While the wind-power-problems.org site is not entirely wrong it is certainly very misleading.
Its weaknesses are:
People demand cheap energy, the environment demands clean energy.
Wind power can fulfil both demands.
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
A discussion of the claims made in wind-power-problems.orgThe links in what follows generally provide evidence in support of my statements. I have used the same heading as used in wind-power-problems.org.
SubsidiesThe author of wind-power-problems.org states that wind power receives 'massive subsidies', although characteristically he does not provide evidence in support of his claim.
It is true that at least in some countries wind farms receive subsidies. The competition, the fossil fuel industries, certainly receive massive subsidies. For example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) produced a report in May 2015 estimating that subsidies for the energy industry totalled $5.3 trillion (that is $5,300,000,000,000) each year.
Energy conservationThe author of wind-power-problems.org rightly says that energy conservation is important, but it is not sufficient. Climate change, ocean acidification and the air pollution from the burning of coal are huge disasters that must be countered by all the means that are available to us, not just by energy conservation.
A wind farm is a major construction project; in 2015 the cost per turbine is around $5,000,000.
In any major construction project there is some ecosystem damage, but wind farms are much less damaging than are coal mines, oil fields and most hydro-power dams.
One statement in this section is, in very many real cases, an outright lie. My experience is with Australia, but I've no doubt that it also applies to many other nations. The author of wind-power-problems.org states that "4-6 acres [1.7 to 2.5ha] of forest is clearcut for each turbine".
As examples of several large wind farms where hardly a single tree was cut down I will name Brown Hill Range Wind Farm (45 turbines, 94MW installed power – first photo on the right), Hallett Hill Wind Farm (34 turbines, 71MW – second photo on the right) and Snowtown Wind Farm (138 turbines, 371MW). I could easily give many other examples.
The fact is that the quality of winds is higher in areas where there are few or no trees; trees cause winds to become turbulent and turbulence produces stresses on wind turbines as well as slightly slowing the wind. So sites with no, or few, trees are preferable to forested sites.
The author of wind-power-problems.org also writes about the building of transmission lines, access roads, power substations and concrete foundations for wind farms. Of course all these are needed in the building of any power station.
It is true that wind turbines kill a few
but far fewer than are killed by cats, foxes, collision with buildings,
windows, steel-lattice towers, and cars.
And if we do not change from fossil fuels to renewable energy
climate change will kill enormously more
birds and bats so building wind farms, which displace fossil-fuel power
stations, results in decreased bird and bat deaths.
EconomicsThe author of wind-power-problems.org is wrong about the economics of wind power. In 2015 wind power is the cheapest form of renewable energy and is comparable to the cost of new coal power. It is, of course, much cheaper than fossil-fuel fired power if the environmental costs are taken into consideration.
TechnicalWind power can replace fossil-fuel fired power generation within limits. For example, my state, South Australia, had no wind power in early 2003. In 2015 about 40% of our electricity was coming from our wind farms and our two remaining coal-fired power stations were about to be shut down.
The author of wind-power-problems.org states that "wind is completely unreliable". This is false. In 2015 the wind was predictable in the short to medium term so the amount of generation from a wind farm was also predictable.
All power generators breakdown at times and an unexpected loss of a 500MW coal-fired power station or nuclear power station is more disruptive to a power grid than the breakdown of one 3MW wind turbine or the predictable and gradual decrease in output of a wind farm as the wind slows.
HealthThe author of wind-power-problems.org lists 12 symptoms that he ascribes to wind turbines. He could have gone a lot further. At my last count 236 symptoms had been blamed on wind turbines, they included:
In fact the many credible studies that there have been have all indicated that wind turbines cause no illnesses at all.