There is no wrong answer, they both have a lot of subjective inputs so basically it boils down to your preference. If you think cost is unimportant in return for being slightly greener, wind power may be viable to you. And if you are annoyed that rich progressive elites embraced it and then stuck the turbines in your backyard over your protests, you may have that irritation persist to such an extent that you have psychological or psychosomatic issues, like Wind Turbine Syndrome. Psychology is primarily-symptom based so if you have a symptom, no one can really tell you that you don't have a disease.
Is Wind Turbine Syndrome real? Not sure, people who have it say it is and it seems like it would bug me if I could hear them. In old fluorescent light bulbs, for example, it wasn't just the sickly blue light that bothered people it was the humming. Now the frequency is higher so people can't hear it and thus it may only be making your pets insane.
And it bugs me when I see wind turbines and I don't even live anywhere near them. California loves to show 'leadership' when it comes to environmental fads so when I drive to Silicon Valley and see wind turbines outside Livermore I am reminded that activists insisted they would 'pay for themselves' by 20 years ago and are currently still $15 billion in the red.
There is a reason people in the 13th century wondered, 'can't we create something that works a little better than this wind thing?' It isn't as viable as people painting a wildly optimistic scenario claim now either.
Yet viability is not going to be why a government pet project succeeds or fails, only the complaints of constituents will make a difference.
Dr. Colette Bonner, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health in Ireland, has been quoted in a variety of policy proposals related to noise and set back distance, advising Minister Jan O'Sullivan regarding revisions to 2006 standards that “there is a consistent cluster of symptoms related to wind turbine syndrome which occurs in a number of people in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines.”
Well, that's epidemiology right there. You can find almost anything if you try. We have had similar claims in the US, about self-reported mental health issues after wind turbines went up, especially among people who were against the turbines in the first place. But this was not a 'study' written by an anti-wind-turbine activist, it is a doctor who believes it after listening to the advice of other experts and doing a literature review. If you suddenly claim to have irritability, sleeplessness, headaches and can't concentrate, you may have Wind Turbine Syndrome. But I bet the afflicted people also had NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard-ism) prior to that. Green energy, like all energy, is a great idea - when it's somewhere else.
That aside, it's now fun to watch the Irish Department of Health deflect the claims of its own expert with the argument that the Department of Health’s deputy chief medical officer's statement “did not constitute expert advice.”
So then what would constitute expert medical advice on a medical issue by a doctor who happens to be one of the top medical authorities in the country? Apparently only statements that say positive things about an alternative energy scheme the Irish government happens to like.
They may not be great for people but they sure are terrible for bats and birds. But they can't hire paid lobbyists, so I bet wind turbines are here to stay.
Credit: Rose Lincoln, Harvard News Office. Link.
- Wind Turbine Studies: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
- The Real Science On Wind Farm Impact: Noise, Infrasound And Health
- Not Just Fracking- Wind Power Causes Made-Up Health Problems Too
- Wind Farms Can Be Viable, They Just Need One Hard To Do Thing
- Advocacy Group Survey Results Laud Viability Of Wind Power