Wind turbines and their possible environmental cost

  • 12 September 2007
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Large wind power turbines located with well defined concern for the environment could perhaps provide a certain amount of Ireland's future energy requirement, along with other important renewable sources including wave and tidal energy generation. Large wind turbines of over 300 feet in height apparently need to be over surfaces that cause little obstruction to wind flow.  The sea has the smoothest surface and the least obstructed wind flow. We know the recent caribbean hurricane went from hurricane category five to storm category two shortly after making landfall it was said in news reports due to passing over the land.


Word comes of planning toward large wind turnbines, of 400 feet height, to be located far inland amid forested regions, proposed to be built in the historically and culturally imporant, and environmentally very sensitive, East Clare Region. We must know it is certain that no dioxin or similar damaging material is amongst the chemicals claimed to be used with the clear cutting of commercially forested areas where turbines might be sited? Clear cutting may also release into water courses potential toxins normally suspended by stands of trees. People would need to be confident that tree-felling of possibly up to one thousand acres does not occur and that those amounts that may be clear-cut do not pour forth retained material damaging to rivers and lakes.

Herbicides as defoliants were sprayed to clear growth in five million acres of Vietnam's central highlands druing the Vietnam War, the proces was named Agent Orange by the USA military. Reports held that dioxins and similar toxins were used in the preparations for spraying. It is said that women and men afterwards experienced involuntary miscarriages and mutagenetic birth defects in infants. The uplands of East Clare provide many feeder rivers to Lough Ea, Maghera Lake, Lough Graney, and Lough Derg - the water reservoir for Limerick city. Monitoring is needed for for fear of chemical toxins occurring in these waters. No potential release of any toxins is necessary when large wind turbines are carefully and sensitively sited at sea.