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Dispelling the onshore wind myth (Part 3)

Our previous two articles “Dispelling the onshore wind myth (Part 1)” and “Dispelling the onshore wind myth (Part 2)” introduce wind power generation and its impact on daily life. In this article, we will delve further into the impact of wind power generation on the environment. You may be wondering if wind power generation can have a negative impact on the environment. To address this question, we will answer some frequently asked questions and provide a better understanding of wind power generation.

Q1. Does wind power generation pose a threat to the lives of wild animals such as birds and bats?

In fact, research shows that wind energy is the most beneficial energy source for animals and humans. However, there are still inevitable impacts on animals, including mortality caused by collisions with wind turbines, as well as habitat disruption and migration due to the construction of wind turbines. Even so, compared to other energy sources, wind power has a smaller impact. Moreover, researchers and the industry are working hard to find protective and preventive measures for the impact of wind power on wildlife. For example, stopping the operation of wind turbines when wind speeds are too low can reduce harm to bats, or installing instruments that emit disturbing sound waves to deter wildlife from approaching operating wind turbines. Research also shows that climate change poses a much greater threat to wildlife, so effective management of wind farms and turbines can make wind power a truly clean energy source.

Q2. Will the noise from wind turbines affect your daily life?

Constructing a wind turbine requires strict adherence to government regulations on noise levels. Taiwan's noise control standards are considered the most stringent in the world and cover a wide range of aspects. In fact, if the distance between the turbine and the residential area is 200 meters, the noise level is similar to that of a window-type air conditioner, and at 400 meters, it is comparable to that of a refrigerator. Therefore, the impact of noise is not significant. Furthermore, modern wind turbines have been enhanced to minimize their impact on the environment and local residents.

Q3. Will the flickering shadows affect nearby residents?

When wind turbines are rotating, the blades inevitably cast shadows due to sunlight, which can cause a flicker effect, but this problem usually occurs in high latitude countries. Since Taiwan has a low latitude, the shadow effect of the blades is not significant. In addition, if residents in Taiwan are affected by the flicker effect, they can file a complaint with the energy company, which will take measures to improve the situation. The wind turbines will be temporarily shut down until the shadow flicker no longer affects households.

Q4. Will the installation of wind turbines damage the landscape?

The installation of wind turbines and its impact on the landscape is subjective and depends on individual perception. Wind turbines are typically installed in a vast area known as a wind farm, where multiple turbines rotate together. Some people find it creates a pleasing sight. However, some people argue that wind turbines disrupt natural landscapes. In response, Germany has attempted to integrate wind turbine installations into the local environment by painting them green to blend in with the natural scenery. Meanwhile, in offshore wind farms in Denmark, the turbines are painted battleship gray to better blend in with the surrounding landscape and reduce visual impact.

In summary, the presence of wind turbines does have some impact on the environment and residents, but with continuous technological improvements and proper management, the negative effects are decreasing. The existence of wind power provides us with cleaner energy and does not pollute the environment. In addition, the application of wind power also promotes sustainable development. It is hoped that through these three articles, everyone can have a better understanding of wind turbines.


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