Wind Turbine 101: Six Popular Myths Debunked

Wind Turbine 101: Six Popular Myths Debunked

Wind energy leases are a great way for landowners to generate additional income from their property. As green energy becomes increasingly incentivized, energy developers are willing to invest more in renewable interests. 

So why doesn’t every landowner jump on such an opportunity? Well, there are a multitude of myths blowing around about wind turbines that could hinder plans to lease your land for wind energy. Here, we’ll address some of the most common misconceptions: 

Myth #1: Wind Turbines Are a Danger to Wildlife

While rumors are swirling that wind turbines have a large negative impact on avian populations, this impact is actually no larger than any other tall, man-made structure. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) states that “Wind energy development’s overall impact on birds is extremely low (<1 of 30,000) compared to other human-related causes, such as buildings, communications towers, traffic, and house cats.” 

Furthermore, during a recent study, scientists in Norway observed a 70 percent drop in bird deaths after painting wind turbines a highly visible black. These findings may help reduce the impact of wind turbines on migratory animals in the United States, allowing wind energy and wildlife to coexist peacefully.

Myth #2: Wind Energy Has a Negative Effect on Agriculture

Wind turbines don’t have to interfere with your land’s agricultural potential and a wind lease should not impact your existing farming operations. You will be able to continue growing crops on any land not covered by wind turbines. 

Additionally, farming around wind turbines is surprisingly easy since they have to be placed a certain distance apart to operate, leaving plenty of land between turbines to farm and carry out other surface activities. One wind turbine can require up to 80 acres of land, but only a fraction of those acres will be used for the actual turbines and supporting infrastructure.

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Myth #3: Wind Energy is More Expensive

Energy output will depend on wind speed and this variability does increase overall operating costs, but the increase is negligible. In many states, wind energy is cost-competitive with fossil fuels, especially coal. Thanks to increases in turbine hub height, rotor diameter, and nameplate capacity, wind turbines are now able to produce more energy per turbine at a lower cost than ever before.

Myth #4: Wind Turbine Materials Create Pollution

Wind turbines do not release emissions that can pollute the air or water (with rare exceptions) or require water for cooling. They can also cut down on the amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels, resulting in lower total air pollution and reduced CO2 emissions.

Wind farm on sand

Myth #5: Wind Turbines Are Bad for Your Health 

Commonly known as “wind turbine syndrome”, the assertion that wind turbines can have a detrimental effect on people who live near them has been a topic of debate for many years. While the spinning windmill blades and turbine machinery do produce a weak (but distinctive) noise, the true impact of this level of infrasound has proven to be minimal at best. 

According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, there is no direct link between wind turbine distance and sleep disturbances or increased blood pressure and/or stress levels. Furthermore, many argue the level of infrasound emitted is similar to that of a running diesel engine or waves crashing on the beach.

Myth #6: Wind Turbines Are Too Noisy

While wind turbines do emit a steady “wooshing” sound, modern variations are actually relatively quiet and often flushed out by background noise. In fact, an operating wind farm at a distance of 750 to 1,000 feet is no noisier than a kitchen refrigerator.

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Skip the guesswork and claim ownership of your parcel to get your complimentary Wind LandEstimate™ and – if you like what you see – you can create a listing on the LandGate Marketplace to gain access to thousands of wind investors and potential buyers. We’ll even help you fine-tune your listing to ensure you get the best offers possible.

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