Frequently Asked Questions - Wind Turbines
|Wind energy is one of the most popular renewable or “green” energy technologies. Opinion surveys regularly show that just over eight out of ten people are in favour of wind energy, and only about 5% are against it. The rest are undecided.|
|Wind energy is one of the safest energy technologies of any kind. Despite the fact that there are now over 68,000 operational wind turbines, no member of the public has ever been injured by wind energy or wind turbines anywhere in the world.|
|The majority of modern wind turbines have three blades. The advantages of three bladed turbines are greater energy output and wind use efficiency, and potentially greater aesthetic appeal. The disadvantages are that they potentially cost and weigh more and may be more difficult to install. The Fortis turbines used by Hybridyne, however , are very light because of the composite material from which they are made.|
Two bladed machines are lighter. They have higher running speeds, which reduces the cost of the mechanical components and they are potentially easier to install. The newest utility-class turbines ( like those produced by one of HPG's suppliers ) have extremely efficient ' active technology ' blades which can effectively operate in areas of lower wind resources.
Birds - by day or night- tend to change their flight route some 100-200 meters before the turbine, and pass above the turbine at a safe distance. Source: Radar studies from Denmark.
The maximum mortality rate at any wind farm in North America was 1.9 birds/year/turbine - and these are the 100-200 metre high turbines used in remote locations. Source: The Screening Document report for the Wind Turbine Environmental Assessment in Toronto (Dillon Consulting).
A study on the Wind Turbine at the CNE in Toronto reveals that 2-3 birds per year might be killed by that turbine Source : Toronto Hydro Energy Services
No matter how extensively wind is developed, bird deaths from wind energy are unlikely to ever reach as high as 1% of those from other human-related sources such as house cats, buildings, windows, autos and communication towers.
No. Every study done reveals that even large ‘wind farm’ turbines are so quiet that a normal conversation can be held right at the base of the tower. Since sound levels drop off at approximately the square of the distance, by the time you are 100 metres away from the tower, the turbine sound is usually masked by the ambient surrounding noise. In fact, as the wind increases (and the turbine becomes more ‘active’) the sound of the wind more than covers the sound of the turbine.
Click Here to view a chart which contrasts the sound of a Hybridyne wind turbine to the sounds you are already familiar with. As you will see, at a normal distance, the sound of the turbine will be masked by the wind and other 'background' noises.
Under exactly the right conditions, ice CAN form on turbine blades. However, like the airplane wing that needs to be ‘deiced’ to perform properly, turbine blades become inefficient when their aerodynamic shape is changed by a coating of ice – and they slow down and eventually stop.
It is much more likely that ice will simply fall off a turbine - just as it will fall off any large structure. In case ice should fall off when melting, the globally accepted ‘safe zone’ is about 1.5 times the distance from the ground to the tip up the upper blade. A study taken of hundreds of sites in Europe last year found very few fragments of ice of any size even inside that zone and only two small fragments beyond that.
Statistically, you are more likely to be hit by lightning or by snow falling off your neighbor’s roof. As one report says " If 15,000 persons pass the road close to the wind turbine per year there might be one accident in 300 years" ( and this report is from a VERY conservative and cautious viewpoint ).
Wind-generated electricity is called "green" power because wind turbines don't create toxic pollutants or climate-changing gases as they produce electricity. Wind power is clean and renewable. On the other hand, electric power plants that burn coal, gas and oil emit more air pollution than any other industrial activity, including 70% of the sulfur dioxide and 33% of the nitrogen oxides, both major contributors to acid rain and ozone layer depletion -- and 34% of the carbon dioxide, a proven contributor to global climate change. In fact by removing just the coal fired plants from the energy supply mix in Ontario, Canada, has been likened to the equivalent removing every car off of the road . See the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Association)