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    The environmental impacts of wind energy


    June 15, 2022 - India Engineering News

     

      June 15 -- The trend toward green energy generation is growing, whereas the trend toward conventional (fossil fuel- based) power generators is diminishing. Carbon reduction is a critical component of transitioning developed countries' electrical power generation to renewable energy technologies. As a result, low-carbon emission zones have been established in order to foster the development of a pollution-free environment. According to the well-known "wedges game theory," the answer to global energy demand stabilization is renewable energy, of which wind energy is a high priority among four other power generating options.

      Wind energy as green energy

      Every renewable power source, including wind, carries its own set of potential benefits and drawbacks in terms of climate change, human health and ocean acidification. The government and legislative authorities should carefully assess the relative impacts and risks from a broad policy or environmental viewpoint. Legislative authorities may aggressively pursue technical solutions to mitigate wind energy's adverse implications, like operational reliability, and enact rules that limit conflict and disturbance to community, livelihood and scenery. For instance, barriers can be used to mitigate the irritation caused by wind turbine operation such as shadow flicker and sound.

      Wind turbines do not emit greenhouse gases in comparison to nuclear energy and fossil fuel-based power generation, nor do these techniques pose any harm to humans or the environment due to radioactive waste. Wind energy is often believed to be more ecologically sound than other power sources. Nonetheless, it has some influence on human lives. Even if the potential long-term effects are minimal, they cannot be discounted. These may include the high noise level generated by the rotor blades, visual impacts, and bird and bat mortality caused by the rotor blades. The coming sections discuss these issues in detail.

      Noise pollution

      Polluted ecosystems have escalated into a worldwide problem. Numerous countries, including India, the U.S. and China, are actively reducing the carbon footprint of the power and aviation sectors. Advanced countries are phasing out fossil fuel-fired power plants in favor of wind-based renewable energy. However, wind farms pose some health risks, like noise pollution, which is exacerbated when these facilities are located near populous areas. Despite misconceptions and disinformation about birds being harmed by wind turbine blades, new closed solutions for stand-alone turbines have been developed.

      Local community noise is a real-time disadvantage of locating a wind farm or standalone wind turbines in densely populated regions. Moreover, standalone wind turbines are noisier than huge wind turbine installations. The noise generated by active onshore wind turbines, as well as their visual impact, can be a significant source of community aggravation.

      Wind turbines generate two types of noise, including mechanical and aerodynamic noise. The low-frequency aerodynamic noise from wind turbines can annoy humans by causing sleep disturbances and hearing distance loss, as well as causing damage to the vestibular system. Researchers have discovered a correlation between wind turbine sound pressure levels and the living conditions of surrounding individuals, and anxiety symptoms such as headaches have been experienced by those impacted by wind turbine installations.

      Effects on plants and animals

      Wind turbines endanger birds' homes. As a result, some animal lovers are frightened and extremely anxious that wind power facilities may adversely impact avian populations. However, birds are adept at evading obstacles and wind turbines may well not pose a severe hazard to them. In comparison to other unforeseen challenges such as deforestation and urbanization, which also kill birds, there are a relatively small number of birds that may be harmed by wind turbines. Certain sensitive marine animals, such as salmon have been shown to be capable of observing pile-driving waves at a great distance during the deployment and operation of wind turbines.

      Local climate change

      Some speculate that by expanding the scale of wind farms, these systems may be able to influence local climatic changes. Wind turbines have the potential to influence regional heat patterns by increasing the outdoor temperature at night and cooling it during the day. Furthermore, some environmental professionals speculate that the volatility in residential vicinity or close working to wind turbines may serve as a basis for local climate modification via the downward and upward circulation of air; this instability may be detected at great distances.

      Conclusion

      As wind energy becomes a significant source of energy in the future, various above-discussed environmental problems that appear to be trivial may have far-reaching consequences in the future. Therefore, certain strategies can also be used to protect birds, minimize noise pollution and save local climate. For example, wind turbines should be positioned at least 2 km away from residential areas, or the home structure should be optimized to exclude external disturbances. Moreover, waste material generated by these quickly constructed turbines must be managed responsibly; else, the entire concept of wind energy as a green and clean energy source is called into question.

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