Wind Energy: Top 5 Myths (and the Facts)

Most people have (sometimes strong) opinions about wind power, but they don’t always have all the facts.

The Alliance for Michigan Power is ready to address some myths and set the record straight on wind power. We know Michigan can’t secure a bright energy future without embracing as part of our energy mix a full array of clean and renewable sources — such as wind.

Myth #1: Turbines are Loud

Fact: While some older turbines from the 1980s may have been noisy, today’s wind turbines are amazingly quiet. According to GE Reports, the closest a wind turbine is typically placed to a home is 300 meters, and at that distance a turbine will have a sound pressure level of 43 decibels — quieter than an average home air conditioner (50 decibels).

Myth #2: Turbines Cause Health Problems

Fact: As more wind turbines are being built across the country, some opponents have become vocal about the impacts of wind turbines on local residents’ health. However, studies have found that sound or light from wind turbines has no direct impact on physical or mental health. In fact, before wind turbines are even constructed, energy providers conduct preconstruction assessments on issues such as shadow flicker to ensure minimal impacts to local residents. This precaution to avoid light disturbance, combined with the near silence of wind turbines, eliminates any risk to human health.

Myth #3: Turbines Interrupt Wireless Communications

Fact: It’s true that in rare instances TV or radio signals are impeded by wind turbines. But even when brief interruptions happen, the problem can be solved easily by receiver improvements or realignment, as well as signal relays. According to the American Wind Energy Association, interference is rare and easily avoided. So, no, you don’t have to choose between clean, affordable energy and your satellite TV.

Myth #4: Wind Power is Expensive

Fact: Wind energy now is no more expensive — and, actually, can be cheaper — than many other energy sources. Wind pricing varies based on weather conditions, but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a recent New York state study found that a 10 percent addition of wind generation saved energy consumers more than an estimated $305 million on their energy bills in one year.

Myth #5: Most People Don’t Like Wind Power

Fact: Most people who know the facts support the clean, affordable, and energy-efficient production of wind power. In fact, the American Wind Energy Association reported in 2016 that polls found “70 percent of registered voters…have a favorable impression of wind energy.” On both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans support expanding renewables as sources of power. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 75 percent of conservative Republicans and 93 percent of liberal Democrats favor more wind turbine farms.

Do you have something to say about the benefits of Michigan wind energy? Let us know your thoughts today!