so many people objected. There was a solar farm proposed for a tract of land out in the country and the neigbors all objected because it would spoil their view. It seems everyone does not mind using the electricity, just do not make them look at it in their neigbourhood. It is ok to flood millions of acres of land for a hydro electric dam "out there" as long as it does not bother them. Or build a nuclear power plant somewhere else, just supply me the electricity and do not bother me with the details like a polluting coal fired plant with its mercury and acid rain. I think windmills dotting the landscape look beautiful but I have not had to live near one.
1 person likes this
• Canada
8 May 09
I might add they need to figure out a way of storing the electricity to be used later. Generate hydrogen or store the excess power in the form of batteries of heat up some water and use the heat later. That way I would guess wind power would be more acceptable if it could be stored.
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@Boffle (124)
8 May 09
I also live in an area where there are a lot of wind farms. When they were first installed there was lots of local opposition not so much because of the noise but because people thought that they were an eyesore that would make it more difficult for them to sell their houses. In countries where it's possible, I think it's much better if these things can be sited out to sea where no-one is affected by them, but since we need to generate power somehow, I guess they are a necessary evil: I don't know about you but I would certainly prefer to live next to a wind farm than next to a nuclear or coal-fired power station.
• Germany
9 May 09
Yes indeed, to live besides a wind farm is quite a lot of lower risk than besides a nuclear reactor. I am living 15 km besides Germany's oldest nuclear reactor and I was happy when it as shut down some years ago. Referring to the windfarms in the North Sea I have understood that in a few years they will operate and be able to contribute more electricity than all our German windmills on land.
@GADHISUNU (2163)
• India
8 May 09
There are others but Wind Energy being green and available should be used. I dont think the noise is unbearable.Sometime back I read that Solar Thermal Power Generators were being planned in California but people had objections to it as they would raise the temperature of the surroundings; though this is a painful side effect, again being green energy it is a better alternative to Fossil Fuel PS. In short anything is better than Fossil Fuelled PS. Photovoltaic Power Generation is attractive but is viable but only with Government subsidies. Then, there is a kind of Wind based Power Generation which relies on Jet Streams at heights of about 1 to 2 Kms above ground. These power generation units will have better efficiencies as the natural stabilisation of frequency is possible due to relative constancy of windspeed at such heights. IMO, well it is just my opinion, I would bet on Nuclear, but not the Fission based Generation. We must seriously research Nuclear Fusion.If one could get on to Fusion without the intermediary of Fission, then one has really an inexhaustible source of High amounts of Energy, that is Clean. But as on date there is no technology.
• Germany
9 May 09
Are you really sure fusion reactors will be clean compared to fission reactors? I doubt it, because atomic nuclei are involved and it might happen like it was with fission reactors: Nice reaction schemes on the paper for the main reaction, while side reaction and byproducts destroy the equipment. After 30 - 40 years concrete, steel walls and pipes are "tired" and give out radiation. They need to be deposited as radioactive waste (probably paid by the public because the power producers will try to escape when there is no profit anymore). These side reactions should be even more and stronger than in fission reactors because the energies involved are simply higher. Just look what cocktail of ultra high energy particles the sun throws out as solar wind. I don't think fusion reactors will be very much different.
• India
9 May 09
Wind energy is a very effective way to counter the increase in global warming and the need for more electrical energy. I was seeing this show on Discovery where a group of people developed a balloon shaped like a turbine with blades and connected to a dynamo. They released it up in the air and with the wind speed it rotated. Due to the rotation, current was produced and it was more than 220 V. This was we can use wind energy to curb the use of fossil fuels and water. It's sad that the power produced in your place is sold out to others, but you can be happy that they do not have a thermal plant which sells the power. bourne
1 person likes this
@derry123 (611)
8 May 09
I dont live near to a wind farm But I feel they are a good source of energy . I understand there is a certain buzz around them . I think they look really peacefull on the landscape and especially out at sea.
@ShepherdSpy (8561)
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 May 09
I'm generally of the opinion that renewable energy production is a good thing,but then, where I live ISN'T in one of the remote hilly or mountainous areas where they usually build the turbines,so the novelty of free energy (once the investment pays off!) and seeing them has yet to wear off..I'd like to visit one of the sites,but was told a local site wasn't open to the public when following a road sign pointing to a nearby windfarm when out for a drive one day..Maybe living right beside one of them,or having the value of my land or home reduced,my opinion would change! I wouldn't like to live in a place where there are high voltage lines near houses, having seen a programme on EMF radiation a while back..There is an HEP station not far from where I live near Lough Erne,(a Large inland freshwater lake),and I heard recently fish stocks (eels in particular) had suffered as they had difficulty getting back due to the damming of the river..Don't they build "Fish Ladders" to help solve this? I heard that was the case in Scotland to help Salmon get upstream..In saying that,One of the local events that attracts international participants that just ended on the Lough,an annual fishing tournament,reported a new record catch for the winner,up again on previous years,so something is going ok..(but then again,Eels aren't one of the types of fish being recorded for this competition..) Do you have competition among electricity suppliers where you live? Can you choose between providers for the best service? Here,there is a monopoly-just one company providing electricity at this time,and I recently heard we are subsidising a system that ALLOWS for competition,yet We don't have an option to switch!(Unless you build your OWN domestic turbine!) So long as the money earned from Electricity being generated in your area is being pumped back into addressing any problems that arise from the installations,things should work out..keep talking with the company and raising the issues publicly to get them sorted out! Good Luck!
• United States
8 May 09
I think wind turbines are a great thing! Yes, there is some noise associated with them. However, what doesnt produce noise today? A farmer in his fields produces noise. Cars driving past produce noise. Power lines have that distinctive buzzing sound. I am sure there are people who have lived somewhere for a long time that are upset when the turbines are built. But the same would be true if a different power source was built somewhere! If those wind turbines weren't built and a coal power plant had to be built somewhere else, there would be a different group of unhappy people! I really wish the US would jump on that bandwagon more. I know that there are many wind turbines going up all over the midwest area. I saw some parts on trucks when I was driving out there last year. In the end, I believe it will save the countries a lot of money. You dont have to worry about running out of wind! As for your complaint about not being able to use that energy because it is sold to other countries, that is silly. All of the electricity produced goes into the power grid. They dont seperate the wind energy from the nuclear energy. Your country is charging a premium to another country to help pay for the new technology. But everyone is really benefitting from using greener sources to produce electricity!
@sulynsi (2834)
• Canada
8 May 09
I agree about the noise issue. It puzzles me why people make such a fuss about it. No, it is not silly. I thought the same thing. Apparently, the way it is set up, we DON"T use our own energy! Weird but true. I guess it is because we are on an island. Our electricity feeds over from the mainland. The turbines are on a separate line. I'm no expert, but that is a simple explanation. I can guarantee you, that our electic bill didn't decrease. In fact it inceased by one third over the last year due to the cost of OIL. Why, if we are benefitting from wind energy, would oil prices affect our costs?