FAQ

Is wind energy more expensive than conventional energy?

Wind is free. Unlike conventional energy resources, wind is not affected by market fluctuations, fuel price spikes, and inflation. These factors have led wind energy to the forefront of new affordable energy generation. In many cases, wind power prices can match or even beat new coal, nuclear, and natural gas generation. 1 What’s more, since coal, natural gas, and nuclear generation costs are likely to increase over time due to rising fuel and emissions compliance costs, wind energy is likely to be more competitively priced over time.

Does wind energy from the Great Bay project rely on subsidies?

Wind energy projects typically qualify for a federal production tax credit.1 However, given the current power market on the Delmarva Peninsula, Great Bay Wind Energy Center is an economically viable project regardless of subsidies. It is important to note that fossil fuels receive billions more in subsidies than renewables every year, and this doesn’t account for the trillions of dollars spent to protect foreign energy interests around the world. 2

What happens when the wind doesn’t blow?

An energy grid is a complex switch board that connects points of generation to points of load (locations where energy is consumed). No power plant is 100% available, and load is constantly changing. Teams of utility system operators manage these fluctuations and maintain constant power supply to consumers. If the wind isn’t blowing, there are multiple other energy sources feeding the grid to make up the difference until the breeze picks up.Furthermore, the grid operator in the Delmarva Peninsula, which is called PJM, has put in place policies, protocols, and programs to provide support for the development of variable energy resources like wind.3

Aren’t wind turbines killing birds at an alarming rate?

Buildings, power lines, cats, automobiles, pesticides, and communications towers each have a significantly larger impact on bird mortality than wind turbines. 4Wind is directly replacing fossil fuels whose contribution to air and water pollution are far more harmful to bird populations than wind energy.4Not surprisingly, prominent wildlife and environmental groups have publicly supported wind energy, including the Audubon Society and Sierra Club. 5

How loud is a wind turbine?

A modern wind turbine produces very little sound, and this sound is often masked by blowing wind and background noise. The sound that a turbine produces close up is a “whooshing” sound, and at a distance of 1000 feet, a wind turbine is quieter than a kitchen refrigerator. 6

Do wind turbines use water?

It takes huge amounts of water to generate electricity using fossil and nuclear fuels. By contrast, Great Bay Wind, and wind farms across the world, require practically no water to operate.Wind energy means more and cheaper water available for homes, farms and businesses.

How much wind power is currently being generated in the United States?

Currently, over 45,000 megawatts of wind power are installed across the United States—enough to power 10 million American homes and bring tremendous economic benefits to a wide range of communities. Wind is a promising energy source for the future and the United States’ wind potential is just beginning to be tapped. Every day, more wind energy is connected to the grid, and there are thousands of new wind megawatts in development.

Will the wind farm hurt my property value?

Extensive scientific, peer-reviewed, evidence-based research has been done on property values near wind turbines. Across the board, these studies have found no evidence that wind energy facilities impact the property values in surrounding communities. One such study states, “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.”7

What kind of jobs will the wind project create?

Development, construction, operation, and maintenance of a wind project require the employment of individuals from a broad scope of fields and expertise. The construction process is the largest contributor to job creation. It will require contractors, construction workers, engineers, planners, and construction material suppliers (gravel, cement, lumber, rebar, etc). After construction is complete, there will be a team of full-time employees working at the site overseeing the operation and maintenance of the wind farm.

Will the electricity produced at Great Bay Wind Energy Center be used in Delmarva or somewhere else?

The Delmarva Peninsula is part of a large electrical grid called PJM that spans from Maryland to Chicago. The energy produced at Great Bay Wind Energy Center will plug into the grid and be transported to locations of energy consumption across the grid. The economic benefits, however, stay right here in Somerset County.

Will the wind project increase my property taxes?

This project will not raise anyone’s taxes. Once constructed, the Great Bay Wind Energy Center will contribute significant amounts of tax revenue to the County, which means more money for the community to invest in schools, parks, and roads. The tax revenue that Great Bay Wind will provide could also be used to partially reduce existing taxes that local residents currently pay.

Will living near wind turbines make me sick?

During the over thirty years of wind energy production the health effects of wind turbines have been researched extensively by a variety of researchers, academics, and institutions. These peer-reviewed scientific studies continue to find no evidence that links 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 who have researched this topic and concluded that there is no connection between wind turbines and health risk. 8,9,10

 

1 North Carolina State University, Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency http://dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=US13F

2 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.

3 PJM,http://www.pjm.com/~/media/about-pjm/newsroom/downloads/support-variable-resources.ashx. 2012.

4 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).

5 “Wind Sighting Advisory,” Sierra Club Conservation Policies

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

7 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.

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

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

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