As reported by ABC News, the Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants (AAAC) has released the findings of an investigation into the infrasound levels emitted by wind turbines. According to the Chairman of the AAAC, "People themselves generate infrasound through things like their own heartbeat, through breathing and these levels of infrasound can be substantially higher than an external noise source." Furthermore, he stated, "The levels [of infrasound] generated by windfarms from our point of view are quite low in comparison and they're no higher than what is already out there in the natural environment." Read the full story here.
An article in this week's NewsOK blog highlights new evidence that wind turbine sound does not cause problems for those living around operating wind farms. The article cites five new reports to make its case. See the full article here.
The Department of Energy has just released a new study finding "...no statistical evidence that home values near turbines were affected in the post-construction or post-announcement/ pre-construction periods." These conclusions are supported by data from more than 50,000 homes sales among 27 counties in nine states. The homes were all within 10 miles of 67 different wind facilities, and 1,198 sales were within one mile of a turbine. This sample size is much larger than samples included in previous studies. The study concludes, "...The core results of our analysis consistently show no sizable statistically significant impact of wind turbines on nearby property values." The full study is available here.
"[Wind energy] projects will reduce customer costs by providing a valuable hedge to rising and volatile fuel prices well into the future."- Ben Fowke, Chairman, President and CEO, Xcel Energy. Why do utilities like wind energy? If you ask Xcel Energy, it's the value to consumers. Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electric and natural gas company that operates in 8 states and serves 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers. Read more here.
According to a 2010 study conducted by an independent acoustic consulting firm in Australia, the levels of infrasound created by wind turbines are not only well below the internationally recognized Audibility Threshold (the level where infrasound is perceived), but they are no greater than those produced by waves at the beach. Continue reading
In April of this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists put out a report describing how renewable energy is being reliably integrated into America's electric grid. According to this report, "Renewable energy is providing reliable electricity today in the United States and around the world. From 2007 to 2012, electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar nearly quadrupled nationally. This growth is part of a transition away from dirty, coal-burning power plants—which harm public health and destabilize our climate—toward cleaner, more sustainable sources of electricity. Using existing technologies and smart policy decisions, the United States can continue this clean energy transformation while maintaining a reliable and affordable electricity system." Read the full report here.
The Production Tax Credit is an incentive that rewards a wind energy generation facility for the energy it produces during the first 10 years of its operation. It does this by giving the facility’s owner(s) a break on their taxes for each unit of energy produced (and nothing else) during that period. Once a wind farm qualifies for the PTC, it is guaranteed to receive that tax credit for the first 10 years of its operation. Continue reading
Since a wind turbine's "fuel" (wind) is free and will never change in price, wind energy helps protect consumers from the price spikes that often affect conventional fuels. According to the testimony of the Public Service Company of Colorado, utilities like wind because it “acts as a hedge against future volatility of natural gas prices.” It also offers utilities an opportunity to lock in a price for up to 25 years via a long-term contract, usually referred to as a “Power Purchase Agreement”. Just as a fixed-rate home mortgage locks in home payments, this kind of contract prevents power generation costs from increasing unpredictably over time. Continue reading
Wind farms help maintain and increase property values by boosting local economic development. They provide significant funding to schools, county governments, and other local services, which improve property values by making communities more attractive for growth and commerce. Continue reading