Wind energy produces clean, renewable electricity with no associated emissions or harmful pollutants. Unlike other sources of energy, it requires no mining, drilling, or transportation of fuel and no disposal of radioactive or other hazardous or polluting waste. Wind energy also helps preserve open space and conserves water.
In more than 25 years, with more than 68,000 turbines installed around the world, there are no documented cases of members of the public being harmed by wind turbines.
Modern wind farms undergo a series of environmental assessments before being approved. As part of this process, the proposed site is monitored, and bird and bat populations are evaluated.
Enbridge keeps up continual communication with regulatory agency specialists to determine the important environmental concerns, and the appropriate ways to minimize impacts. Assessments are designed so that they are specific to each project area and region.
The evolution of wind-farm technology over the past decade has rendered mechanical noise from turbines almost undetectable, with the main sound being the aerodynamic 'swoosh' of the blades passing in front of the tower. Turbines are so quiet that it is possible to carry on a normal conversation at the base.
There are strict guidelines on the noise emissions of wind turbines to ensure quality-of-life protection for residential areas.
According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, there are thousands of wind turbines installed and operating in North America, and tens of thousands of people who live and work near them. While a very small number of individuals have claimed that their health has been negatively impacted by wind turbines, surveys of peer-reviewed scientific literature have consistently found no evidence linking wind turbines to human health concerns.
All wind energy projects are required to undergo an environmental assessment process to assess the potential impacts of wind turbines on both ecosystems and human health. These assessment studies also ensure that the installations meet sound-related government regulations.
Enbridge is committed to wildlife protection. We conduct wildlife surveys, including bird and bat studies, in advance of permitting and construction at a wind project site, and then mitigate any potential impacts through project design.
Following construction, we continue to conduct wildlife monitoring studies. This information can be used to determine what sort of mitigation measures may be appropriate if impacts exceed expected values. In addition, this information is used in comparative analysis with other wind energy projects to improve technology and minimize impacts to birds and bats.
While wind energy projects do have minor wildlife impacts, the impacts are small compared to other electrical generation choices.
The wind energy industry’s efforts to reduce the impact of wind turbines on birds have been very successful -- to the point where today, wind turbines and birds can and do coexist successfully. According to the American Wind Energy Association, a reasonable, conservative estimate is that of every 10,000 human-related bird deaths in the U.S. today, wind plants cause less than one. The National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. estimated in 2006 that wind energy is responsible for less than 0.003% of (3 of every 100,000) bird deaths caused by human (and feline) activities.