Wind Turbines

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“A wind turbine is a machine for converting the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy”. (1) The inventor of the first electric wind turbine was Clevelander Charles Brush, who ran his entire Euclid Avenue mansion off of one for 20 years, which later made the cover of Scientific American in 1888. (2) Although the use of alternate energy didn't rise a great deal afterwards, this event did open the eyes for many environmentalists. Wind power is only one of our several “energy source[s] whose ‘fuel’ is free and will never be exhausted” (3) with the pros and cons not completely weighed out as to whether it will be truly beneficial or not. The two main issues regarding wind turbines are the environmental effects that they have and the cost effectiveness of building them. One of the biggest negatives of wind turbines is that they have been reported as a source of death for many birds. “The largest causes of mortality among birds include loss of habitat due to human infringement, environmental despoliation, and collisions with man-made objects”. (4) This effect on the ecosystem appears to be important, but others disagree. We can know for certain that there are some effects that wind turbines are having on the environment, simply from the fact that it is a man-made structure placed within the environment. How much of an effect they are having on the environment, however, still seems to be in debate. The Danish Energy and Environment agency has done one of the more intensive studies on the effects of wind turbines and has spent the last eight years studying and observing two large offshore wind farms, Horns Rev and Nysted. Their “report details the impacts on the surrounding ecosystem including fish, birds, sea mammals, and seabed species” and reported that the “effects of the large wind farms were mild”. (5) The report “Effects of Offshore Wind Farm Noise on Marine Mammals and Fish” was written this year targeting larger marine mammals such as...
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