Wind turbines have been popping up all over the place and in many cases those who live in the area around these massive structures find out that they’re not as low-impact as they are claimed to be. Wind turbines have a tendency to create a distinctive kind of sound which can be quite powerful around wind farms with multiple turbines towering hundreds of feet in the air. The noise is a combination of the turbulence that occurs around blade tips, which typically are moving faster than the wind that passes through as well as the pressure wave which is caused by the blades spinning through the current of air, slicing it and creating a localized vortex.
Some of the wind pushers will say that the sounds are not very loud and show videos or sonic measurements to offer as evidence. The problem with this is that the noise which wind turbines create cannot always be appreciated in such cases. In many cases, the sound borders on “infrasonic” and therefore cannot be easily heard by the human ear. This does not make it any less of a problem, however. Infrasonic oscillations can be very annoying because even if they are not directly heard, they can cause objects to reverberate with very noticable sounds. The constant wosh-wosh-wosh can also be felt like deep bass and the harmonics can also be audible, even if the original frequency is not. Some research exists that such infrasonic oscillations can have detrimental effects, but that’s not entirely well established.
Regardless of whether or not there are physical effects of the wind turbines, there’s one thing that is impossible to deny: It’s very very very annoying to live with a constant WOOSH WOOSH WOOSH and the THUMP THUMP THUMP that can be felt in one’s chest and though sometimes discrete, is omnipresent and unwavering. Animals seem to be effected as well. It can effect sleep and the general psycological wellbeing of those in the area. In this case one might say that this is a case where psychology is causing people to manifest symptoms which may be “all in their head,” but this hardly invalidates the complaints, since unlike the cases of cell phone towers or other alleged sources of aggravation, these are admittedly based on the annoyance factor and there’s that they are detectable.
In the end, this argument, like many others, would be of little consequence if wind power were capable of producing large amounts of usable energy. The fact that areas around wind farms may becomes far less desirable for homes and businesses is a price which could be accepted in exchange for clean energy. The problem is that they do not produce the kind of energy which can realistically be expected to make a significant difference. Thus, in addition to the high cost of constructing these turbines, the heavy impact on quality of life and property values of those unlucky enough to reside in their immediate area must be added to an already very one sided cost-benefit ratio.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 at 7:38 am and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Enviornment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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