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Frequently Asked Questions about Wind Power

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Why are we building wind farms?

Do people actually like wind energy?

Did you know? One turn of an average turbine generates enough electricity to drive an electric car for 3 miles.

Wind power helps us to cut down on the fossil fuel we import, without causing pollution.

Surveys regularly find that most people in the UK agree with using wind power.

We rely on energy for almost everything we do, and as a country we are using more and more electricity in our daily lives. At the moment most of our electricity is generated from fossil fuels such as gas and oil. Not only are they bad for the environment, causing pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, we have to rely on them to be shipped in from abroad which is expensive.

An Ipsos MORI poll taken in 2012 showed that 67% of the public are in favour of wind and 28% are strongly in favour.1 A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times found much the same, that 69% of the British Public wanted the current level of wind energy increased or maintained.2
Sources:
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http://www.renewableuk.com/en/news/ press-releases.cfm/2012-04-23-new-ipsosmori-survey-uk-public-supports-wind-energybecause-it-reduces-dependence-on-energyimports-and-cuts-carbon-emissions http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/ document/ic8lcj9svf/YG-Archives-Pol-STresults%20-%20121019.pdf

Will wind farms scare tourists away?

Are wind farms bad for your health?

On the whole, no. In fact, wind farms themselves are actually becoming tourist attractions.
Tourism is a vital industry in the UK so its important for Wind Power to work in harmony with our natural landscapes. While it might seem as though a wind farm would make a destination less pretty, 80% of UK residents wouldnt be put off holidaying in the UK by wind farms, and 40% would like to visit a wind farm on holiday according to a recent VisitScotland report.1 In fact 35,000 people take trips to Scroby Sands Windfarm in Great Yarmouth each year2, and nearly 250,000 people have visited Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow since it opened in September 2009.3
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No. Wind farms are not bad for your health.

They do not emit polluting gases like nitrogen and sulphur oxides, and do not cause health problems through noise. In 2009, an expert panel from the UK, US, Canada and Denmark wrote a review entitled "Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects" concluding "there is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct physiological effects"1 and The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have concluded that properly sited wind farms have no direct effect on public health.2
Sources:
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http://www.visitscotland.org/default. aspx?page=2371 https://www.eonenergy.com/About-eon/ our-company/generation/our-current-portfolio/ wind/offshore/scroby-sands http://www.whiteleewindfarm.co.uk/

http://www.awea.org/Resources/Content. aspx?ItemNumber=4627 http://tools.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/ meeting_energy/wind/onshore/questions/ onshorewind_q4/onshorewind_q4.aspx

What happens when its not windy?

Are wind farms safe?

We cant turn the wind on and off, but when its blowing we can use it to reduce the fossil fuels we normally burn.
Its a bit like having a tumble drier and a washing line to wdry clothes. If its breezy outside (and not raining) you can hang clothes up to dry without needing to switch on the tumble dryer, saving some electricity and money. But if its raining you can just use the drier. In the same way, as the windiest country in Europe each year the savings from wind power mount up. Wind power currently saves 10, 498,138 tonnes of CO2 per year,1 a little less than the carbon footprint of the population of Lancashire.
Sources:
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Modern wind turbines are very safe, and the wind industry takes health and safety very seriously.
Wind farm developers stick to very strict laws and guidelines that make sure turbines are properly designed and maintained with safety in mind. In 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that no member of the public had ever been injured by a wind turbine; a fact that remains true to this day.

http://www.renewableuk.com/en/renewable-energy/wind-energy/uk-wind-energydatabase/

Are wind farms safe for birds and wildlife?

Environmental and conservation groups strongly support wind power.

They believe climate change to be the biggest threat to birds and wildlife a threat that wind turbines are designed to help combat. Like buildings, cars and other man-made objects, birds can sometimes collide with wind turbines, but the wind industry makes every effort to keep it to the very minimum possible
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and to protect all forms of wildlife. Developers work closely with conservation groups and carry out rigorous Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)1 before any work begins Wind farms must often make special arrangements for wildlife in order to be given permission to

build, such as the 'Bat Bunker' and reptile enhancement area at the Stanford Hill Wind Energy Park2.

https://www.gov.uk/environmental-impactassessments

http://www.pfr.co.uk/pfr/news/233/MP-Gordon-Henderson-officially-%20%20%20opensStandford-Hill-Wind-Energy-Park/

Did you know? The wind only needs to blow at about jogging speed (7mph) for a wind turbine to start turning

Do wind farms affect house prices?

What are the UK and EU Energy and Emissions Targets?


Governments across the world recognise that all countries need to do their part in cutting down on CO2 emissions.
The UK Climate Change Act 2008 1 set legally binding targets for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020, and 80% by 2050 (from 1990 levels). The Fourth UK Carbon Budget (2011) 2, which covers 2023 to 2027 - a milestone on the way to 2050 - legally commits the UK to a 50% reduction in emissions (from 1990 levels). In addition, the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009 sets a target of 15% of UK electricity, heat and transport from renewable sources by 2020. The UK's relatively low level of heat and transport from renewable sources means that approximately 30% of electricity will need to be renewable to reach the overall target.
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Wind farms do represent a change in the landscape, but its difficult to tell if there is an impact or not.
Like any other building work, some people worry that it will affect the value of their homes. At the moment it is too early to tell whether the effect will be a small change which goes away over time or not, and house prices can be changed by many different, complicated reasons. At the moment there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other that wind farms affect house prices. However amongst the conclusions of a 2007 RICS Research report, "What is the Impact of Wind Farms on House Prices"1 it was suggested that there were other factors "more significant than the presence of a wind farm" and that estate agents thought "proximity to a wind farm simply was not an issue."
Sources:
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http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/media/estates/ kenly-farm/images/RICS%20Property%20 report.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/reducing-the-uks-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-80-by-2050 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/1603/pdfs/uksiem_20111603_en.pdf

Why do we pay wind farms to switch off?

We pay all forms of generation to switch off from time to time, to make sure our electricity grid isnt dangerously overloaded, but the vast majority of payments are for other technologies than wind.
Too much or too little power on the national grid can cause problems, so National Grid has to make sure that the amount of electricity it buys from places like gas fired power stations and wind farms matches whats needed to power the country. When we have more power on the grid than we need we either have to export it to other countries, or tell some power stations to stop generating. When this happens National Grid pays generators compensation for loss of earnings and running costs. 1 All power stations are paid to turn off from time to time and most payments are for other technologies than wind. Its not a perfect solution

though and new upgrades over the next few years should reduce the need considerably.

The National Grid website has detailed information about balancing electricity needs.
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http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/ Balancing/

Do local communities benefit from wind farms?

How many people are employed in wind in the UK?

Most wind farms provide significant benefits to their local communities in ways that local people can control.
Many wind farms pay rent, maintain and refurbish local roads and employ local businesses during construction. Almost all wind farms provide benefit funds that local communities can spend as they choose. Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm in Kent will invest 1.2 into the local economy over its lifetime and has supported community buildings such as churches, day centres, memorial halls and visitor centres and funded Country Fayres, open-air concerts and charities that support older and vulnerable people, and young people get into employment, education or training. Some schemes also offer cheaper energy bills or insulation to local people.
Sources: http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/310506/ rwe-innogy/sites/wind-onshore/unitedkingdom/in-operation/local-community/

Around 12,000 people work directly in UK wind power, around the same as UK Fishing, and a further 20,000 rely on wind power through areas like manufacturing.
Whilst there are large scale turbine manufacturers based outside the UK, there are a number of supply chain companies based across the UK that make parts for turbines, and also small wind turbine manufacturers. In addition further employment comes from maintenance contracts. Current estimates suggest that there are 32000 people employed directly and indirectly in the UK in wind wave and tidal technologies. By 2020, that number could grow to around 70,000.
Sources: http://www.renewableuk.com/en/publications/index.cfm/working-green-britain

Is wind power responsible for rising energy bills?


Most of your energy bill is made up of importing energy. Wind power costs around 22p per day and can protect against future price rises.
Our energy bills are made up of lots of different elements, such as the costs of distributing and transmitting electricity, building and maintaining the Environmental costs make up around 6% of the average gas bill, and 11% of the average electricity bill. By far the biggest cost is the wholesale cost of gas and electricity, which is often imported in from places like Norway and Qatar. If the price goes up, its added to your bill. Wind power could protect us in the future from these price rises. As the wind is free, the more we can capture the less gas and electricity well need to import in future.
Sources: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ ofgem-publications/64006/ householdenergybillsexplainedudjuly2013web. pdf

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