My wife was traveling westbound on US-30 the other day and witnessed this giant wind turbine blade at the intersection with US-421. Impressive!
We are truly living through the 3rd industrial revolution (as explained in this video).
I saw the early stages of commercial wind farms in northern Iowa, near my parents’ childhood home. It was erected in 2002. The turbines seemed enormous at the time. They stood 65 meters tall (at the central hub) and produced a maximum 0.676 MW of power.
Off-shore wind turbines (larger than the on-shore variants, and comparatively new) are now reaching even 13.0 MW, producing nearly 20 times the peak power of those 2002 versions (which I believe are being or have been decommissioned). The center hub stands 141 meters above the water. A single spin of this new wind turbine could power a home in the UK for two days!
While you’re here, you can find the details of any US wind farm on this amazing interactive map.
I see several wind farms on my drive down I-57 in Central Illinois. I believe in wind and solar power. But i would like to ask you, Adam, what you say to people who are concerned about the birds that get killed by the win turbines.
Thank you for commenting and asking, Sr. Edith.
Our dear friends at the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy remind us that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Not in economics, and not in physics. We clearly need to switch to low/no carbon energy sources, but it doesn’t mean that they have zero impact.
The best answer I can honestly give you is that yes, some birds (and bats) will be killed by the rotating blades. How many, is a question of science.
Here are a few resources I quickly found from what I believe to be reputable sources.
The 2nd link notes that we need to look at these energy systems from cradle to grave. So while yes, renewable energy systems have impacts, what is the magnitude relative to coal, nuclear, and fossil (natural) gas? Those also disrupt wildlife.
The 4th link is quite recent, and is early & hopeful data that we can keep tweaking design to lower impacts.
I like this definition of “blade runner” much better than the Hollywood one.
Amazing feat to make that turn with poise. And that is just one of the blades.
Wow, what I found most interesting to see was the desertification of the west on the
wind farm interactive map. That is horrific for me. I think first of birds. Then I cry.