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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Study to determine health effects of turbines

"Researchers at nearby Queen's University have embarked on the first study to probe whether wind turbines built over communities can cause adverse health effects. The study measures residents' health and well-being before the turbines arrived on the island, again when the turbines were built but not yet operational and again after they'd been operating for a few months.

People living close to turbines in other regions have reported nausea, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, sleep deprivation and tinnitus - an incessant ringing in a person's ears.

However, there has yet to be any substantive research linking those ailments to the presence of windmills, says lead study author Neal Michelutti, a research scientist in the Queen's University biology department.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time that people have acquired a snapshot of community health prior to wind turbines," he says. "It gives us [a sense of] community health that we can use in a before-and-after comparison.""
Previous research, much of which has not been peer reviewed, links wind turbines with a variety of physical and emotional problems. Researchers in Portugal claimed the turbines contributed to "vibroacoustic disease," a full body reaction to low frequency noise that affects the auditory and vestibular system, which controls a person's ability to balance. A pediatrician in the United States coined the term "wind turbine syndrome" to describe the symptoms people experience from living near wind turbines, such as sleep disturbance, headache, vertigo, ear pressure, tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and concentration and memory problems.
Dr. Michelutti says he and his colleagues are neutral on the issue and have not accepted funding from any anti-wind turbine groups or wind-energy development companies.

"What's important to note is no one on this study is against windmills," he says. "I think most people think windmills are great, but the question is does it make sense to build them on top of communities? Really what we're hoping our study can contribute is information on proper setbacks for the turbines."

Conducting unbiased research on the health effects of living near wind turbines is key, says Robert McMurtry, a professor emeritus at University of Western Ontario and former assistant deputy minister of population and public health at Health Canada. Such a hot button issue deserves proper tracking in order to advise on setback rates for future wind farms, he says.

source of article:

Source of image of Vestas V112-3.0 MW turbine:

In doing some research concerning wind power I discovered that:

"The wind potential for Europe could be 20 times greater than energy demand in 2020, according to the latest report from the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

At the end of 2008, 65 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity was installed in the European Union’s 27 nations, producing 142 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity. Wind energy currently meets 3.7% of EU electricity demand and the goal is to boost that to 12% by 2020.

The report projects that wind power’s potential in 2020 will be three times greater than Europe’s expected electricity demand, rising to a factor of seven by 2030.

Despite the environmental and social constraints on wind sector development, like noise, visual impact and danger to wildlife, wind could easily play a much bigger role in achieving the European renewable energy targets of 20% of power generation from renewable sources by 2020."

In Canada, the country's current installed capacity of wind power is 2,775 MW - enough to power over 840,000 homes equivalent to about 1 % of Canada’s total electricity demands.A typical modern wind turbine will produce enough electricity to meet the annual needs of about 500 homes.Turbines are tall – but they are also relatively slim. Generally each tower base is only 8 meters across and each turbine spaced 250 meters apart. Rows of turbines are set 1/2 kilometer apart, making for a lot of space in between each tall thin tower. In general, the entire wind farm
including towers, substation, and access roads use only about 5% of their allotted landWind farms can be found throughout Canada – and in some surprising places.
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, a World Heritage site located in southern Alberta
is one such example. Several wind farms have been located within view of this
Heritage Site. There is also a wind farm in downtown Toronto source:

Public awareness and concern over the environmental impacts of conventional electricity production continues to grow. From an environmental perspective, Wind energy is a proven electricity source that does not contribute to climate change, air and water pollution, destroy habitat,or generate solid, toxic or nuclear wastes. Wind Energy can be substituted for other forms of electricity production to decrease environmental concerns arising from the electricity sector.

A single wind turbine (660 kW) in an average year will produce 2,000 MWh of electricity, enough power for over 250 Canadian homes. Using wind to produce electricity rather than burning coal will leave 900,000 kilograms of coal in the ground and reduce 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, the same positive impact as taking 417 cars off the road or planting 10,000 trees. Newer
and larger wind turbines will result in an even greater positive impact. Canada now has 326 MW of wind energy capacity and CanWEA’s goal is 10,000 MW by 2010.


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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.