Negative Environmental Impacts Will Be Significant
Wind turbines proposed in this area recently may be as much as 600' to 650' tall. To put this in perspective, the transmission line towers that run in the proposed area are only 200' tall. Also, in Texas, there are only 9 buildings taller than these turbines. This can be compared to having 60 to 80 sixty story buildings dotting our landscape. Construction has significant impact on the natural landscape.
The sheer size of these installations requires building new straight and sturdy roads across landowner property that can handle semi-trucks delivering ~150' long blades and cement trucks delivering tons of material. Dedicated cement plants are built to produce the tons of cement required for each turbine or foundations for the support facilities. Material for cement is brought in and has to be staged and stored. Vegetation must be cleared wherever construction is to occur Trenching and transmission line corridors will leave miles long areas void of trees and brush. Assembly areas must be created where turbines can be staged and built. Warehouses may be constructed as well as parking areas for construction crews and equipment. All of this will increase traffic, litter, damage to our roads, impact on our wildlife, damage to our land and increase noise in our communities.
Each turbine is required to have an FAA approved hazard light. As many in our local area can attest, these lights are visible for up to 30 miles or more. This would bring an enormous amount of light pollution to our area. Our amazing night skies will be changed forever. Our land and homes in close proximity will be impacted by 60 to 80 lights blinking in harmony every few seconds. One landowner who has turbines 18 miles from his home reported that he can no longer sit outside on his porch at night as the lights are so distracting that he can no longer enjoy the warm summer night sky.
Each turbine is also a mechanical generator. The sound that these turbines produce has been compared to a jet that never lands. Sound can be as high as 70db which is the same as an air conditioning unit or a loud conversation and it never stops as long as the wind blows. Landowners have reported that the greatest impact is at night when sleep can be interrupted. One landowner who has a turbine approximately 2,000 feet from her home, stated they she is always tired due to the turbines. The noise outside can be just as distracting and irritating to landowners who have enjoyed the peace and serenity of the country life for generations.But the really harmful noise that these turbines produce is that which is below the range of human perception - below 20 hertz. Sounds in this frequency range are called infrasound and are so dangerous that NASA has developed infrasound weapons! Wind turbine blades produce sound in the 16 to 19 hertz range, a frequency which has been identified to actually separate the flesh from the internal bone structure! Is this what you want to be sleeping next to? Do you want your animals subjected to this? Low frequency sound also travels much further than audible frequency sound. That is why it is used in submarine and satellite communications. There has been a great deal of effort expended to cover this information up as it's implications may eventually prove to be devastating.
Of course, each turbine needs lubrication – 60 gallons or more in each turbine! Leaks are commonplace in wind turbines, so commonplace that new guidelines requiring dedicated spill management structures are being placed on new turbines in some areas.
But the largest and most devastating environmental impact of wind turbines is the end-of-life scenario for the turbines.
Wind turbines have two devastating realities that combined create an environmental disaster. Firstly, wind turbines are massive structures. The height of the latest wind turbines can exceed 600 and upwards of 650 feet. They are enormous structures. As mentioned, there are only 9 buildings in all of Texas which reach 650 feet in height. People concentrate on the enormous size of the mast and the blades, but the base required to anchor a structure this size in enormous. It consists of a steel reinforced block of concrete which can be greater than 50 feet wide by over 30 feet deep! That translates to 26,180 cubic yards of concrete. That means that the foundation of each turbine may contain enough concrete to pour building slabs for over 235, 2,000 sq ft houses or enough concrete to pave a road almost 13 1/2 miles long! It could take as many as 3, 273 concrete trucks to deliver enough concrete for each wind turbine foundation. Imagine the enormous damage to the community infrastructure that many concrete trucks will cause.
Next consider the blades of the turbines. While the promoters will say the life of turbine blades is over 25 years, the truth is that the majority of blades will be replaced within 10 years. These blades are enormous, stretching over 150 feet long and weighing up to 35 tons each. Wind turbine blades are made from fiberglass and are completely non-recyclable. As a result, decommissioned blades are turning up in landfills at an astonishing rate.
It is important to understand that they will be there forever.
Finally, there is the steel mast and machinery of the turbine. These materials can be recycled,
While every wind farm promoter will declare that they will clean up the site and remove everything at the end of the life of the wind turbines life, a careful examination of the structure of the companies reveals that the companies actually cease to be viable entities at the end of the wind turbines life. Thus, there is not a single penny left to cover what will be an enormous cost to clean up and remove the wind turbines when they cease to become income producers for the owners. So when the community goes to the owners to get them to fulfill their contractual restoration obligations there is nothing there….. no available funds, no company, no people, nothing. The community is left with the enormous cost of cleaning up after this travesty of corporate greed. Since few municipalities have the funds or wherewithal to accomplish this, the ecological disaster will remain forever.