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Sagada-Besao Windmill Project: Facts vs. Myths

Myth 1: Wind turbines are noisy, like helicopters.

Truth: Truly, wind turbines do produce noise that is similar to that of corn stalks. However, the sound is not a threat to the silence in Pilao Ridge. The noise is minimal and reasonable, as observed in windmill farms in Canada, New Zealand, United States, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries using God-given wind for electric power.

Myth 2: Wind turbine noise causes illnesses.

Truth: In a study conducted by Lawrence Technological University, it was found out that noise from wind turbines are not linked to health problems. Even psychological problems are not connected to the existence of windmill farms.

In Canada, there was an issue sparked by a write-up in 2007 saying that wind turbines do cause human discomforts. After experts looked into the issue, it was ruled out that the claim was not backed by scientific findings.

Myth 3: Windmill blades harm birds.

Truth: Present generation blades of windmills move slower that cannot harm birds flying around. However, collision caused by windmills cannot be avoided. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay revealed that the impact on global bird population is relatively minor. Moreover, a study sponsored by environmental authority Greenpeace found out that “the available evidence suggests that appropriately positioned wind farms do not pose a significant hazard for birds”.

Myth 4: Windmills cause depreciation of land properties covered by the farm.

Truth: In Scotland, 20 percent say the windmill farm has a positive impact on their land properties, 7 percent on the negative side, and 73 percent has no idea whether the windmills have positive or negative impacts on their properties. In Kewaunee, Wisconsin, there were no measurable differences in home values in the zones close to the wind farms. In Bangui, Ilocos Norte which has a set of wind turbines, the price of land properties have raised drastically after the installation of the windmills.

Myth 5: Wind turbines are unsafe for people around the farm.

Truth: Wind energy is certified safe and recommended in any part of the world. In the past 35 years, only 20 fatal accidents were recorded worldwide. The cases are not caused by turbines, rather the absence of fall protection.

Myth 6: Windmills are ugly.

Truth: Windmills are not just for a renewable energy. Most portraits in countries with windmill farms show the wonderful landscapes with windmills. In fact, windmills are a promising tourist spot, attracting more educational tours to Sagada. In windmill farm areas-turned-tourist spots, 48% of the tourists say they are there for the windmill scenery.

Myth 7: Windmills can stop anytime due to the decreased wind energy quality, thus leaving the farm idle and useless.

Truth: Wind does not start and stop at irregular intervals. Moreover, wind quality can be predicted by experts to avoid future troubles.

Here are other truths that every person in Sagada and Besao should know about windmills:

1.    There are conflicting studies that divide environmental groups. However, international standards still recommend windmill energy production to localities with promising wind energy. The latest is a study in the US which says that wind turbines’ low frequency noise could cause health woes. Remarkably, the study did not find any connection between the turbine noise and the health woes. “Nothing was actually discovered that would explain to any degree the health complaints reported by residents”, quoted from a consultant.

2.    Wind energy is much cheaper than the conventional energy from coal. Thus if the windmill proposal turn to reality, Sagada and Besao houses will enjoy much cheaper electric bills, plus other benefits that PhilCarbon, headed by Engr. Rufino Bomas-ang, has promised.

3.   Turbines rarely interfere with television and other communications signals but the interference can be avoided by installing relays and improving the receiver’s antenna and installing relays.

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.


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