General and Impact on People
Three wind turbine towers to be built along a two-mile setback east of Horicon Marsh comply with orders approving the 200-megawatt wind farm project, a Wisconsin Public Service Commission administrator concluded this week.
The turbine tower sites were challenged by Joe Breaden, of Mayville, a project opponent, as being built so close to the required setback that the turbine blades would extend into the setback.
SDS Lumber Co. plans to apply for a permit before year's end to build a wind farm in Skamania County that would produce up to 70 megawatts of power.
The project would be on a north-south ridge at elevations of 2,000 to 2,200 feet between Underwood Mountain and Whistling Ridge. The remote property lies east of the old mill town of Willard and about a mile north of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boundary. ...Dennis White, an environmental activist who lives in the Klickitat County community of Husum, said a regional discussion needs to take place about the cumulative effects of wind generation facilities in the Columbia Gorge.
"Wherever there's a BPA line, we're going to have these wind farms just outside the scenic area, up and down the gorge," White said.
There is no shortage of wind in the densely-populated Netherlands but there is a shortage of space and in a nation which likes its houses small and its gardens cosy, opposition to wind farms is immense.
That is why a new Dutch wind farm is being built so far out to sea it is barely visible on the horizon, reducing the visual impact of its 60 turbines to virtually nil whilst at the same time harnessing higher offshore wind speeds.
Offshore wind farms are likely to appear more and more frequently off European coastlines as governments seek to increase their use of renewable energy without angering their citizens by placing giant turbines on their doorsteps.
"These facilities are disproportionate to the islands' energy needs, and the majority of turbines installed in the past no longer function anyway," charged Antonia Antonakis, head of the municipal council of Serifos island.
Local authorities fear that since wind turbines are usually situated on isolated hills and mountain tops, new roads will have to be built through previously unspoilt countryside, Antonakis said.
Though the project on Serifos would involve building 87 turbines, 150-feet high each, this would provide less than a tenth of the country's renewable energy. The Greek industrial group Mytilineos has put in a bid for the project, which is still under consideration by the government.
Environmentalists are divided over whether "wind farms" are an Earth-friendly source of power. Timothy P. Dillingham, director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Littoral Society, is a member of the blue-ribbon panel that studied the issue. He and his organization oppose the idea..."We are talking about building an industrial facility out in the ocean," he said. "There is no framework, no set of regulations to ensure public protection. People think there is money to be made. People think there is some answer to global warming here. Caution is being thrown to the wind, so to speak."
A couple forced from their home by noisy wind turbines are prepared to take their fight to the ombudsman.
Jane and Julian Davis moved out of their farm near wind turbines in Deeping St Nicholas in May after months of sleepless nights caused by noise.
And they believe there is no end in sight to the disruption to their lives because South Holland District Council has been dragging its heels investigating the case.
Mrs Davis believes that the council has done nothing to look into the issues of noise at the site since last summer but instead left the investigation in the hands of operator Fenland Windfarms.
She said: "We let them get on with it thinking they were doing something but it turns out they weren't.
"Even in the full knowledge that we were driven out of our home they still did nothing.
"I absolutely hit the roof when I found out."
The government has ruled out further research into wind turbine noise following the publication of a university report into the phenomenon.
Salford University concluded the incidence of Aerodynamic Modulation, aerodynamic noise, (AM) from the UK's wind farm fleet is low.
But its recommendation that more research might be "prudent" was rejected.
Energy minister Malcolm Wicks said: "Where there are legitimate problems we will address them. But it is essential that we produce more wind power if we are to meet our climate change and security of supply aims."
LEE, Maine - The developer of a wind farm proposed for northern Washington County told state regulators Wednesday that noise levels from the massive turbines are expected to be well within legal limits.
Representatives of UPC Wind Management described Stetson Mountain - located between the communities of Danforth and Springfield - as an excellent location for a wind energy facility because of the remote location, existing road network and steady winds.
"No site is ideal in every respect, but from our perspective, Stetson comes as close to ideal as you can get for wind energy," Dave Cowan, vice president for environmental affairs with UPC, told members of the Land Use Regulation Commission.
PUGWASH - Opponents of a proposed wind farm on the Gulf Shore got more fuel for the fire Friday night.
Mark Harris, a pastor from Bridgewater, Maine, spoke Friday night at the Ground Search and Rescue in Pugwash about how a wind farm in Mars Hill, Maine has terrorized locals.
He bought property in Mars Hill roughly 1200 feet away from the turbines, but hasn't done anything with it because of how unbearable the sound and strobing from them is.
"Many of the mills we have, on certain days when the wind comes from a certain direction and the humidity is such and such, it will be all but silent at 1200 feet away where my home site would be. But come back the next day and it'll pound until you can't tolerate being there and there's no predicting when that will happen," he said.
He said the wind farm has wreaked havoc on the town, with many people now dealing with health complications allegedly caused by the turbines' sounds and shadows.
CAMPAIGNERS against plans for a new wind farm between Bagthorpe, Barmer and Syderstone have been told of the horrific impact turbines can have on village life.
A packed public meeting in Bircham Newton heard from a number of guest speakers who gave grave warnings about the health impact, noise disturbances and threat to wildlife which could stem from the five turbines earmarked for the villages.
Included among the speakers was Jane Davis, of Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, who described the persistent noise problems she has faced from a wind farm near her home.
She also spoke of how the value of her property has plummeted since the development was completed.
Syderstone resident Reg Thompson, a member of the action group formed to oppose the plans, said: "People are very concerned about this.
"There are moves being made in Europe to ban wind farms that are within two kilometres of housing and we hope that becomes legislation because every house in Syderstone falls within that radius.
"People are very upset. We have seen housing deals fall through as people no longer want to move here.
In the North-east, the Skelmonae Windfarm Action Group was formed in Methlick earlier this year.
Member Mervyn Newberry, 42, a sales manager in oil and gas, said: "These monstrosities inflict untold misery on local inhabitants with their high levels of noise, shadow flicker, ruination of natural landscape, devastation of wildlife habitat and loss of housing value."
CHILTON - Life near wind turbines is hell, a panel told about 500 at a forum Wednesday organized by residents worried that proposed wind farms would affect public health and property values.
"The noise produced by turbines is intolerable," Kewaunee County homeowner Mike Washechek said. Washechek has lived about ¼ mile from a wind farm for the last seven years. "My wife thought the dryer was on and there was a tennis shoe in it."
A comprehensive study by Salford University has concluded that the noise phenomenon known as aerodynamic modulation (AM) is not an issue for the UK's wind farm fleet.
AM indicates aerodynamic noise from wind turbines that is greater than the normal degree of regular fluctuation of blade swoosh. It is sometimes described as sounding like a distant train or distant piling operation.
The Government commissioned work assessed 133 operational wind projects across Britain and found that although the occurrence of AM cannot be fully predicted, the incidence of it from operational turbines is low.
Projects are picking up the most speed in Ontario, where the provincial government has embraced wind energy as a symbol of its green friendliness, and municipalities are signing on with a fervour because the province's above-market prices mean they can reap cash in land sales and tax revenues.
But as Canada experiences a rapid rise in these developments, there is a growing opposition to wind power as a clean energy alternative, with complaints that it is high-cost, energy-inefficient, causes noise pollution and even wreaks havoc on birds' migratory patterns.
After raising many of these concerns with the Ontario Municipal Board, residents of Wolfe Island, Ont., celebrated a victory this week when plans for an 86-turbine megaproject by Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. was modified to place the turbines farther away from residential areas and wetlands.
Shouldn't eco-friendly Townshippers want in on this kind of technology? "It's not the technology we're opposed to, and it's not because we have a 'not-in-my-backyard' mentality," said Fabien Poirier, a fourth-generation resident who restores old houses and furniture, has a head for statistics and history, and is a member of the 'No' committee. "It's just that we don't think these wind towers should ever be put up in an inhabited area, so close to where people live. They're totally out of proportion to everything around them."
The residents fear a variety of ills documented from turbine use in other countries: the shadows of the blades at sunrise and sunset, creating a strobe effect that catches the eye and makes people nauseous; interference with analog TV reception, making channels hazy; blinking lights atop the towers that distract and annoy at night; falling house prices caused by the towers being so close; the constant noise of the rotating blades (generally under 40 decibels), likened to the uneven pitch of an overhead fan, the hum of a beehive or the sound of a school bus approaching from a distance; the effect on bird and bat migration; and disruption of drainage caused by a soil structure that gets degraded by the foundations of the towers, each one with a footprint that is wide and deep and hard: 600 cubic litres of poured concrete.
July 28, 2007
by Jeff Clark
in Down East Magazine
The town of Mars Hill...is the test bed for all that is good and not so good about wind power in Maine. ... With the failure of two other wind power proposals - a thirty-turbine project in Redington Township outside Rangeley and a three-unit installation in the town of Freedom in central Maine - the Mars Hill experience raises the question of wind power's future in the state. An energy technology praised as the green alternative to fossil fuels and one of the solutions to global climate change has produced controversies that have split the environmental community in Maine and made enemies of natural allies.
Agriculture Canada says it has yet to decide what to do with a noisy wind turbine in P.E.I. that was shut down less than three days after its blades started spinning because a nearby resident claimed it was making her sick.
The turbine, set up to provide power to an Agriculture Canada research station north of Charlottetown, started operating in January.
Department spokesman Mike Hennigar confirmed the $200,000, 30-metre turbine in Harrington was shut down less than three days later, after a woman living a few hundred metres away complained of migraine headaches.
The acceptance of Ministry of Environment (MOE) noise regulations by an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) panel in Kincardine will not deter Amaranth resident Paul Thompson in his fight against a second transformer at the Canadian Hydro Developers substation.
Mr. Thompson, one of a handful of residents living near the substation, is a party to the scheduled Sept. 11 Amaranth OMB hearing.
"We don't want anything that stands in the way of the effective uptake of wind energy, but when you choose the wrong place and are not sensitive to local concerns it's a real mistake," May said. "Shorelines, where people have a lot of cottages, are not a good place. I haven't gone and measured it myself, but the Pugwash beach is very much up against the 500-metre limit and that's an unreasonably close spot."
While the Green Party supports wind energy as a renewable energy source, May said the party also stands for grassroots decision-making.
A study commissioned by the P.E.I. government into noise from the Eastern Kings Wind Farm has found the sound level for nearby residents is within acceptable limits.
In April, Elmira resident Dwayne Bailey, who lives about one kilometre from the wind farm, complained that noise from the turbines was so loud, his sleep was being disturbed and he was becoming ill.
A monitoring program by the firm Jacques Whitford and Associates measured noise on six occasions, for about 18 hours each time. The study concluded noise from the turbines meets, or is lower than, noise level guidelines throughout Canada.