chapter  10
50 Pages

Wind Turbines and Human Health

ByLoren D. Knopper, Christopher A. Ollson, Lindsay C. McCallum

Wind power has been harnessed as a source of energy around the world for decades. Reliance on this form of energy is increasing. In 1996, the global cumulative installed wind power capacity was 6,100 MW; in 2011, that value had grown to 238,126 MW and at the end of 2013 it was 318,137 MW (1). While public attitude is generally overwhelmingly in favor of wind energy, this support does not always translate into local acceptance of projects by all involved (2). Opposition groups point to a number of issues concerning wind turbines, and possible effects on human health is one of the most commonly discussed. Indeed, a small proportion of people that live near wind turbines have reported adverse health effects such as (but not limited to) ringing in ears, headaches, lack of concentration, vertigo, and sleep disruption that they attribute to the wind turbines. This collection of effects has received the colloquial name “Wind Turbine Syndrome” (3).