Potential Downsides to Wind Farms

Is This What We Want Surrounding Sheppard Air Force Base?

Right now, there’s a lot of initiative to “go green” and find renewable, cleaner sources of energy. Wind power is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world, along with solar power. Wind energy doesn’t generate the greenhouse gases that are harmful to our atmosphere, and helps reduce our reliance on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. While there are plenty of advantages to wind energy, since the government subsideses it so much, it is important to note there are many disadvantages as well, especially when you live in an area with a military training base is located.

  • Reliability. Since weather and wind cannot be controlled, wind energy cannot be relied upon exclusively. Wind turbines only generate power when wind is blowing, therefore when the air is calm and still, you could find yourself without power and will need to rely on a backup energy source.
  • Threat to Wildlife. Wind turbines can be unsafe to wildlife, particularly flying creatures like birds and bats. Sky-bound wildlife may accidentally collide with the blades of a wind turbine. Chances of surviving a direct hit from a turbine blade is grim for these animals.
  • Threat to Human Life. Although the chances are slim, severe storms or high winds can cause potential safety hazards to people near wind turbines. A blade that breaks may fall and injure anyone standing too close.
  • Noise Pollution. Those who live within close proximity of wind turbines may be bothered by the noise they generate.
  • Visual Pollution. Wind turbines are large and visually dominate the landscape on which they sit. Their industrial presence disrupts the natural beauty, and are considered by many who live near them to be eyesores.

Wind farms can also pose a risk to pilots in small planes, helicopters, and other low-flying aircraft. Last year a UK newspaper revealed Royal Air Force pilots had reported several near misses with wind farms leading to over 1,000 manual corrections to their charts every month to try and keep up with the changes.

Talk of a wind farm possibly being built near Sheppard Air Force Base is raising some legitimate concerns for the safety of the pilots and the impact wind farms have on the radar used to track aircraft. There’s also an economic disadvantage in this case, as the installation of wind farms could cause the Department of Defense to move SAFB’s pilot training programs to another Air Force base. For Wichita Falls and the surrounding areas, that could an annual revenue loss of $750 million.

While there are many advantages to wind energy, in some areas – particularly near SAFB – the payoff will not be worth it!!!!!