WilloWind Energy is a developer and operator of wind farms in the UK

WILLOWIND ENERGY

Myths About Wind

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1.          Myth: Wind farms will not produce a lot of electricity 

Fact:  A standard 2MW wind turbine can produce enough electricity a year to meet the average annual electricity needs of 1,000 homes.

2.          Myth: Wind turbines are noisy

Fact: The national planning policy for Renewables has strict guidelines on noise pollution and local authorities have the power to add their own additional limits if necessary. Advances in wind turbine technology mean that low noise levels at distances prescribed by the planning guidelines are difficult to hear.

Activity

Indicative noise level dB

Rural night-time background

20-40

Quiet bedroom

35

Wind farm at 350m

35-45

Car at 40mph at 100m

55

Busy general office

60

Truck at 30mph at 100m

65

Pneumatic drill at 7m

95

Jet aircraft at 250m

105

3.         Myth: The energy taken to build a wind farm is more than the wind farm will create

Fact: Although the energy payback period depends on the turbine capacity, wind speeds and site specific characteristics, the average energy payback is expected to be 6-8 months. The average life of a wind farm is 25 years.

4.         Myth: Wind farms have a negative effect on tourism

Fact: A report commissioned by the Scottish government in 2008 to study the economic impacts of wind farms on Scottish tourism found that wind farms would have no effect on 93-99% of the visitor’s decision to return to Scotland. A study undertaken by the University of the West England on the effects of a proposed wind farm in Devon concluded that wind farms are in fact a positive draw for tourists and there is no “overall financial loss in tourism-related earnings as a result of the wind farm development”

5.         Myth: Wind farms harm property prices 

Fact: A report conducted by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (“RICS”) and Oxford Brookes University concluded that there is no clear relationship between the distance of wind farms and property prices.

6.         Myth: Wind turbines only operate 30% of the time

Fact: On average a standard wind turbine is deemed to generate approximately 30% of its maximum theoretical capacity which is called the load factor. A standard turbine will actually generate electricity 70-85% of the time.

7.         Myth: Wind farms will always need back up sources of energy

Fact: The level of wind speeds may vary during different points in the year. However, all forms of electricity generation require a backup system as no energy producing technology can be relied on 100%, this includes wind farms. However, using renewable technologies, such as wind farms, does displace power from other forms of energy technology which emit greenhouse gases.         

8.         Myth: Wind farms kill birds

Fact: Wind farms are required to adhere to Environmental Impact Assessment guidelines which look at the design of the wind farm and take the effect of the environment and wildlife, including birds, into consideration. In 2004 the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) stated that they believe that the UK has not witnessed “any major adverse effects on birds associated with wind farms”.

9.         Myth: Wind farm developers must rely on Government subsidies to build wind farms

Fact: A wind farm will only qualify for the Renewable Obligation Certificate once it is constructed and operational for every MW of electricity it produces. The costs associated with the lifecycle of a wind farm are typically financed by private capital.