+ Are wind farms safe for my health?
Yes. Independent peer-reviewed studies conducted around the world, including the U.S., have consistently found no evidence that wind farms cause any negative physical health effects.
"There is no direct evidence that wind turbines affect physical or mental health." -- National Health and Medicine Research Council
"Components of wind turbine sound, including infrasound and low frequency sound, have not been shown to present unique health risks to people living near wind turbines." Wind Turbines and Health: A Critical Review of the Scientific Literature, Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine.
"To date, no peer reviewed articles demonstrate a direct causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise they emit and resulting physiological health effects." -- Health Effects and Wind Turbines: A Review of the Literature
In fact, wind energy means healthier communities. Wind helps reduce our over-reliance on burning coal. Pollution from burning coal causes asthma and lung and heart disease.
+ Is wind energy reliable?
Yes, grid operators already reliably integrate large amounts of wind energy into our electricity grid. Wind changes tend to be gradual and predictable, making it easy to accommodate compared to sudden outages that can occur with other resources.
Wind in 2014 reliably provided more than 25% of the electricity in South Dakota and Iowa and more than 15% of electricity in seven states. Wind energy provides just under 4% of Michigan's electricity. At certain points in time, the main Colorado and Texas power systems have obtained more than 60% and 40%, respectively, of their electricity from wind energy.
+ Is wind energy affordable?
The availability of low-cost wind energy helps drive costs down.
The cost of wind has fallen by two-thirds in the last six years, with improved technology and U.S.-based manufacturing, making it competitive with other energy sources. Wind is uniquely able to offer fixed-priced contracts because renewable energy has no fuel cost and therefore no fuel price risk. Utilities and consumers like wind because it "acts as a hedge against future volatility of natural gas prices," much like a fixed-rate mortgage protects homeowners against interest fluctuations.
"The most recent contracts approved by the Commission for new wind capacity have levelized costs in the low $50s per MWh range, which is about 10 percent less than the least expensive levelized contract prices from 2011 and half of the levelized cost of the first few renewable energy contracts approved in 2009 and 2010." The cost of electricity from a new coal plant is estimated at $133 per MWh. -Michigan Public Service Commission. Report on the Implementation of the P.A. 295 Renewable Energy Standard and the Cost-Effectiveness of the Energy Standards.
+ Do wind turbines harm bird and bat populations?
Bird mortality has been shown to be very low compared to avian deaths caused by cats, cell phone towers, or high rise buildings -- which are magnitudes higher.
In addition, the wind industry is actively engaged in groundbreaking research to reduce bird and bat collisions at wind farms. The Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC) was formed in 2003 by Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory to research bat losses and investigating several promising techniques to reduce them, such as acoustic deterrents and potential mitigation through changes in operations.
+ How do wind turbines benefit farmers and rural communities?
Wind energy preserves open spaces in rural America, affords long-term protection to farmland and agriculture, and boosts the economy in small towns and rural communities.
The wind industry has brought $60 billion in capital investment to rural America, $1.2 billion in new income to farmers and rural landowners, and created 80,000 new jobs.
This certainty and peace of mind is a boon to farmers and landowners -- and each turbine only occupies a 1/2 acre for towers and access roads.
+ How does wind energy help Michigan?
- Michigan's clean energy sector supports 20,500 jobs and $5 billion in annual economic activity.
- Michigan is 1 of 3 states that could create the most wind industry manufacturing jobs
- Michigan leads in advanced manufacturing, engineering and material science.
- Building gearboxes and transmissions; rolling steel is in Michigan's industrial DNA
+ Do wind farms hurt property values?
No. Long-term, comprehensive studies have shown that wind power does not affect property values. Rather, it is a driver for economic development in the host communities and supports local municipal services that benefit all property owners.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collected data from more than 50,000 home sales from 27 counties in nine states. "Across all model specifications, we find no statistical evidence that home prices near wind turbines were affected in either the post-construction or post announcement/preconstruction periods." LBNL, A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States.
In addition, the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit has benefitted many communities by keeping property tax values lower and offering another source of income for counties and townships.
+What are some common wind energy myths?
A list of common wind energy myths can be found here.