Wind turbines, as a source of energy, are vastly expanding in response to a global demand for renewable energy sources. People who live in areas where they are built have experienced both positive and negative effects from their development.
Wind turbines, when turning, make a distinctive noise that has proven disturbing to people who live near them. The noise can travel as far as a mile and during windy seasons is ceaseless. The EPA claims that this noise may reach high enough decibels to disturb sleep.
The generation of electricity from a renewable energy source benefits not only the local but also the global environments. Areas that use wind power enjoy a significantly lower level of air- and water-pollutant contamination. Land is also less damaged than by mining operations and damming of waterways.
Environmental Adverse Impacts
The construction of wind farms has a direct effect on wildlife population and conservation. Bat and bird populations in areas where wind farms are built are significantly damaged, and their migration patterns disrupted. Farmlands become scarred by roadways that must be built to and from each individual turbine.
Negative Economic Impact
Property values in areas where wind turbines are located significantly decrease because of the resulting noise and because of the negative visual impact they have on landscaping. According to Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, areas of Scotland which once enjoyed a rich tourist industry because of their landscaping have experienced a significant decline in tourism revenue as a direct result of wind farming on their ridges.
The local economy does benefit from the construction of a wind farm in the community. This stimulation occurs in the creation of renewable employment; most wind farms will require some local management and maintenance. The local individuals receive substantial income from land rent paid by the power company, and in turn some of this income is put back into the local schools through taxes. During construction, a local area benefits from the money spent in local businesses by those working on site construction.
Local roads are temporarily damaged by the heavy traffic and weight loads they bear during construction. Most areas, however, see significant road reconstruction after the wind farm is completed, which leaves the roads in better condition than they were before the project began.