Renewable energy has been a widely-discussed issue in Latvia for more than 15 years, however, as the climate change progresses, renewable energy technologies play a central role on both the Latvian and global agenda, providing a sustainable and low-carbon solution for the global challenge.
Wind energy is a form of energy that is completely renewable. Sun constantly creates an air flow in the atmosphere – wind – which captured can be used to produce electricity. Harnessing wind doesn’t require any kind of extraction, transportation or combustion of any raw material. The source of wind energy is inexhaustible. And the good news is that wind is available in large quantities in Latvia.
There is no hazardous waste during the operation of the wind farm. Wind turbines operate by the wind turning the blades, which then rotate the shaft that is connected to the generator where the electricity is generated. Same principle is applied on wind turbines of other designs; the only difference is the way the wind is captured.
The main parts of wind turbines and generators are placed at a certain height above the ground. The mast or the tower on which the wind turbine is mounted takes up little space on the ground, so the surrounding areas can be used in for other purposes, e.g., agriculture. Farm buildings and equipment storage spaces, such as those intended for farming, can be easily placed there.
All reputable, international organizations arrive at similar conclusions: compared with other high-rise structures or other types of energy generation, the mortality rate for birds from wind turbines is much lower. According to a Danish study, the number of birds that are killed per gigawatt hour of electricity generation is: 5.18 for fossil power plants and 0.27 for wind turbines.
The deaths of birds and bats by collision with wind turbines is much less than those produced by other human-led activities such as roads, railways, buildings or domestic cats, as well as those caused by the air pollution wind power helps to avoid.
Every renewable energy project must be accompanied by an environmental impact study before it can be approved by the competent authorities, which establish whether the site is compatible with the nature surrounding it, and corrective measures need to be adopted to minimize any harmful effects, e.g. monitoring and control by specialized teams, development of technological solutions such as repellents (ultrasound, noise and lights), detection and shutdown systems.Read more
Independent public and private research has been conducted and has concluded that there is no direct connection between wind farms and reported incidents of fainting or headaches.
Nevertheless, operators and authorities take this issue seriously. The minimum distances from buildings have been set to 500 m to 2 km. The manufacturers of turbines are stepping up research in the area of low-noise rotor blades, such as the trailing edge serrations method, or new techniques such as rotor free vortex turbines. Most studies come to the same conclusion: direct physical impairments are not measurable, but probably psychological – caused by the fear of new technologies.Read more
The noise produced by a moving wind turbine at a distance of less than 500 meters, within which there are rarely homes anyway, is no greater than that produced by an electrodomestic appliance such as a fridge or microwave. Wind farms also have to comply with local regulations with respect to noise levels during the day and night and cannot exceed the limits established by law.Read more
Manufacturing a wind turbine consumes more energy than the machine will be able to generate.
A wind turbine offsets the energy used to make it in less than a year – and can function for over 30 years. Every wind turbine generates enough clean energy to cover the electrical demand from some 2,000 homes. Moreover, the emissions produced by the manufacture and dismantling of a wind turbine represent around 1% of those it will avoid during its useful life in replacing production from coal, gas or fuel oil power stations, and this without counting the CO2 emitted during the building of those fossil fuel stations, nor the extraction or transport of fuel to those plants.