by Amy Lignor
When it comes to ‘helping’ the environment, one of the most popular ways to increase energy/power in an all-natural way, is by utilizing the power of the wind. However, with all the wind farms and wind parks now growing up across the nation, a debate seems to be growing right along with it. As with all great ideas, it seems that this is just another that has some problems that need to be hashed out.
For those who are unaware, using the power of wind to produce energy was once a very solid idea (and to many it still is). When a wind farm is created, hundreds of individual wind turbines are built up over hundreds of square miles. This land, in many cases, is used for crop production so that no property between the turbines goes to waste.
But wind farms have been placed both on land and offshore, and the capacity of power they produce is astronomical, saving power and helping the environment all at the same time.
It’s not only the U.S. of A. that has delved into the wind power resource. In fact, China has a huge wind farm with a capacity to emit 5,000+ megawatts of power. California can claim the largest onshore plant in the U.S., referred to as the Alta Wind Energy Center, and the U.K. joins in with their London Array. Even more wind farms are currently under construction around the globe.
But the debate regarding offshore wind farms is now growing louder. In College Park, Maryland, finding renewable energy sources has been a top priority for a while now. However, when it comes to the construction of an offshore wind farm that‘s set to begin in 2018, it seems that there are issues regarding the ill effects that will befall marine life living in the Atlantic.
The noise of the construction equipment that will be needed to create the farm can harm the hearing of turtles, sharks, whales, etc.; not to mention, the spider web of upheaval that will occur beneath the waves may just force the mammals away from their original habitats.
The actual rules, regulations and laws on this matter are that turbines must be located 10-30 miles offshore, but the marine life around these new turbine farms may not be able to handle the intrusion.
To build wind farms offshore, pile-driving is one of the construction elements that will need to be done in order to get the power ‘system’ up and operational. Not only does this equipment/machinery offer deafening noise to underwater life, but the actual construction will make finding food and locating habitats nearly impossible. And, yes, if the noise is loud enough (some researchers say) these mammals may end up dead.
As the debate continues it will be challenging to see what wins out. Will wind farms offshore be damaged; or, will the harm come only to the ears of some of the most amazing creatures on the planet? Renewable energy sources are a must for this world, but weighing the sacrifices needs to be done.
Until Next Time, Everybody,