The Cost of Wind Energy Production

A World Economic Forum white paper published in 2016 reported that the costs of wind and solar energy are lower than the costs of building new coal or other plants. New technologies often take time to become competitive with more mature alternatives, but wind energy is developed to the point where it has become very competitive, and costs continue to decline.

Wind Turbines and Wildlife

Scientific studies show buildings, cars, power lines, and radio cell phone towers cause far more deaths to birds than wind turbines – and that house cats kill 1.3 to 4 billion birds a year alone. Nevertheless, wind farm developers take protection of wildlife very seriously. Developers typically conduct robust pre-construction bird and bat use surveys; the results of these studies are used to place wind turbines where fewer impacts will occur.

Wind farm operators are also required to conduct post-construction fatality monitoring for birds and batsand must work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Arizona Game & Fish Department on corrective measures if fatalities exceed estimates.

sPower is an active member of several scientific organizations, including the American Wind Wildlife Institute and the Wind and Wildlife Research Fund. Through working with these groups, we voluntarily support, fund, and participate in long-term wind-wildlife research to reduce the wind energy industry’s impact on wildlife resources. 

Wind Farms and Property Value

In 2009, a Berkeley National Laboratory researcher published a study analyzing data from approximately 7,500 sales of single-family homes within 10 miles of 24 existing wind facilities in nine different states and found “no evidence… that home prices surrounding wind facilities are consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of wind facilities or the distance of the home to those facilities.

His second study in 2013 examined more than 50,000 home sales within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities in 27 states and found “no statistical evidence that home prices near wind turbines were affected in either the post-construction or post-announcement/pre-construction periods.

Wind Turbines and Noise

Modern turbine designs have greatly reduced the mechanical sounds to where the normal wind farm sound is a light whooshing as the blades pass through the air.

Other factors do play a part, such as distance from the turbine, height, topography, vegetation and wind conditions, but overall wind farms are remarkably quiet. In fact, because the wind is blowing whenever the turbines are spinning, the sound of the blades’ movement is often lost in the sound of the wind itself.

The Chevelon Butte Wind Farm will comply with all applicable noise standards and is not expected to be heard at any surrounding residential properties in Coconino and Navajo Counties, due to the remote location of the project and lack of nearby residences within several miles.

Wind Turbines and Low-frequency Sounds

One common question about wind turbines concerns the effects of infrasound – sound at frequencies outside the range of normal human hearing.

Infrasound comes from a number of sources, including wind, ocean waves, breathing and even your beating heart. Scientific studies have found no causal link between sound patterns generated by wind turbines and health conditions.

By contrast, Scientific American recently reported that particulate pollution from fossil-fueled power plants caused more than 30,000 premature deaths, 600,000 asthma attacks and 5 million lost workdays.

Shadow Flicker

Shadow flicker occurs when the blades of a turbine pass in front of the sun to create a recurring shadow on an object.  Shadow flicker is not expected to impact any surrounding residential properties in Coconino and Navajo Counties, due to the remote location of the Chevelon Butte Wind Farm and lack of nearby residences within several miles. 

In 2009, the American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Association established a multidisciplinary scientific advisory panel to review current literature on the perceived health effects of wind turbines and found that shadow flicker is not harmful to persons with epilepsy.

The Cost of Wind Energy Production

A World Economic Forum white paper published in 2016 reported that the costs of wind and solar energy are lower than the costs of building new coal or other plants.

New technologies often take time to become competitive with more mature alternatives, but wind energy is developed to the point where it has become very competitive, and costs continue to decline.

Wind Turbine Syndrome​

A self-published book by an anti-wind activist named Nina Pierpont coined the term “wind turbine syndrome” in 2009. However, Pierpont’s conclusions have been debunked by independent scientific studies from government research bodies around the world.

A 2014 scientific review published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Public Health strongly refutes the existence of wind turbine syndrome, and numerous reviews of peer-reviewed scientific studies have concluded that wind turbines do not cause health problems.