Positive & Negative Effects of a Wind Farm on a Community

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Wind turbines, as a source of energy, are vastly expanding in response to a global demand for renewable energy sources. People who live in areas where they are built have experienced both positive and negative effects from their development.

A row of wind turbines.
A row of wind turbines. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Noise Pollution

Wind turbines, when turning, make a distinctive noise that has proven disturbing to people who live near them. The noise can travel as far as a mile and during windy seasons is ceaseless. The EPA claims that this noise may reach high enough decibels to disturb sleep.

Wind turbines alongside a highway in the evening.
Wind turbines alongside a highway in the evening. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Environmental Benefit

The generation of electricity from a renewable energy source benefits not only the local but also the global environments. Areas that use wind power enjoy a significantly lower level of air- and water-pollutant contamination. Land is also less damaged than by mining operations and damming of waterways.

Wind turbines along a clean water way.
Wind turbines along a clean water way. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Environmental Adverse Impacts

The construction of wind farms has a direct effect on wildlife population and conservation. Bat and bird populations in areas where wind farms are built are significantly damaged, and their migration patterns disrupted. Farmlands become scarred by roadways that must be built to and from each individual turbine.

A flock of birds flying in the sky.
A flock of birds flying in the sky. (Image: Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Negative Economic Impact

Property values in areas where wind turbines are located significantly decrease because of the resulting noise and because of the negative visual impact they have on landscaping. According to Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, areas of Scotland which once enjoyed a rich tourist industry because of their landscaping have experienced a significant decline in tourism revenue as a direct result of wind farming on their ridges.

A large number of wind turbines on top of a grassy hill.
A large number of wind turbines on top of a grassy hill. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Economic Benefit

The local economy does benefit from the construction of a wind farm in the community. This stimulation occurs in the creation of renewable employment; most wind farms will require some local management and maintenance. The local individuals receive substantial income from land rent paid by the power company, and in turn some of this income is put back into the local schools through taxes. During construction, a local area benefits from the money spent in local businesses by those working on site construction.

An open cash drawer filled with American money.
An open cash drawer filled with American money. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Local Roads

Local roads are temporarily damaged by the heavy traffic and weight loads they bear during construction. Most areas, however, see significant road reconstruction after the wind farm is completed, which leaves the roads in better condition than they were before the project began.

A close-up of a road on a wind turbine farm.
A close-up of a road on a wind turbine farm. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

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