Are turbines cost effective?
Yes. Wind turbines are cost effective for two main reasons.
The costs to manufacture, install and service a wind turbine are predictable and stable. The electricity the turbine then produces over the next 20 years is generated at a fixed price.
The price of fossil fuels, on the other hand, has dramatically fluctuated in recent years. The cost per tonne of coal has risen more than 70% over the past 8 years alone. Every year, Nova Scotia Power spends about $250 million on foreign coal. With demand increasing around the globe, those costs can only increase. We think it makes more sense to take that investment and spend it here, in Nova Scotia.
Do turbines harm birds?
The answer to this question isn’t a simple yes or no. Can birds be harmed by flying into turbines? Sometimes, yes.
But the number of bird deaths caused by turbines is tiny when compared to the number of deaths caused by other human factors like cats and collisions with buildings and power lines.(Erickson et al. 2005).
The greatest threat facing birds is climate change, something wind turbines help combat. The Audubon Society, North America’s oldest and best regarded bird watching society, supports wind energy as a key protector of bird health and population. You can read their carefully considered position here.
How much noise do turbines make?
If you stand 400 metres from a turbine, it makes about as much noise as the humming of a fridge (40 decibels). Most of the turbines we install are a kilometre or further from the nearest residence. So if you can imagine what less than half the noise of your fridge sounds like, that’s about the sound of a turbine at its loudest.
How do wind turbines help combat climate change?
Wind turbines combat climate change by lowering the amount of fossil fuels we burn. The more electricity we use generated by clean sources like turbines, the less electricity we use from sources like coal burning power plants. A turbine’s carbon footprint (the total greenhouse gas emissions it creates) are mainly caused during its manufacture and installation. After that, virtually every kilowatt of energy produced is carbon free.
How do communities directly benefit from working with Scotian Wind?
More than 800 Nova Scotian families are part owners of Scotian Wind. We share our profits with the communities where our projects are located. Each year, we donate 1% of the gross revenue from projects to local communities. So every year, communities receive stable funding for local projects like school programs, scholarships, and community recreation programs or facilities.
Do wind turbines cause harmful health effects?
No. Independent studies confirm that wind turbines do not cause health issues to those who live near them. The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (which included a panel of doctors and experts from Harvard and Boston Universities) each conducted separate studies on the health effects of wind turbines, and both concluded that turbines represent no threat.
I've heard that turbine blades cause shadow flicker. What is that and how will it affect me?
Shadow flicker is the effect of shadows moving as the sun shines through rotating turbine blades. Our turbines, however, are carefully positioned so that they don’t affect the people around them. We do this with sophisticated software that provides detailed predictions of the location and timing of potential wind turbine shadows. Shadow flicker won’t affect you at all.
What is ComFIT?
The Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) program is part of Nova Scotia’s 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan. It lays out a detailed path to move us away from carbon-based electricity towards greener, home grown sources.
COMFIT is the world’s first feed-in tariff for locally-based renewable energy projects. A “feed-in tariff”(FIT) is a rate per kilowatt hour that small-scale energy producers are guaranteed for a fixed period of time. This provides them with enough economic certainty to invest in renewable energy projects. “Feed-in” means that energy produced by these projects will be fed into the province’s electricity grid.