Tag Archives: wind turbines

Wind energy health concerns fail the test of law, repeatedly

Since 1998 there have been 47 hearings held under rules of legal evidence in at least five English-speaking countries and four types of courts regarding wind energy, noise and health. Forty-six assessed the evidence and found no potential for harm to human health, and the sole outlier is an instructive but unique case. To find […]

Vertical axis wind turbines aren’t replacing horizontal axis offshore turbines

Over the past few months, an interesting wrinkle on the vertical-axis-wind-turbines-are-better mythology has surfaced: that they are superior offshore and that many countries are investing heavily in offshore VAWTs. Over the course of several discussions, numerous named countries and companies were thrown at me, always without links or documents proving assertions. A little digging found […]

Anti-wind Experts: a species that is actually endangered by wind energy

Over the past five years, a few anti-wind campaigners with credentials or experience unrelated to wind energy and its purported effects on humans have attempted to bootstrap themselves into the role of expert witnesses on a variety of subjects that they are not qualified to speak about in civil suits, Environmental Review Tribunals in Canada […]

Ex-pharmacist Krogh repeats attempt to deceive Canadian doctors

Last year, three people with irrelevant credentials but seats on the Advisory Group of an anti-wind campaigning organization managed to bootstrap extremely weak papers and material into a Commentary in Canadian Family Physician claiming that family doctors would see health problems near wind farms. It was deeply slanted, cited extraordinarily weak evidence as if it […]

CBC’s Wind Rush documentary should be given the bum’s rush

What if I made a documentary about people suffering? What if several people talked about their horrific symptoms? What if five experts agreed that they had a real concern? What if video evidence was shown making the problem obvious? What if the only people saying that there wasn’t a problem were the people making money […]

Assessment of Quality of References from Wind Victims Ontario site

I was asked to provide an assessment of the quality of evidence referenced on the Wind Victims Ontario site. Summary: In general, they have chosen a collection of material of very low evidentiary value and reliability that has for the most part not been published in indexed, impact-factor assessed and quality journals. Those papers which […]

Ontario Tribunal dismisses health scares and health scarers

On the 23rd of December, 2013, the latest delaying challenge to building out clean, safe wind power in Ontario was thrown out by an Environmental Review Tribunal. The full decision, in all of it’s 127-page glory, can be read in full here: Bovaird v. Director, Ministry of the Environment. For your convenience, however, here are the highlights. […]

Airborne wind energy: a collection of challenging compromises

Recently, a correspondent asked me about the strengths and weaknesses of Kitegen’s Stem concept for airborne wind generation. This provided a useful opportunity to formalize my thoughts regarding design choices and the compromises that they typically entail around airborne wind energy systems. This shouldn’t be read as complete and encyclopedic, but as an instructive, 80% […]

2013 in review: a good year for reality regarding wind energy

2013 has been an extraordinarily good year for wind energy. It’s continued to be built out in large quantities world wide, maintaining its dominance as the pre-eminent form of clean energy displacing fossil fuels. Studies continue to refine the understanding of why people complain about wind farm health impacts in the absence of any reason […]

Assessing the environmental impacts of different forms of generation

Recently on Quora someone asked: Different types of energy production create different types of environmental harm – how can we compare these varying types and degrees of environmental harm in an apples-to-apples way? My answer is copied here. There are several mechanisms for cross-generation environmental impact assessment. Meta-analyses of CO2e The most important is meta-analysis of full-lifecycle CO2e-emissions, […]

Energy Crisis? What energy crisis? And where?

Recently on Quora, someone asked Is there a fundamental reason for the energy crisis in most countries? My globe-trotting answer is below. What energy crisis? Which country? Really, there isn’t much of an energy crisis that can be observed around the world. Most countries with energy problems have had energy problems for decades and will for the […]

EWICON: a wet-behind-the-ears wind ‘innovation’

Recently on Quora, someone asked Delft University’s EWICON wind generation device.  My detailed answer is below. It’s always worth looking at the actual history of these wind energy “innovations”. The Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter: electrical performance of a high voltage prototype, Djairam, D., Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Dissertation, 2008-12-10, ISBN: 978-90-8559-482-6, uuid:e1cfdada-85ea-45c4-b6e4-b798abf5917e The Electrostatic […]

Windstrument: another off-key wind energy ‘innovation’

On Quora recently, someone asked “Windstrument – yet another revolutionary wind turbine. Have they got it right?“. I answered, there and have reposted my answer here. I have a set of 13 questions I always ask when confronted with yet-another-wind-energy-innovation to give it a quick sniff test. I asked these questions of the Windstrument based on publicly […]

How do you maximize profit with a wind farm?

There are several factors to consider but it boils down to wind resource, new (or very cheap old) wind turbines, an effective economic regime to sell wind energy into, relatively cheap connections to the grid and highly optimized management and maintenance. Wind Resource A reasonably large factor in the amount of energy a wind farm […]

Wind turbines survive hurricanes; what a blow to doubters

An occasional complaint against wind turbines is that they don’t work or self-destruct when there is too much wind. It might be scraping the bottom of the oil barrel, but it’s worth debunking this as well. What does the history of wind energy really show? Well, the best evidence is from Superstorm Sandy: On the […]

Amplitude Modulation: another anti-wind myth goes thump

One thing to admire about those who dislike wind energy is their sheer persistence. If one argument gets stamped out, they turn to another without blinking an eye. Specific pieces of disinformation ebb and flow as the evidence mounts. One of the recurring minor points of anti-wind rhetoric is that wind farms commonly feature amplitude […]

In their own words: People living among and near wind farms on video

People have been living with utility-scale wind turbines for 50 years. Now they have great video cameras on their iPhones and access to YouTube and Vimeo. Here are a great bunch of videos where people tell their stories of living among and near wind farms in their own words. Have ones I should add? Let […]

Sky Windpower’s high-altitude wind generation system will likely fail to launch

A recent assessment of Google’s Makani flying wind generator led to a suggestion to look at other suggested approaches. Sky Windpower was one of them and has sufficient public material for an initial analysis to look for challenges and opportunities. Sky Windpower’s proposed high-altitude wind generation solution raises major concerns: For serious generation it requires building […]

Google’s Makani airborne wind generator flies a bit lower when you look at it closely

For a few years, the leading company in the hunt to harness higher altitude wind’s greater energy has been Makani. After the unfortunate and early death of its founder in 2012, Google upped its stake in the fledgling company to 100%, which certainly didn’t hurt its profile. Close assessment of Makani’s public documentation shows that […]

VAD: Vibro Acoustic Disease or Venal Arrogant Distortion?

For several years, a Portuguese research group has been touting the horrors of something they termed “vibroacoustic disease” or VAD, claiming that this was a physiological affliction due to extended exposure to infrasound. In recent years, they’ve been making the claim that wind turbines can cause this affliction. What claims do they make about VAD? […]

Waubra Foundation not anti-wind? How funny is that?

Sarah Laurie, CEO of the Waubra Foundation, gets quite indignant that people continue to call the Waubra Foundation an anti-wind organization. She said as much in an interview on a European radio interview: I should just say Bill we are frequently represented, I should say misrepresented in the media of being an anti-wind group and […]

From flight simulator-induced nausea to infrasound; a remarkable leap

In December 2012, Paul Schomer, a respected and senior acoustician, as part of a joint assessment of the Shirley Wind farm (see a brief analysis of the report here) made a remarkable statement: A most interesting study in 1986 by the Navy reveals that physical vibration of pilots in flight simulators induced motion sickness when […]

Wind turbines are sonic weapons if feathers are speeding trucks

As each of anti-wind types’ arguments get shot down in flames, they usually resort to more and more outlandish claims. One of the most outlandish is that research on sonic or acoustic weapons is somehow pertinent to wind turbines and the health impacts that people claim that they cause. Read this for the basics on […]

Windfall: a seriously flawed US documentary on wind energy

Windfall is a 2010 documentary by Laura Israel about her perspective on a wind farm being proposed, built and operating in her small upstate New York town. It’s still worth debunking it, as even though it’s been out for a while it continues to bubble up as a talking point. How does it stand up? […]

How reliable are they? Studies, reports and papers related to wind and health

Based on guidance I put together to assist interested laymen, journalists and others trying to understand the knotty problem of wind energy and its health impacts, I’ve done a very rough application to most of the major pieces of evidence referenced in the discussions. This material will be updated periodically as I assess more material […]

Wisconsin Shirley Infrasound report of low evidentiary value

Many people are pointing to an acousticians’ consulting report from Wisconsin as a smoking gun in discussions of wind turbines and infrasound. The report is A Cooperative Measurement Survey and Analysis of Low Frequency and Infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County, Wisconsin, published in December 2012 and often colloquially referred to as the […]

W.H.O. has seen the wind! Well, not really

One of the B-movie monsters of wind energy that hasn’t lurched out of the woodshed recently, the splitting maul still stuck in its thick skull, is the favoured meme that somehow the World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed that wind energy causes health issues and has issued proclamations against it, or favours extraordinary setbacks. The […]

How should you assess the quality of a wind health study?

Every day or so headlines pop up in various parts of the world claiming that research has shown that wind turbines cause health impacts, or wind turbines don’t cause health problems or that someone has proven something or other negative or positive about wind energy. How can you figure out which ones to trust relatively […]

Why wind energy is the pragmatic choice, and nuclear isn’t

Many nuclear energy advocates have devoted a considerable amount of time in the past few years to bashing wind energy, making a remarkable number of claims against it, some of which contain grains of truth, many of which don’t. The arguments for nuclear are good: it has very low full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions per […]

Good and bad bets: new wind technologies rated

How do specific new wind energy innovations and products stack up? This post looks at sixteen technologies and companies that have been in the press or otherwise crossed my desk recently and assesses whether they are good bets or not. For context, one of the technologies with the most red flags is getting the most […]

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