Global News looks at wind turbines and health issues

by Daniela Minicucci, Global News
TORONTO– Wind has emerged as a natural super power as Canada continues to develop more environmentally friendly sources of energy.  The increase in popularity has sparked a debate about the impact of wind as a reliable source of energy.  While some advocates argue it’s a clean and green way to meet Canada’s power demands, critics say wind farms and the towering turbines that dot the landscape contribute to a host of health, environmental and economical problems.

What the advocates say…

Cheap and clean: Wind power is a clean, free and renewable source of energy. Plus, more wind power may mean the country can move away from so-called ‘dirty’sources of energy production like coal and oil from the tarsands.

It’s available: Our vast landscape and gusty coastlines have untapped potential to produce more wind power.

Supply matches demand: The wind is typically most powerful in colder weather, meaning Canada’s coldest months, generally December to March, have great wind power generating potential. They’re also among the months where energy consumption is at its highest demand.

Proven potential: Wind energy currently powers over one million homes in Canada, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

Preservation power: Wind energy offsets emissions from other energy sources and preserves precious water resources. The Canadian Wind Energy Association estimates powering more than 200 homes with wind energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,000 tonnes, the equivalent of planting 10,000 trees or taking over 400 cars off the road.

What the opponents say…

Flora and fauna: Ecosystems could be damaged or destroyed by wind turbine construction. Migrating birds could be at risk, as well as other animals that live near lands evacuated for wind farm construction.

Health problems: Residents living near wind turbines reported symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and sleep disturbance, according to a 2010 report by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Healthon the impact of wind turbines. The scientific evidence available could not actually link the disturbance to adverse health effects.

Noise pollution: Low-frequency noise emitted from the rotating blades of wind turbines has been the subject of numerous scientific reviews. While the noise can annoy some residents and reportedly sicken others living near wind farms, evidence is not sufficient enough to link the noise to hearing impairment.

Devaluation: Local property values could be negatively impacted by wind farms in close proximity to homes as residents grapple with health concerns (perceived or confirmed), the visual distraction of unsightly turbines and the loss of undeveloped surrounding lands.

It’s unreliable: Wind turbines move intermittently, not 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While some argue this makes wind power an unreliable as a source of energy, others say that enough turbines connected through a grid could provide a stable output. The Canadian Wind Energy Association says wind power should be considered as part of a “balanced energy diet” compensated by conventional forms of electricity generation, such as hydroelectricity.

18 thoughts on “Global News looks at wind turbines and health issues

  1. My comment (above) refers to the text – the video news story is more balanced.

    • This nothing more than “canned” propaganda. Global News dosen’t even have a clue as to what the real IWT issues are.

  2. Only the wind lobby could find headaches, dizziness and sleep depravation are not adverse health effects.

  3. It is very clear by the text that CanWEA, or some like entity, provided both proponent and opponent comments. Unfortunately this government is not advanced enough to have hi-speed internet available to me just one hour outside of Toronto so I cannot watch the video tonight, but upon reading the text it is appalling the lack of research or investigation by the Global News team.They obviously went to one source for the information. Unbelievable and terribly sad that with all of the available information they are so lazy. While the intent may have been genuine, Global has lost credibility as a responsible news source.

  4. Yes, at one time city folk moved as far away from the factories as they could because of the smell and noise. That created urban sprawl. Now they moved the power generating factories into the country. Why don’t they build turbines along the medians of the 401/407 highway? Ok, we have a new idea to run with. If they don’t want that, that would be nimbyism, wouldn’t it.

  5. Post your comments on the Global News website so everybody can read the comments. Go to Global>Home>Contact Us
    Leave a comment for Daniela Minicucci

  6. doubtful, many jumping on banwagon for a story, then it fizzles when they’re wooed by CanWEA and friends. We need to spark the fire & keep this alive!

    • The renewable energy boondoggle is ,among other things, a means for a few to become multi-millionares. Making money off from ideology and not science at the expense of the people.

  7. Could someone provide the approximate number of turbines operating in Ont. now. The wind energy maps I have seen usually provide capacity, rather than numbers.

    • Latest news reports puts the number at 900. To date, there are 5772 industrial wind turbines that have been granted contracts under the FIT programme.

      • Thank you. My estimate was about 840, in the right ballpark.
        If today say 800 operating turbines produce .6% of demand (IESO figures on sidebar).
        How many units would be required to reach figures of 20% bandied about by the wind industry?
        Even building 15,000 turbines from Windsor to Quebec could not produce this amount of electricity on a calm day, Simple facts such as these are never mentioned by the media stories.

  8. Thanks to T, A, and S of Clearcreek for sharing! You looked and sounded great! Thanks also to Dr.M and Dr.H for appearing for the cause.
    ps…. the video is waaay better than the text.

  9. IWTs currently power one million homes??? Wind may power homes with a battery array not connected to the grid but if your home is using grid power it is not being powered by IWT generated power. Powering a home is not a unit of measure but a flow of reliable power during a timeframe when it is needed of which IWTs cannot not provide. Wasting more than the equivalent amount of reliable power to smooth out erratically generated IWT power should not be sold as being good since more power would have been available without wind. Wind displaces the reliable power on the grid at a net loss due to inefficiencies. A home powered from the grid is powered from existing reliable power sources whether or not wind is blowing.

  10. This article is so full of erroneous material that even CANWEA would blush. Where to start?
    “The increase in popularity…” What popularity? The countryside voted overwhelmingly against the
    wind-turbines and the big city doesn’t know they exist.
    “Wind power is clean,free and renewable…” Until recently,all studies on curtailing CO2 production
    through wind energy were based on computer models. Recent analysis of actual production in Colorado, The Netherlands, Ireland and Germany show zero effect on CO2 production from wind-power generation.
    Winter…” months when energy consumption is at its highest demand”. That one seems deliberately misleading, as peak demand for electricity is definitely in summer, when wind turbines are only slightly better than useless. I could go on with several more doozies.
    Some of this is complicated and requires a good deal of research. Ms. Minicucci should do some
    before she writes any more about this subject.
    Andre Den Tandt

Comments are closed.