FAQ

Is wind energy more expensive than conventional energy?

Wind is free. Unlike conventional energy resources, the cost of producing wind energy is not affected by the availability or cost of fuel or by inflation and other economic factors. Combined with continually-improving turbine technology, this has led wind energy to the forefront of a new, clean, and affordable generation of energy sources. In many cases, wind power prices match or even beat new coal, nuclear, and natural gas sources. Since coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy costs are likely to increase in the future due to rising fuel costs and pollution control requirements, this trend is only likely to accelerate.

Does wind energy from the Shinebone Wind project rely on subsidies?

Pioneer Green is a privately-funded company that does not rely on any government funds. Shinbone Wind will not receive any federal “stimulus” funding. Wind energy projects typically qualify for certain tax credits. Other sources of electricity, however, receive far more support and even that does not account for the hidden costs of importing fuel.1

What happens when the wind doesn’t blow?

Our energy grids are complex switch boards that connect a variety of power sources to thousands of different energy consumers. No power facility is 100% available, and the total amount of power being consumed is constantly in flux. Teams of operators manage these fluctuations and maintain constant power supply to consumers. If the wind isn’t blowing, many other energy sources feeding the grid simply make up the difference.

Do wind turbines kill birds?

Wind energy is friendly to birds and other wildlife. Buildings, power lines, cats, automobiles, pesticides, and communications towers each have a significantly larger impact on bird mortality than wind turbines. Wind power typically replaces fossil fuels, whose contribution to air and water pollution are far more harmful to birds.2 Not surprisingly, prominent wildlife and environmental groups, including the Audubon Society, strongly support properly-sited wind energy facilities.3

Do wind turbines make sound?

Only a small amount of sound is produced. A modern wind turbine produces very little sound, and it is often masked by the wind itself and other background sound. The sound that a turbine produces close up is a “whooshing” sound, and at a distance of 1,000 feet, a wind turbine is quieter than a typical kitchen refrigerator.4

Do wind turbines use water?

No. It takes huge amounts of water to generate electricity using fossil and nuclear fuels. By contrast, Shinbone Wind will use practically no water.

How much wind power is currently being generated in the U.S.?

Currently, over 45,000 megawatts of wind power capacity are installed across the United States, which is enough to power 10 million American homes. Wind is a promising energy source for the future and our wind potential is just beginning to be tapped. Every year, more wind energy facilities are connected to the grid, and there are many more in development.

Do wind farms affect property values?

No. Scientific, peer-reviewed, research has been conducted about the possible effect of nearby wind turbines on property values. These studies have found no evidence that wind energy facilities negatively impact property values. According to one such study, “Specifically, neither the view of the wind facilities nor the distance of the home to those facilities is found to have any consistent, measurable, and statistically significant effect on home sales prices.”5

What kind of jobs will Shinbone Wind create?

Development, construction, operation, and maintenance of a wind project require the employment of many people from a wide array of fields. The construction process is the largest contributor to job creation. It will require many construction workers, engineers, planners, and material suppliers (gravel, cement, lumber, rebar, etc). A team of full-time employees will have permanent jobs in operation and maintenance.

Will the electricity produced by Shinbone Wind be used locally?

The amount of the electricity that the project will produce would be enough to power about 2/3 of the homes in Cherokee County, combined. Cherokee County is located on the boundary between two, large electrical grids, one operated by TVA and its cooperatives and the other by Alabama Power. The energy produced at Shinbone Wind is expected to be supplied to the TVA system, where it will blend with electricity produced by many other sources and supply consumers over a wide area that includes Cherokee County and surrounding counties. But the economic benefits of the project will stay right here in Cherokee County and nearby areas.

Will Shinbone Wind increase area property taxes?

No. The project will not raise anyone’s taxes and might even reduce them. Shinbone Wind will contribute significant tax revenues to Cherokee County, which means more money for the community to invest in schools, roads and services. It is even possible that the project’s tax revenues would be partly used to reduce existing taxes.

Do wind turbines cause any health problems?

No. During the over 30 years of wind energy production worldwide the possible health effects of wind turbines have been researched extensively by a variety of institutions. All of the peer-reviewed, scientific studies find no evidence linking wind turbines to any negative health effects. The Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Sierra Club are among the numerous groups that have researched this topic and concluded that there is no connection between wind turbines and health.6,7,8

 

1 Committee on Health, Environmental, and Other External Costs and Benefits of Energy Production and Consumption; National Research Council. Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use. Washington, D.C.: National Academies, 2010.

2 Erickson, Wallace P., Gregory D. Johnson, and David P. Young, Jr. “A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions.” USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. 191st ser. PSW.GTR (2005).

3 “Wind Sighting Advisory,” Sierra Club Conservation Policies.

4 GE Global Research, National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

5 Hoen, Ben, Ryan Wiser, Peter Cappers, Mark Thayer, and Gautam Sethi. The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis. Publication no. LBNL-2829E. Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2009.

6 “The Real Truth About Wind Energy: A Literature Introduction to Wind Turbines in Ontario,” Sierra Club Canada.

7 “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel,” Ellenbogen et. al (2012), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

8 “Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound from Wind Turbines,” O’Neal et. al (2011), Noise Control Engineering Journal.