Wind Turbine Myth Buster

There are a lot of myths surrounding Wind turbines and their Operation.

Some of these are based on truths, half truths or blatant lies spread by vested interests.
When you read on you will realize how malicious and childish some of these are!

• Darn thing is ugly! – Is it? An aerodynamic design is rarely ugly.

A Lear Jet, a Porsche 911 or a Ferrari is an eye turner anywhere on any day! These engineering marvels are not pieces of machinery but are creations beautifying what ever the landscape they are in. You have probably seen images of hundred of wind turbines against Green back drops of fields. How did you feel about them? Mind you, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

• Wind turbines harm the locality’s they are in!-What are the exact complains leveled against?

a) The land value in the surrounding area decreases:
This is not based on facts. In fact the surveys carried out around wind turbine farms in the USA show the contrary is true.

b) The Wind Turbine Farms turn away tourists:

This is again imaginary. There are many recorded instances in the USA which that wind farms are a tourist attraction (for eg. in Virginia).

Many forget ecotourism catering to nature lovers and those concerned with the environment is a specialized field generating huge earnings for communities. It is a familiar scene to many who live near Wind Farms to see tourists stop their vehicles by the roadway and admire the beautiful giants far away standing sentinel and take snap shots with them as the back drop. California where you find farms with hundreds of Wind Turbines does not show any decrease in tourist arrivals in the neighbourhoods.

c) The Wind Farms do not benefit the coffers of the Local Government Authorities!

Again misinformation! Just like any other investment where the capital outlay is high a wind farm increases the taxable assets in the community. Indirectly the installation and operation brings about employment, increases revenue of tourist hotels and saves quite a some needed for the infrastructure development by way of cutting down of energy production costs.

• Wind Turbines are dangerous-

So are motor vehicles! Two specific possibilities cited are;
i. Ice Throws in the winter from frozen blades
ii. They may throw blades or Collapse
Ice throw if at all are rare for the simple reason the measures inbuilt against noise transmission in blades prevent this too. Any ice build up will slow the rotor and the inbuilt safety controls of the wind turbine would shut plant down.

Regarding the second point it must be said that during the infant stages of the industry this did happen (many decades ago!). The reason was mainly the lack of knowledge and bad engineering!
Industry has developed far beyond this stage and today these are unheard of. Also notably the rotational speed of a turbine is only in the region of 40 to 50 rpm (eg. in an average 150 kw plant).

• Wind Turbines Kill Birds and Bats-In essence this true, but studies carried out in the USA show that the mortality due to other human activities is 10,000 times more! However in spite of this the industry takes a serious view on this during pre project surveys and serious assessments are generally carried out.

• Wind turbines generate power only during a small period of time- They do produce power during 60 to 80% of the time depending on the site location but the capacity varies. Are there any power plants producing 100% of the name plate capacity at 100% of the time? At times they are shut down totally for maintenance or are operated at part capacity due to load demand fluctuations. Wind Turbines on the other hand are installed where sufficient wind is available for full capacity but by nature the wind velocity fluctuates and the out put will not be 100% all the time.

• Wind Energy is Expensive-Not true at all. It is true that the apparent capital cost of wind turbines is high (just like any other modern conventional power plant). But what is considered in real evaluations is the “levelized” costs which include the Capital cost, Fuel cost,
Operational cost and Maintenance cost over the life time of the plant.
A wind turbine has only a hand full of moving parts!

The above is only a few examples of prevailing myths (among some!) on wind turbines. The wind turbine, no doubt can and will weather all such misinformation quite safely.

Thanks the Techstore Team

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