POSITIVE NEW TURBINE VISION
The environmental impact of wind power when compared to the environmental impacts of fossil fuels, is relatively minor. Compared with other low carbon power sources, wind turbines have some of the lowest global warming potential per unit of electrical energy generated. According to the IPCC, in assessments of the life-cycle global warming potential of energy sources, wind turbines have a median value of between 12 and 11 (gCO2eq/kWh) depending on whether off or onshore turbines are being assessed. While wind farms may cover a large area, they are compatible with many land uses such as farming and grazing, as only small areas of turbine foundations and infrastructure are made unavailable for use.
Wind turbines generate some noise. At a residential distance of 300 meters (980 ft) this may be around 45 dB, which is slightly louder than a refrigerator. At 1.5 km (1 mi) distance they become inaudible. As a result of some reports of negative health effects from noise on people who live very close to wind turbines new designs which are more productive and less invasive have been developed. Aesthetic aspects of wind turbines and resulting changes of the visual landscape can be significant. New designs are being created which are in tune with scenic and heritage protected landscapes. Siting restrictions (such as setbacks) have often been implemented to limit any intrusive environmental impacts.