I recently wrote an article entitled: “ Is there anything good about wind farms.”
There was the amount of land taken, the devastation of the landscape, the necessity to shift animal and insect populations from the site, the noise from the turbines, fires in turbines releasing black toxic smoke, pieces of blades flying off, and the decimation of millions of birds and bats, to name but a few of the problems.
But now, a more serious problem is becoming apparent. We know that burying turbine blades in landfills will leave a toxic legacy for a very long period of time. However, a recent Norwegian study from July 2021 found that turbine blades suffer what is called leading edge erosion, due to wind, rain, and hail. The concern is how far this material goes, and what it is composed of.
Picture shows leading edge erosion on a turbine blade.
The particles eroded from blades include epoxy which is about 40% Bisphenol-A (BPA), a frequently banned endocrine disrupter and neurotoxin. Exposure to these endocrine disrupting chemicals has been linked to about 80 diseases. These include testicular cancer, obesity, and reproductive disorders. In 2012 the World Health Organisation warned about the potentially carcinogenic properties of endocrine disrupters and concluded that these substances posed a global threat to public health.
Bisphenol-A is used as a base for plastics and epoxy resins. Wind turbine blades are largely made of fibreglass which is impregnated with epoxy to strengthen them. Since epoxy contains about 40% Bisphenol, the particulate matter which erodes off turbine blades contains a high content of Bisphenol-A. These particles can spread far and wide and stay in the environment for a very long time. They have been found in the highlands of Tibet and in Antarctica.
Bisphenol-A is commonly called BADGE. BADGE is widely used in epoxy resin. Some resins also contain nonylphenol, another endocrine disrupter. BADGE has a “double alkylation structure”, which means it can crosslink with DNA and potentially result in cancer. BADGE has been identified as an endocrine disrupter in animal studies and shown to promote the differentiation of fat cells in humans. BADGE has reactive chemical groups which make it an unstable compound that can break down into byproducts. The trouble is these byproducts have not been well studied. BADGE’s half life in the body isn’t known, but evidence suggests it can linger for a long time in the blood. It can make its way into cells where it can do damage.
The European Chemicals Agency proposed the following definition: “A material consisting of solid polymer- containing particles to which additives or other substances have been added. The suggested diameter for microplastics is 1-5mm and for small microplastics or nanoplastics, a diameter of less than 1mm.
Microplastics pose a threat to human health through the ingestion of various foods. Shellfish and fish may be contaminated with microplastics. But a lot of other foods may be contaminated. These include canned foods, honey, sugar, table salt, root crops, leaf crops, meat, milk, and drinking water. Humans are also exposed by the inhalation of airborne particles.
Experiments carried out at the University of Strathclyde Show that pure particle free rainfall of fresh water at 50mm per month results in a mass loss of 0.0375% per month and rainfall of 500mm per month gives a mass loss from the blades of 0.199% per month. The wear with sea water in 40% greater.
The blades of an average turbine weigh about 60 tonnes. An estimate of the leading edge of blades is 700kg. For places of high rainfall, using a formula for calculating wear and tear it is estimated that the total annual emission of microplastics from one turbine is 62kg. If there are 20 turbines if a group then they emit 1.2 tonnes per year.
In Norway with about 400 turbines, the estimated total emissions of microplastics per year is 25 tonnes! It should be noted that this is an estimate based on pure rain water. If the precipitation contains ice, snow, salt or sand then mass loss from the leading edges of blades will increase well beyond this. 25 tonnes of annual emissions of microplastics will be sprinkled over pastures, water sources and sea areas. 1kg of Bisophenol-A (BPA), is enough to pollute 10 billion litres of water. Since 2017, The World Health Organisation has advised that drinking water should have a maximum of 0.1micrograms of BPA per litre. That is 0.0000001 grams per litre of water.
In the report from Strathclyde it states “ That blade leading edge erosion has become an important issue for offshore wind industry.” Wind and rain mixed with salt, causes much greater erosion more quickly. Coupled with this are greater blade lengths and higher tip speeds. The sea around will be contaminated and the microplastics will be ingested by fish and shell fish.
New Zealand Climate Change Minister James Shaw with tunnel vision, has just approved an offshore wind farm. We can in future, expect fish and shellfish around the Taranaki area to be contaminated with microplastics. There is another proposed wind farm north of the township of Amberley in North Canterbury. Microplastics will be spread by the frequent northerly winds, over the town and surrounding farmland, and in the town’s water supply.
Both of these two wind farms should not go ahead, otherwise the health of residents will be affected.
Wind turbines can have major ecological, health and economic consequences.
There is still nothing good about wind farms. With safe nuclear fusion not far away, and power stations powered by nuclear fusion, we will end up with hundreds of thousands of useless wind turbines that will contaminate land fill sites for a very long period of time. Humans in the future will look back and say who were the irresponsible idiots who advocated wind turbines.
Ian Bradford, a science graduate, is a former teacher, lawyer, farmer and keen sportsman, who is writing a book about the fraud of anthropogenic climate change.
They are about to go mad building turbines throughout Europe due to their self inflicted energy problem.
Wind and solar farm unreliable providers should carry the entire cost of transmission lines and services that plague each development . Not the taxpayer. Transpower et al place these transmission costs on all the public customers and therefore increase the transmission cost for these minimal and unreliable electricity services.
Ian once again you have given us another important insight into the foolishness of building windfarms without the proper critical analysis that should be done of the long term value and impact on the environment. - I congratulate you on a great article, keep up the good work. - Dick Reaney
I am worried that the spreading of epoxy from leading edge erosion of turbine blades doesn't seem to be taken seriously. 1kg of Bisphenol A from epoxy is enough to pollute 10 billion litres of water. PLastics containing epoxy from a farm of 400 turbines put 25 tonnes of these plastics into the air every year. Epoxy has endocrine disrupting effects. Quite small doses of Bisphenol A damages the fertility of humans and all organisms. Small fish and small animals will eat these plastics thinking it is food. Larger fish and larger animals will eat the smaller fish and smaller animals. So the concentration of Bisphenol A INCREASES as we go up the food chain. Eventually we have a fish or some meat on our table to eat. There will be relatively high concentrations of Bisphenaol A in them!!!
So come on readers let's have some comments. Are you happy with this?
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