www.windaction.orgfacts, analysis, exposure of wind energy's real impactsWindactionhttp://www.windaction.org/articles/c45+51?theme=atomXarayar2006-06-12T02:16:27Z Siting standards need not apply
The health and safety of those living in proximity to industrial wind turbines are at risk due to a lack of objective, practicable siting standards.
Given the lucrative and enabling energy policies now in place to promote renewable generation across the U.S., local communities are under significant pressure to develop land use regulations aimed at protecting their residents from poorly siting industrial wind plants. Inevitably, such efforts invite difficult technical questions regarding turbine noise, shadow-flicker, decommissioning and a host of others related to building and operating industrial power plants.
The controversy surrounding wind energy development complicates the siting issue making it difficult to know what or who to believe when it comes to standards. A review of existing wind ordinances adopted in other communities is helpful but standards that might work in one area are not necessarily right for another given population densities, terrain, and other environmental considerations.
Working with no standards
Rules and regulations guiding the siting of wind energy projects essentially do not exist as James Luce, chairman of the Washington State Energy Facility Siting Council, made clear in the Council's October 2011 order recommending conditional approval of the Whistling Ridge wind plant.
In the order, Luce wrote:
The Council is challenged by the fact that it has no rules for siting renewable resources. ...For guidance, we look to our previous decisions, organic statutes and regulations developed primarily for thermal projects. And we use our best judgment to "balance" competing considerations. ...Absent rules, the Council proceeds on a case-by case basis and our decisions inevitable leave room for questioning whether the correct result was reached.
A lack of guidelines does not mean a lack of evidence. But guaranteeing the evidence is taken seriously by review boards is another matter.
Noise models and non-standards
This is certainly the case regarding wind turbine noise. Despite extensive expert testimony that credibly demonstrates the flaws inherent in noise predicting models used by the wind industry, the methods are still utilized.
In two separate proceedings before the Vermont Public Service Board -- Deerfield Wind and Kingdom Community Wind -- Kenneth Kaliski of RSG, Inc. modeled turbine noise emissions at different points within several thousand feet of the proposed towers. Kaliski relied on the Cadna A software tool used by the wind industry, which is based on the ISO 9613-2 standard for sound prediction.
Kaliski knows the ISO 9613-2 standard was never validated for wind turbine noise but insisted its use was appropriate. He argued that by using another tool, the "CONCAWE algorithm," in conjunction with Cadna A he could more accurately predict turbine sound levels. He calibrated his 'modified' ISO method using sound data from a wind farm in Kansas but admitted on cross that he never calculated a "standard confidence interval" before applying his findings to projects in Vermont. He provided no data supporting how his modeled data in Kansas compared to actual sound data surveyed at the Kansas site, nor did he attempt to explain how the mountainous topography, different ground and atmospheric conditions, and foliage found in Vermont compared to that of Kansas and what adjustments he made (and potential errors introduced) to account for the differences.
In short, Kaliski used modeling software (Cadna A) outside its accepted parameters, applied a second tool previously tested at a site located on flat farm land, threw in undocumented adjustments for the Vermont setting and declared his noise predictions accurate for the Vermont sites because he said so -- with no way for any independent party to validate his work.
The flaws in Kaliski's work were obvious but ignored by the Vermont Public Service Board. Instead, the Board imposed a post-construction noise limit on the projects that was itself, non-standard. Neither wind project is in-service at this time but we have good reason to expect operating noise levels will prove problematic for nearby residents.
Public safety and non-standards
This same 'standard-less' approach appears to have guided the Ohio Power Siting Board when it approved the Buckeye Wind LLC application to construct a wind facility in Champaign County, Ohio. The Board's order was upheld in a 4-3 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court but the two dissenting opinions were appropriately critical.
On the question of public safety, Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton cited the risks of blade shear. Buckeye assured the Siting Board that a "shorn blade could fly only 500 feet", 41 feet less than the minimum setback from neighboring properties. But when the Board's staff asked Buckeye for supporting data, testimony revealed that Buckeye's prediction pertained to a different, smaller turbine, and that "no such calculation existed" for the proposed turbines.
Nevertheless, despite lacking either evidence or sufficient competence in physics even to attempt to calculate the distance a blade could fly, the staff member responsible signed off on Buckeye's proposal. His portion of the investigatory report stated, 'Staff believes that the Applicant has adequately evaluated and described the potential impact from blade shear at the nearest property boundary.' ...even though this appeal represents the final review of the final order of the board, we have no evidence that the project is being built safely away from yards and homes, and we never will. Yet the majority affirms the order.
The Buckeye wind project is not built but the company's flawed testimony on blade shear has already been demonstrated in the field. On April 26, two blades on a Vestas V90 1.8 MW wind turbine sited at a different project in Ohio shattered under high wind conditions catapulting blade debris up to 1,300 feet fromΒ the turbine's foundation.
Criticism after lorry delay.374272013-02-18T14:41:15Z2013-02-18T14:41:15ZA windfarm developer has been accused of riding roughshod over residents, who have had to endure further disruption.
The latest episode happened on Monday when a vehicle delivering a turbine part became stuck for more than an hour as it was making its way to the site at Wingates.Hedges Pond wind turbine approved..46182012-04-21T11:49:09Z2012-04-21T11:49:09ZDr Hopkins said 150 sports utility vehicles (SUVs) would burn the same amount of oil as a wind farm would save.More than 60 abutters and neighbors filled the seats of the Mayflower Room at Town Hall Wednesday night to hear the Zoning Board of Appealâs decision on the project. The vast majority opposed the project, despite repeated assurances from engineers that it meets the requirements of the townâs wind energy bylaw.
Petrowskys question location for turbines.324492011-07-12T01:20:49Z2011-07-12T01:20:49Z"Our first thought was that no sane spray pilot would get near one, so we immediately called Farmer's Spraying Service from the meeting and the owner told us not only would he not treat a field with one of the towers, but he also would not care to do the application, if the tower was in an adjacent field.
Plymouth fire chief opposes wind park.292892010-09-28T17:28:49Z2010-09-28T17:28:49ZHouses at Eagle's Nest on Plymouth's Tenney Mountain would be the first residential area to be affected by wildfires from the park, said Fire Chief Casino Clogston.
Clogston said not only was it his responsibility to protect lives and property but also to ensure that his responders can do their jobs as safely as possible.
Wind farms urged to turn off lights.271202010-05-05T18:25:52Z2010-05-05T18:25:52ZFederal MP Rowan Ramsey is hoping one company's moves to turn off the lights at a mid-north South Australian wind farm will prompt other companies to investigate the idea.
Complaints by Hallett residents prompted AGL to look into the wind farm's lighting requirements.
Consequences of wind development aren't always in landowners' control.19612010-05-01T00:00:00Z2010-05-01T00:00:00ZThe loss of aerial application services isnât the only negative consequence that wind turbines can have on farmersâ productivity. A deeper problem exists, literally. Steier has had conversations with friends and former customers who have lamented a major consideration they overlooked before signing their lease agreement: the impact of wind turbine construction and maintenance on their farm drainage systems.
No decision on wind turbines in Dartmouth .247412009-12-23T12:00:16Z2009-12-23T12:00:16ZThe Select Board delayed a decision on two, 328-foot wind turbines proposed for construction at the wastewater treatment plant off Chase Road until at least Jan. 4, after meeting Monday night for four hours. ...Select Board Chairman Joseph L. Michaud said he wants to take the additional time for board members to get answers to their questions about safety and other concerns.
"I think it is important that everyone be comfortable with the issue. I don't want anyone to abstain when we vote," he said.
Inquiry: Wind turbine threat to RAF fighter jets.242722009-11-26T14:11:58Z2009-11-26T14:11:58ZA public inquiry has begun into the building of 13 wind turbines near Peterborough, amid fears they could cause RAF radar systems to crash.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is among the objectors to two wind farms outside of Thorney, which it said could create dangers to pilots flying Harrier jets in preparation to go to Afghanistan. ...The MOD said that the individual rotor blades of the turbines could cause Precision Approach Radar's (PAR) to glitch when guiding aircraft into RAF Wittering.Stray voltage culprit, meeting hears .238582009-10-29T17:22:38Z2009-10-29T17:22:38ZThree months after the Ripley Wind Farm went online in December, 2007, Dave Colling's phone started ringing.
Three of his neighbours were seeing doctors about recurring ear aches. They knew Colling, a former dairy farmer who lives within two kilometres of the turbines near the southern Bruce County community, had an interest in and could test for what he calls "electrical pollution."
"It's like living inside a microwave. It radiates," Colling told more than 100 people Tuesday night in Keady.
Neighbouring council to Fenland rejects wind turbine on flicker, ice and intrusiveness grounds.226202009-08-10T16:32:53Z2009-08-10T16:32:53ZA long-running campaign to build a wind turbine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has been dealt another blow by councillors.
The latest application to build an 80m turbine in the hospital grounds has been refused by West Norfolk's development control board ...This is the second planning application for the turbine which has been turned down.
Health directors seek probe on wind turbine safety.211132009-05-08T12:29:37Z2009-05-08T12:29:37ZWellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health directors are asking the recently launched Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion to investigate the effects of wind turbines.
"We have written our letter specifically recommending that they consider large population-based health studies," medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer said yesterday. ...Increasingly, municipalities want higher levels of government to set standards and probe health concerns like noise and electromagnetic disturbances.
Turbine blade slashes into neighbouring home .199682009-02-12T15:07:55Z2009-02-12T15:07:55ZBill Fish wants the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to investigate homemade windmills after his neighbour's device came crashing through his roof during yesterday's high winds.
He was shocked awake around 3 a.m. when an eight-foot-long wooden blade penetrated the roof, before piercing through the ceiling and wall in a sewing room of his Dufferin Avenue home, located outside of Wallaceburg in Chatham Township.
Oil spill sullies Wolfe Island; Residents advised not to drink water.182532008-10-03T14:30:22Z2008-10-03T14:30:22ZAccording to Canadian Renewable Energy Corp., three to four barrels of diesel fuel were spilled around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. The fuel was being transferred between tanks on Sea Hound, a vessel operated by Nadro Marine Services Ltd., a contractor based in Port Drove, Ontario. Nadro Marine has been transporting wind turbines from Ogdensburg for the 86-turbine Wolfe Island Wind Project. ...Mark O. Mattson, president of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, an environmental advocacy group based in Toronto, finds the incident ironic.
"It's a bit of a shock. The whole purpose of the wind power project was to help the environment," he said. Wind turbines cause some Caddo County residents concern.180732008-09-23T18:04:16Z2008-09-23T18:04:16Z[W]ind farm neighbors are worried, however, about the safety of the turbines, which can leak chemicals if they aren't maintained properly. Those who live in the hills say it happens, and they are worried that the chemicals could leak into their watershed.
Bill Cunningham says he has contacted Horizon Wind Energy, and they have been extremely cooperative. He says they hired a private research company to study the wind turbines, and found they indeed were leaking. Although the company says it wasn't a large enough amount to be concerned with, they still hired private crews to clean up. Now, with more turbines being erected, locals continue to worry about future maintenance.