Wind Energy and Your Health

More than 48,000 wind turbines are in operation in the United States today, safely generating electricity for our nation.

Wind energy is one of the healthiest forms of energy generation in the world because it releases no greenhouse gases, soot, or carbon into the atmosphere; it also does not consume valuable freshwater or produce water pollution.

Apex Clean Energy wind projects are built in full compliance with local, state, and federal safety regulations to protect the health and welfare of landowners, maintenance teams, and others.

Key Findings from Major Health Impact Studies

Government- and university-sponsored studies around the world have repeatedly confirmed that modern, properly-sited wind turbines pose no threat to public health. Over 17 independent reviews of the existing science on wind energy and health have reached the same conclusion.

“There is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome." 

— Massachusetts Department of Public Health, “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel,” January 2012

Wind Turbine Sound

The sound of wind turbine blades passing through the air is often described as a “whoosh.” If properly constructed at approved setback distances, the sound does not result in any health concerns.

Infrasound from Heritage Wind will be similar to waves on a beach but weaker than highway traffic, air conditioners, and other common exposures.

Scientific evidence confirms that this sound is not detrimental and that any low-frequency waves produced are not harmful to those nearby.

“To date, no peer reviewed scientific journal articles demonstrate a causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise (audible, low frequency noise, or infrasound) they emit and resulting physiological health effects.” 

 Knopper and Ollson, “Health Effects and Wind Turbines: A Review of the Literature,” Environmental Health 10:78 (2011)

“... infrasound emitted by wind turbines is minimal and of no consequence ... Further, numerous reports have concluded that there is no evidence of health effects arising from infrasound or low frequency noise generated by wind turbines.” 

— Australian Government, National Health and Medical Research Council, “Wind Turbines and Health,” July 2010

Shadow Flicker

This term refers to the shadows cast by wind turbine blades as they rotate in front of the sun. Apex uses sophisticated software to place turbines so that shadow is minimized. By positioning turbines at a carefully calculated angle and distance from dwellings, Apex ensures that most homes in a project experience no shadowing at all. For those that do, shadowing should occur for no more than a few minutes per day, on average. Shadowing does not occur on cloudy or foggy days.

While some have claimed that shadow flicker can create risk of seizures in photosensitive individuals ...

“Scientific evidence suggests that shadow flicker [from the rotating blades of wind turbines] does not pose a risk for eliciting seizures as a result of photic stimulation.”

— Australian Government, National Health and Medical Research Council, “Wind Turbines and Health,” July 2010

Ice Throw

In some wintry conditions, ice can accumulate on turbine blades. Sophisticated vibration sensors on the turbine blade automatically shut the turbine down when this occurs. In almost all cases, ice drops straight to the ground, just like icicles or snow sliding off a roof. Apex exceeds minimum setback requirements to make absolutely certain ice is not a risk to neighboring structures.

The risk of ice striking a home 984 feet from a turbine is extremely low—researchers estimate that if it happens at all, it is only likely to occur once every 625 years.