In the face of new progress, new technologies, and new ways to improve the status quo, there have always been those who remain dubious. Some people need to see results before believing in progress. They are the thorough ones, the skeptics, and the ones who ask that we know what we’re doing before we leap.

The support behind wind energy keeps gaining momentum. A 2016 Gallup poll finds that 70 percent of American voters support wind power. Further results suggest that the more Americans learn about wind power, the more they like it. In counties where wind farms are common – such as areas of Iowa and Texas – up to 91 percent of registered voters support wind energy. The more wind turbines are installed, the higher the demand.1

But why isn’t support for wind power at 100 percent? We are still in a national debate over the severity of climate change, and as with many newer technologies, there are many misconceptions that make people unsure about the benefits of wind power. But as more research comes to light, we see that wind power – along with other renewable energy sources such as solar – have benefits that far outweigh the negatives.

If you’re a landowner who is thinking about leasing land for wind turbines, rest assured in the fact that misconceptions are just that – misconceptions. Here are some key points you can provide for neighbors and family members who might support the idea of wind turbine land use but still say “Not in my back yard”.

"In counties where wind farms are common – such as areas of Iowa and Texas – up to 91 percent of registered voters support wind energy. The more wind turbines are installed, the higher the demand."

Myth 1: wind turbines are noisy and cause headaches and other health issues.

Fact: The sound of blowing wind is louder. There is no scientific evidence to support claims that sound related to wind turbines cause irritability, energy loss, anxiety, headaches, tinnitus, balance disturbances, and memory loss. In fact, the only study that suggests this connection only had 38 test subjects who were opposed to wind power to begin with. Not exactly a strong sample.

Some people believe that the infrasound of the wind turbine blades (meaning sound that is so low that humans can’t hear it) has the ability to bring physical or psychological illness to people living near wind farms. A 2011 study published in Biomed Central reports that among people who reported sleep loss and general feelings of being annoyed, subjective attitudes toward wind turbines and their visual impact are related to the way people perceive noise from turbines.

These findings are not evident of a causal relationship between wind turbine noise and stress but may be explained by cognitive stress theory in which “an individual appraises an environmental stressor, such as noise, as beneficial or not, and behaves accordingly.” In other words, the change in environment is associated with the self-reported health effects, not the presence of wind turbines themselves.2

In a report by General Electric, the sound that humans can hear from wind turbines are as quiet as a refrigerator. And we don’t hear people complaining about their refrigerators keeping them up at night, except for some tasty midnight snacks.3

Myth 2: Only big, out-of-state developers benefit from wind energy, not small landowners.

Fact: We all benefit from wind energy! Consider this: windmill contracts pay on average $222 million every year to landowners in the US. This wind turbine income has helped landowners send their kids to college, save for retirement, keep the 100-year-old ranch in the family, support expensive lifestyles and hobbies such as auto racing and travelling, and has helped countless families make ends meet. How will you spend your wind turbine royalties?

Many people ask, “How much money does a wind turbine make per year?” On average, wind energy rates clock in around 2-4 percent of the gross annual turbine revenue – which can be thousands for each wind turbine. –an incredible boon to personal income to give families more financial freedom.

What’s great about windmill leasing is that not a single cent leaves the pocket of landowners. All they have to do is use a portion of their land for the installation of wind turbines, and they can make thousands of dollars without having to do anything. On top of that, you get the good feeling of contributing to clean energy and a more sustainable world.4

“Landowners who host turbines on their properties are reinvesting in the community, particularly in the form of improvements to their land,” 

Myth 3: Wind power has a negative environmental impact because it interferes with bird flight patterns.

Fact: Your cat is more dangerous to birds than wind turbines. So is your house, and your car. Surprising, right? We have learned plenty of lessons in our wind energy past. Specifically, from Altamont Pass in California, when wind turbines were erected in an important bird migratory pattern. Ever since, wind energy firms have learned to conduct thorough research on animal flight patterns prior to the construction of wind farms. As the spirit of wind energy is for a healthier planet, it is our imperative to first minimize bird deaths from wind turbines.5

That said, more birds are killed by buildings, cats, vehicles, high tension lines, pesticides, and communication towers than by wind turbines every year.  And coupled by the fact that wind power is significantly better for the environment than traditional, dirty energy, it’s best for the planet to employ clean energy – after we’ve conducted our research to ensure a prospective site is bird-safe.

Myth 4: My community will be slow to accept the wind turbines I install on my property, and I don’t want to annoy my neighbors. 

Studies show that the more people are exposed to wind power, the more they support it. In fact, many land owners report that their neighbors are so interested in wind turbine land rentals that neighbors stop to talk and ask questions, wondering “How much land does a wind turbine need?”, “How much money do wind turbines make?” and “How do I get a windmill on my land?”

Also encouraging is the fact that property values in Michigan surge upwards where there are more wind farm land leases. Neighbors are seeing the positive effects of income from wind turbines: they see their neighbors investing more in their properties more than neighbors without wind turbines. The neighbors with wind turbine leases have the money to improve their homes, outbuildings, equipment, and to even buy more land.

“Landowners who host turbines on their properties are reinvesting in the community, particularly in the form of improvements to their land,” says Sarah Mills, a postdoctoral fellow of the University of Michigan’s Center of Local, State, and Urban Policy, “These landowners also think they’ll be keeping their land in the future.”6

When neighbors see the benefits of wind energy – both locally and globally – they’ll be likely to follow suit. Don’t let the myths drive you away. Do your research, investigate the facts, and you’ll find that the more time people spend around wind farms, the more they support this revolutionary clean energy.

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