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Truly Eco-Friendly Wind Turbines

Truly Eco-Friendly Wind Turbines

When we think alternative energy, wind and solar come to mind as very eco-friendly. While wind energy has become a growing source of energy, many detractors argue that: wind turbines are dangerous for local avian life and that wind turbines are a form of “visual pollution”. Today, many scientists and designers are finding ways to combat these flaws so that wind energy can truly be eco-friendly.

The death of avian life is perhaps one of the most common arguments against wind famrs. The idea that wind turbines kill birds started originally from the large rate of bird deaths, around 4,700 annually, at the wind farm in Altamont, CA[Source: USA Today]. There were two factors that contributed in such a high death toll: the wind farms spans an international migratory bird route and the turbine technology is pre-dated. The turbines in Altamont were created over twenty years ago and features small blades with small surface areas. These blades have to turn rapidly to overcome the magnetic force of the dynamos, which generate electricity.

The Altamont situation, however, is far from norm these days and in fact, the average recorded bird death by wind turbine is about 2.19 per year [Source: AWEA]. New technology has created wind turbines that use larger blades and move at much slower speeds, which allows birds to avoid the blades altogether. And of course, the location of the turbines is also important. With the help of ornithologists, companies building wind turbines can make sure to avoid migratory routes or nesting areas. In fact, there are more bird deaths caused by birds flying into windows than killed by wind turbines these days (about 98 million annually [Source: Green Energy Ohio].

Of course, even without the bird deaths, one of the major issues many take with wind energy is their appearance. Tall, unwieldy and ugly, many communities simply find the turbines unseemly and would rather not have them built. While the windfarms in Cape Cod were finally built, there was a huge struggle between environmentalists and Cape Cod residents over the creation of Cape Wind. Denizens of North Carolina have gone a step further and want to ban any wind farms built on the Appalachian Mountain that are over 1,000 feet because they are “too ugly”. While the majesty and beauty of the mountains are nothing to scoff at, this ban would effectively make 2/3 of North Carolina closed to wind energy [Source: Treehugger].

There is a solution for both problems. The Helix Wind Savonious 2.0, main offices located in San Deigo, is a “2kW rated turbine that can be tower-mounted between 14 and 35 feet or roof mounted just 2 feet above roof line. The rotor measures 6ft by 4ft (1.8m by 1.2m) and utilizes long helical blade scoops to maximize energy performance in turbulent, gusty or multi-directional wind conditions” [Source: Inhabit]. Not only is this new wind turbine much smaller than traditional ones, it also moves at a much slower speed, so both birds and bats recognize the rotor as a solid object. And compared to other wind turbines, the Helix is also operates at less than 5 decibels above background noise [Source: Helix Wind]. These turbines can also be used for various uses from home to industrial.

As we advance our technology, we also advance our alternative energy sources. The major complaints of ten years ago are a thing of the past as scientists and designers find out new ways to make green energy safer, prettier and more efficient.

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H-dotlogic.com
Jasmine Greene

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39 comments

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4:13AM PDT on May 16, 2013

German Scientists Use Offshore Wind Farms to Replenish Lobsters
By Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg
May 10, 2013 | Post Your Comment


BERLIN -- German scientists are betting that offshore wind farms can help replenish the North Sea's fledgling lobster population.

Scientists from the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven will release 3,000 lobsters next year around the stone field section of the foundations of EWE AG’s 108-megawatt Riffgat project. The gaps between the rocks make for ideal lobster habitat, said Heinz-Dieter Franke, a biologist at the institute.

“The stone fields at the many offshore wind farms built in the German Bight offer a new chance to strengthen the lobster population,” Franke said in a phone interview. The 700,000 euro ($918,000) project is being financed by the state of Lower Saxony, he said.

Wind farm developers including EON SE and RWE AG (RWE) are beginning to face the same scrutiny as oil companies for projects in sensitive places. While programs to protect porpoises from offshore wind construction noises have added costs for developers, the farms can become a safe retreat for fish and crustaceans as commercial fishing isn’t allowed near them, Franke said.

About 80,000 lobsters were caught a year in the south-eastern North Sea in the 1930s, Franke said. That number has dropped to a few hundred today, mainly as a bycatch of crab fishing. Since the 1950s and 1960s, the population has shrunk to as little as 5 perce

9:59AM PDT on Mar 23, 2010

very interesting, thank you Jasmine!

1:18AM PDT on Mar 21, 2010

The only thing that had worried me about wind turbines is the fact that they were dangerous to birds, but that problem seems fixed now :) Of course, I never minded that they were not the prettiest things in the world, but who cares? If it helps the environment, it doesn't need to be pretty!

7:28AM PST on Jan 14, 2010

Thanks!

4:41AM PST on Jan 9, 2010

NOTED

7:39AM PST on Nov 22, 2009

The public is not aware that there are alternative wind turbine designs available that do not slaughter our precious wildlife and also produce much more energy. One of them is produced by Environmental Technologies LLC. If the corrupt entities of Wall Street, Washington, and our courts were not protecting this industry, this terrible problem would already be resolved.



Prop turbines are all about functional obsolescence, planned obsolescence, and most of all greed. The outdated technology of the prop wind turbine needs to be exposed for the fraud it represents to the green energy movement. Jim Wiegand








7:38AM PST on Nov 22, 2009

I am an expert on Birds of Prey. For all the “green energy” believers out there, this is a video you have to see. Each year across America thousands of eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, vultures and condors perish at “green energy” wind farms. This video will open your eyes and your mind when you see how easily a soaring vulture is smashed by the innocent looking blades of a prop wind turbine. Most prop wind turbines have blade tips speeds of approximately 200 mph. This video illustrates why all birds and bats do not have a chance near the spinning blades of a prop turbine. There has been a wind industry cover-up about the bird mortality problem for decades. Most wind farms have very high security so images like this can not be seen.

fatal accident with vulture on a windmill
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9srPoOU6_Z4&feature=autofb

The prop turbine in this video is not even spinning at full speed. It is spinning at 12 rotations per minute. At full speed it will spin at 20 rotations per minute making this wind turbine even more dangerous to anything that happens to fly by. T

3:30PM PST on Nov 6, 2009

Indiana is currently building several wind turbine farms withplans to build others. These are the large 2.5 KW, 3 blade type that only turn at 16 RPM. No complaints about bird kills or them being ugly, but with 200 of them running you couldn't live anywhere close to them due to the noise and the ground rumbling from the harmonic vibrations. Just an observation, not a complaint. The good thing about these wind farms is the number of "green jobs" they have created in this state. companies are starting up in the state to build components for the wind turbines and it has given construction workers and their employers higher incomes.

9:08AM PST on Nov 6, 2009

I would if someone would pay for it for me. They're too expensive as it stands.

6:22PM PST on Nov 5, 2009

You are wrong Pat Prest in saying that Europeans are all terribly happy about wind turbines, they have caused a lot of controversy with people trying to keep them away from their homes - the noise as well as the sight intrusion. We also know about the high amount of birds killed. They speak of sea wind farms! Has anyone taken into account the effect of the noise on creatures like dolphins, whales in fact all sea life who call to each other over many miles. These gigantic monuments with their huge concrete bases now to be stuck in the sea as well as on land.

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