THE BLOG
10/25/2013 04:09 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Can a Wind Turbine Kill You?

Probably not, but people have claimed that they make them sick.

Some as tall as a 20-story building with a blade span of 200 feet, the monster windmills are obviously a menacing sight.

I first saw wind turbines in a vast field on an empty Australian cliff decades ago. The tall white bird-like structures were gigantic and silent, rolling in the wind with endless motion. They looked so peaceful and so innocent; I was convinced then that they were the future of energy for our world.

We since tried solar, nuclear, electric and water energy sources. Why is it that none of these take for good? We are still breathing through pollution smog and choking the planet under cloaks of bad air. So what is wrong with the wind?

According to a lawsuit filed by some residents of a Cape Cod town last week, many side effects of the three giant wind turbines near their homes are felt by the population on the island. Is it just a small annoyance, or a real threat to health?

Their claims cover troubles such as migraines and tinnitus (unbearable ringing inside the ears), dizziness and insomnia. Maybe the fact that the turbines are so close to the houses, 1,600 feet for one of them, is the reason for the maladies. Even though they are silent from afar, there is a definite humming when you stand too close.

A lot of people within one mile of the spinning rotors are getting sick and moving away from their homes, claiming toxic sound environment. On another hand, the turbines installed there have prevented 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from other form of power. We sometimes have to pick and choose.

It's been also reported that the wind machines were killing birds, which became disoriented in flight by the unnatural structures, getting hit by the long and powerful arms. It seems that some species of birds have since adapted to the strangers on their land, and are now avoiding the invaders quite skillfully, passing on to the next generation the lesson learned.

I still like the wind energy better than gas or oil sources. The fact that the blades can be installed practically anywhere could reduce our dependency on foreign countries for energy supply. Wind power requires zero fuel and zero water usage.

As of today, there are 225,000 large wind turbines in 79 countries, and 656,000 smaller ones. Germany leads by number, then Spain, the United States, India, and Denmark. Some industry experts predict that by 2050 a third of the world's electricity will be produced by wind turbines. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is more conservative with a number closer to 18 percent.

Australia has been actively developing the newer energy source, not only because of the empty spaces the country offers for the farms to be installed, but also because its population has always been very open to green technology, and will do whatever is necessary to be at the forefront of ecology implementation.

Vestas, the Danish company that started wind harvesting over 30 years ago, has 49,000 operating turbines on the planet; see the very interesting video demonstration on their website.

I wonder what Don Quixote would have said when butting against one of the giant windmills of nowadays! Maybe this: "Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them."