Wind Farms: The facts and the fallacies

by Andrew Macintosh and Christian Downie

In recent times, concerns have been raised about the growing number of wind farms and their impacts on communities and the environment. Many of these concerns have been fuelled by well-organised anti-wind groups attempting to persuade many people, including several prominent politicians, that wind energy does not have a legitimate role to play in addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

The purpose of this paper is to assess the merits of the main arguments used to justify opposition to wind farms, namely: the competitiveness and cost of wind energy; its efficiency and reliability; its ability to reduce greenhouse emissions; fire risk and noise pollution; impacts on biodiversity, landscape and heritage values; and effects on property prices. The evidence indicates that almost all of the claims made by anti-wind groups lack substance.

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