Conventional sources of electricity come from burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas, oil and from nuclear fuels. There are fears of fossil fuel shortages, and an international consensus that burning fossil fuels is contributing to our planet's increasingly rapid climate change.
Power generation from clean energy sources has become increasingly important. To reflect these needs, the Canadian government's targets seek to increase Canada's electricity generated by renewable sources to 25% by 2015, and 40% by 2020. The benefits of wind energy in Canada are extensive:
- New energy generation helps to meet the growing demand for electricity.
- Increased diversity of supply and therefore, increased security of supply.
- Aids in the prevention of biodiversity loss caused by unchecked world temperature rises.
For more information on wind energy in Canada, visit: www.canwea.ca
Frequently Asked Questions
Farm animals and wind farms co-exist very happily
|People visiting wind farms are surprised how quiet they are|
Some people have concerns about the impact of wind farms on house prices, health concerns, and other issues. As a result, many studies have been done with regard to these issues and are available on Government and Industry association websites. To help people find good quality information, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) lists Windy Myths about Wind Power. Many more facts about Wind Energy can also be found on the CanWEA Wind Facts page (FAQ's).
How strong does the wind have to blow?
Wind turbines start operating at wind speeds of 4 to 5 metres per second (around 10 miles an hour) and reach maximum power output at around 15 metres per second (around 33 miles per hour). In gale force winds (25 metres per second, 50+ miles per hour) wind turbines shut down to reduce unnecessary wear and tear. For more information on wind energy, see the CanWEA factsheets on wind energy.
Do the turbines affect birds and wildlife?
The greatest impact to wildlife is climate change, and wind energy is an important contribution to combating it. During the development of a wind farm, an Avian Impact Assessment report is created, and submitted within the projects environmental assessment. The report typically contains detail on the avian monitoring methodology used, the associated data recorded, and conclusions drawn.
Do wind turbines frighten livestock?
Wind farms are popular with farmers because their land can continue to be used for growing crops or grazing livestock. Sheep, cows, and horses are not disturbed by wind turbines, and in fact they usually enjoy the shelter that turbine towers can provide from the wind and the sun. Likewise, working dogs are also unaffected by wind turbines.
Are they noisy?
Since wind turbines are large mechanical equipment, they can be expected to produce noise. However, as wind turbine technology has eloved, the sound emmitted by wind turbines has decreased. In current designs the mechanical noise is almost obselete, resulting in only the interaction of the air and the turbine parts producing noise. This noise decreases as the radial distance from the turbine increases. To relate this, the compressor of a refridgerator produces 40-45dB of noise. According the to the Government of Nova Scotia, a wind energy project would have a noise level of between 35 and 45 dB at 350 metres away (Check out the Energy Nova Scotia Wind page for more information). Federal and provincial jurisdictions establish minimum distances from turbines to occupied dwellings to minimize this noise.
Does turbine noise have any effect on health?
A study done by Health Canada in 2014 investigated the health effects of wind turbine noise. This study found that wind turbine noise was not associated with self-reported sleep, illness or stress levels. The summary of these results can be reviewed on the Health Canada Environmental and Workplace Health page.