If you dig deep enough you will see past the fantastical headlines you’ll find arguments that are reasonable for both opposing and supporting green energy. However, there are some pretty common myths about green energy that opponents often use to justify their views. So we wanted to take a look at these and outline the common myths associated with green energy!
Renewables are expensive
While this was the case, around a decade ago, it is simply not the case now. Opponents often single out wind energy as a cost ineffective energy source. Yes, much like any energy production there are large upfront costs for manufacture and installation, and wind turbines are no exception. it is very common for most to think that wind turbines will never generate enough electricity to cover the costs of it’s operational lifetime.
However, the average wind farm can take just 3-6 months to produce the amount of energy needed for it’s manufacture. That’s not all! Not only will these 3-6 months cover the manufacture, they will also cover the installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning after it’s 20-25 year lifespan!
Other sources like solar or hydro do have longer pay off times than wind but green energy is getting cheaper and cheaper. Hydropower takes a lot of planning though once optimally installed can return significant return on investment. Solar panels will take a long time before they are able to payback for their installation, though in the meantime they will net you large savings on your energy bills.
Wind farms are dangerous and harm the environment
Another commonly quoted saying is that wind turbines harm local environments and kill wildlife, specifically birds. Which is not wholly true. Wind turbines do kill birds, though it is a hazard of energy generation, not specifically wind energy. As for the environment the turbines do little to no damage. There is the issue of taking up land but compared to a coal or nuclear plant the impact would be minimal in comparison.
Wind turbines are also not as noisy as you may think. The Ontario Ministry of Environment stated that the human pain threshold for noise ranges from 0 decibels to 145 decibels. 145 decibels being intolerable, incredibly painful, and 0 being complete silence with no pain whatsoever. A typical wind farm will generate between 35-45 decibels.
To put this into perspective 35 decibels is the equivalent to a quiet bedroom and 55 decibels is the same as a car going 45 miles per hour.
As for avian fatality wind turbine is not the monster that opponents have claimed it to be. The US and Canada are two notable examples of countries that have accurately mapped and tracked causes of annual bird fatalities.
The US Department of Energy has found that wind turbines cause roughly 1 in every 30,000 avian deaths. In Canada. the figure refers to specifically wind energy collisions. They found that, annually, 13,060 deaths were caused by wind energy. This was out of a total 186,429,553 annual bird deaths. Going back to the US, a figure in 2009 stated that for every bird death caused by a wind turbine, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants killed 2,118.
No Wind or Sun, no power
As we briefly touched on earlier in this post, the source of renewable energy is intangible, you can’t really physically touch it or dig it out of the ground and sell it. Therefore, when most people hear about Solar or Wind they assume that without sufficient light from the sun and rapid wind speeds they would stop producing electricity.
While a case can be made for Wind power it’s a little harder to justify the claim with solar. If solar panels could not produce electricity while the sun wasn’t shining it’d be a lost cause to use them in Britain! While it is true that on sunnier days panels are more efficient, solar panels can still generate electricity even on an average overcast British day.
The main reason why people believe renewable energy isn’t reliable is that they’re used to having one source of fuel continually providing electricity. A 100% renewable or green energy mix would consist of a balance of mixed energy sources. A situation where wind or solar would produce less energy it would be replace with biomass or hydropower. In order to do so however, we will need a smarted grid and technology backed by efficiency and battery storage.
We hope this post has provided some clarity on some of these renewable energy myths! Thanks for taking the time to read this post, we appreciate it, have a great day!