Wind Energy - What are the issues or problems with Wind Power

Ocean wind energy farmsProblems at Wind Turbines and Farms

While wind turbines are generally considered a clean and renewable source of energy, there are a few environmental and other concerns associated with their use. Ocean wind farms are being questioned with regard to their potential effect on whales and dolphins, and now land wind farms are being questioned. It's important to note that these concerns vary in significance depending on the location, design, and management of wind turbine projects.

Here are some of the common issues associated with wind turbines:

Bird and Bat Collisions:

Wind turbines can pose a risk to birds and bats, especially when located in migration routes or habitats with high wildlife activity. Collisions with rotating turbine blades can result in injuries or fatalities for these animals. However, it's worth noting that the impact on bird and bat populations is relatively low compared to other human-made structures such as buildings and communication towers.

Nonetheless, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an independent body that reports to the federal government , on May, 22,2023 says " “the mortality at wind farms seems to be the top threat” to the hoary bat, the silver-haired bat and the eastern red bat. Studies in 2019 say that each turbine kills approximately 10 bats per year, which adds up to tens of thousands of individual bats killed each year in Canada alone.

France shuts down a wind farm over bird deaths

Connexion France reports (December 2023) a windfarm in Lunas, southern France, operated by Énergie Renouvelable du Languedoc (ERL), a subsidiary of the German group EnW, has been ordered to shut down by the Nîmes Court of Appeal. This marks the first closure of its kind in the country due to noise complaints from residents and concerns about its impact on birds, specifically the golden eagle ('aigle royal' in French). Here are key facts:

  • Closure Order: The Nîmes Court of Appeal ruled on December 8 that the Bernargues windfarm in Lunas must be closed. ERL has a 15-month deadline to dismantle the turbines and return the land to its original state.
  • Reasons for Closure: The closure is a result of noise complaints from local residents and the adverse impact on wildlife, particularly the golden eagle. A dead golden eagle was found at the base of one of the turbines in April, and wildlife associations estimate that over a thousand birds have been killed by the turbine blades in the area.
  • Penalties for Delay: ERL faces a penalty of €3,000 per day for 180 days if it fails to meet the 15-month deadline for dismantling the turbines. This decision reflects growing concerns about the environmental impact of windfarms, particularly in areas with significant wildlife populations.
  • Local Biodiversity Concerns: The windfarm is situated in an area that serves as the habitat for many golden eagles, emphasizing the conflict between renewable energy projects and the preservation of local biodiversity. The decision to close the windfarm aligns with biodiversity activists' efforts, such as the spokesperson for the Collectif pour la protection des paysages de la biodiversité 34-12, Marjolaine Villey-Migraine.

Noise and Visual Impact:

Wind turbines generate some level of noise during operation, which can be a concern for nearby residents, particularly if the turbines are located in close proximity to homes or sensitive areas. Additionally, the visual impact of wind turbines on the landscape is subjective, and some people may find them visually intrusive.

Land Use and Habitat Fragmentation:

 Wind farms require large areas of land for installation, which can result in the conversion of natural habitats or agricultural lands. This land use change can lead to habitat fragmentation and potentially disrupt local ecosystems. Careful site selection and planning can help minimize these impacts.

Potential for Negative Health Effects:

Some individuals living in close proximity to wind turbines have reported health issues such as sleep disturbances, headaches, and annoyance due to low-frequency noise or infrasound generated by the turbines. However, scientific studies have not consistently found a direct causal link between these health effects and wind turbine operation.

Impact on Local Communities:

The development of wind farms can sometimes create conflicts within local communities. Concerns about property values, impacts on tourism, and disagreements over the distribution of economic benefits can arise. Effective community engagement and transparent decision-making processes can help address these concerns and foster positive relationships.

Manufacturing and Decommissioning Challenges:

Wind turbines require the use of materials and energy during manufacturing, which may have associated environmental impacts. Additionally, decommissioning and recycling of wind turbine components at the end of their lifespan can pose technical and logistical challenges.

Technical and reliability issues

Beyond the environmental issues noted above, and the obvious problem of "they don't go, when the wind don't blow", there a host of practical problems with wind energy.

Business issues: New Jersey:

The Danish energy company Ørsted announced that it would pull out of a billion-dollar project to build wind turbines off the New Jersey coast.  Ørsted said, “Since the announcement, the US offshore wind projects have experienced further negative developments”.  The project, called Ocean Wind, was a two-phased development that would have provided power to around 1 million people. Plans for Ocean Wind 1 had been in the works since 2019 and called for as many as 98 offshore wind turbines reaching more than 850 feet about 15 miles from the coasts of Cape May and Atlantic Counties. Ørsted was required to place a $200 million guarantee into state coffers, which will ostensibly be returned to ratepayers now that the company has scrapped the project.


It's worth noting that many of these concerns are actively addressed through careful project planning, environmental impact assessments, and ongoing research to improve turbine design and minimize potential impacts. Wind energy remains one of the most environmentally friendly forms of electricity generation, playing a crucial role in transitioning to a cleaner energy future.


Many references and sources are included in the text above. Below are others:


  1. Three bat species at risk of becoming endangered as wind turbines take heavy toll on wildlife
    PUBLISHED MAY 11, 2023, UPDATED MAY 13, 2023
  2.  Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Landscapes and Wildlife -
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  3.  Wind Energy and Wildlife: A Balancing Act
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. Environmental and Social Impacts of Wind Energy
    Union of Concerned Scientists
  5. Wind Energy: The Case of a Controversial Technology
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  6. Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects: An Expert Panel Review
    Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
  7. Avian Collisions with Wind Turbines: A Summary of Existing Studies and Comparisons to Other Sources of Avian Collision Mortality in the United States
    U.S. Department of Energy
  8. Wind Turbines and Birds: A Background
    American Bird Conservancy
  9. Wind Turbines, Human Health, and Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Review of the Scientific Literature
    Australian Medical Association
  10. The Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy: A Review
    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
  11. Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Wind Power
    Energy Policy

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