The Vestas V164 7 Megawatt.
A dedicated offshore turbine – specifically designed for the roughest North Sea conditions.
According to Anders Søe-Jensen, President of Vestas Offshore, the offshore wind market is set to really take off over the coming years, but more so in some parts of the world than in others:
“We expect the major part of offshore wind development to happen in the Northern part of Europe, where the conditions at sea are particularly rough. Based on our broad true offshore experience and our many years as pioneers within the offshore wind industry, we have specifically designed the V164-7.0 MW to provide the highest energy capture and the highest reliability in this rough and challenging environment. This makes our new turbine an obvious and ideal choice for instance for many UK Round 3 projects.”
Based on the potential market size, the V164-7.0 MW business case is based on Europe and primarily the Northern European markets. Should market demand require so, Vestas is however also prepared to take the V164-7.0 MW to other parts of the world in due time.
However, for some time now, people forced to live close to wind farms in Australia have expressed concern that the noise from the turbines is affecting their health. They say the machines have destroyed their lives, causing headaches, high blood pressure and nausea. ABC Australia’s Four Corners has gone to several wind-farming hot-spots across Australia to meet the people who claim they are simply collateral damage as the nation scrambles to embrace renewable energy.
Waubra, in regional Victoria, is an established wind farm location, with 128 turbines so far. Several locals who claim their health had been harmed by the technology. One man said that the turbines cause headaches that were so bad he had to relocate from his farm and move into town. In his view he’s paying a terrible price:
“We’re refugees in our own country. We’re leaving here because of danger, it’s no set up or anything, we’re being really harmed.”
But is there any scientific basis for these claims? Some experts believe it’s possible that low frequency sounds, generated by the turbines but too low to be audible to the human ear, could have a health impact.
Others say that while people might be getting headaches, it’s unlikely their health is being affected by sound waves:
“If you whip up anxiety, people will generate many of these symptoms. There’s fear of the unknown, there’s activists creating concern among the population.”
And that raises one of the major questions in this debate: are health concerns being exaggerated by activists who simply don’t want wind farms in their backyard?