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Wind Turbines Not a Risk to Human Health, according to MIT Study

05 December, 2014

Living in close proximity to wind farms does not harm human health, according to a comprehensive new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which assessed the impact of living within close proximity to wind turbines.

The review took into consideration health effects such as stress, annoyance and sleep disturbance that have, among others, been raised in association with living close to wind turbines.

In relation to noise associated effects, the study found that, whilst infrasound is emitted by wind turbines, typically this is well below audibility levels and does not cause disturbance to homes.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Kenneth Matthews, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association (“IWEA”) said, “This is the latest in a number of comprehensive studies carried out internationally in recent years which clearly conclude that wind turbines are not harmful to people.  Today’s findings should help to alleviate any concerns that the general public, or those living in the vicinity of wind turbines might have in relation to the health impact of Ireland’s most abundant renewable energy source.”

“The reality is, clean wind energy is delivering for Ireland, reducing our dependency on expensive foreign energy imports, promoting investment and jobs, and helping protect our environment for future generations.”

“As a responsible industry, we endeavor to continue engaging with experts across health, ecological science, engineering, and environmental planning to ensure that wind energy continues to grow in harmony with its surroundings.”

The study also found that while complaints from residents were more common during the construction of wind farms, other technologies such as gas and oil facilities drew more public criticism.

It further noted that annoyance associated with living near wind turbines is a complex phenomenon related to personal factors that can often be mitigated as result of economic benefit.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, included an extensive examination of peer reviewed literature categorised by sound measurements, epidemiology research, psychological analysis, and Governmental reports.

There are now over 2,000MW of installed wind energy capacity in Ireland, accounting for approximately 18% of electricity generated, powering over one million households per year and reducing Ireland’s dependency on foreign energy, which costs €6 billion per year. The industry currently provides employment to 3,400 in communities across Ireland.


Note to the editor:
The study was funded by the Canadian wind energy association, CanWEA, and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Both EWEA and CanWEA had no input into the study and were not involved in the formulation of the results. MIT conducted the review independently.

For the full MIT study, please click here.

For more information:
Robert Brown, ReputationInc
01 4120514/085 7252626