General and Impact on People
On a sunny spring morning, Deeping St Nicholas provides a perfect snapshot of English country life. The only buildings that break the flat horizon of the Lincolnshire fens are silver-grey church spires and neat red-brick farmhouses, around which are clustered barns and silos. A covey of wood pigeons clap their wings as they take off from the black, loamy, fertile soil striped with green lines of oilseed rape. And then you hear it. "Whoompf ... whoompf ... whoompf ..."
Like the sound of an approaching train that never comes, the thumps that break the still air are not overpoweringly loud - at about 65 decibels, they're the level of a lorry going by at 30 miles an hour 100 yards away.
But what is so menacing is the regularity and the scope of the noise, which feels like a giant heartbeat shaking the earth.
When you see the culprits - the eight mammoth wind turbines installed just outside Deeping St Nicholas last May - you're actually surprised that the noise isn't louder.
These aren't the little propellers that David Cameron nails to his roof to warm his cocoa and heat his children's baths. They're veritable behemoths - 100 metres high, as tall as Big Ben's tower.
It is believed a twisted blade was to blame for excess noise being reported at the Bradworthy wind farm site.Torridge district council was made aware of the problem, and parish councillors were told at their last meeting it had finally been resolved.
Residents had complained of excess noise coming from the site at Forestmoor which is home to North Devon’s first set of wind turbines.
Torridge said the environmental protection team was contacted by the parish council and one of its officers visited the site confirming noise levels were higher than normal.
The council got in touch with turbine operators, Energie Kontor, and carried out follow-up visits.
Both the district and parish councils say noise levels have now returned to normal.
FAIRFIELD — If wind turbines are built in this northeastern Herkimer County town, one family may be forced to move.
Lisa Sementilli's 11-year-old daughter Alisha has central auditory processing disorder, which means Alisha hears fine but can't concentrate when she is around background noise.
Doctors have suggested that Alisha live at least one-and-a-half miles from any wind turbine, but Hard Scrabble Wind Farm towers planned in Fairfield would be less than half a mile away, Lisa Sementilli said.
"If they come, I have to move," she said. "I'm not going to put my daughter in any harm."
RESIDENTS said "no" to proposals for 16 more wind turbines in Deeping St Nicholas.
Villagers spoke out at a special meeting of Deeping St Nicholas Parish Council, which was called to give a reaction to proposals at Church Farm.
The proposals, made by Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola, would add to the existing eight turbines, taking the number in the village to 24.
Jane Davis, who has faced sleepless nights due to low frequency noise from the turbines, said: "They don't really understand how these large wind turbines interact with each other in a flat landscape. The research just hasn't been done.
The price of progress is now considered a pain to some ears in Shallowater. Some folks there are upset about the new wind energy turbines now being used by Shallowater ISD.
The school district turned them on back in January. They’re meant to save tax dollars, but some say the by-product, sound, is too much.
Chad Dugger, a resident in the area says, “I can hear them when they turn off and turn back on. It’s not too much fun living here anymore.”
The wind turbine is less than 300 feet from Dugger’s back yard.
Consent for a small wind farm development in Norfolk has been quashed by the High Court and sent back to Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly for reconsideration after a judge agreed that a planning condition about noise was “unenforceable and imprecise”.
The two-turbine Ecotricity scheme at the village of Shipdham was granted permission on appeal last summer after being turned down by Breckland District Council.
Two villagers who live next to the proposed wind farm site took legal action to challenge that permission. After a brief hearing, the judge, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, approved an order - agreed between the Secretary of State, the developer and the local planning authority - quashing the permission.
Now a planning inspector must decide whether to hold a third inquiry into the project, accept a redrafted noise condition or reject the proposal.
SCOTSBURN – Residents living near a wind turbine on Fitzpatrick Mountain want stricter regulations put in place to prevent the turbines from being put too close to homes.
In the right weather conditions, says nearby resident Wayne Pierce, the turbines can make a “noise like a jet aircraft in place overhead.”
County council is in the process of creating a new bylaw to put regulations in place on the distance wind turbines must be from other properties. The proposed bylaw would require turbines to be placed three times the height of the turbine from the property line.
That’s not enough for Pierce, however, who believes the distance should be taken from adjacent homes.
MARS HILL, Maine — Something has turned terribly sour for about 18 homeowners who live along the mountain roads where the state’s first and only wind farm has recently gone on line. To a man and to a woman, they feel betrayed, cheated, used, ignored, and dismissed. Put them in a room and they are spitting mad. Collectively, as they gather on a Saturday morning inside a home that sits in the shadow of the turbines, their anger is barely palatable. Since the turbines started up, they say, silence has become a luxury.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit needs to be more vocal.
A few wind turbine concerns need to be addressed by the public health unit.
Huron-Kinloss Mayor Mitch Twolan says comments on the wind turbine proposals may put some of the public’s concerns at ease.
He says it would provide some reassurance to the public and to the area councils that another body has looked at the proposal and feel comfortable with the project.
Wind turbines have raised a number of health related concerns including noise, blade flicker and shadow, ice throw and possible collapse.
Twolan says the health unit normally doesn’t get involved, but if there are potential health risks the health unit needs to assess and address the issues.
There are a few wind turbine project proposals in Bruce County, the largest being 110 turbines to be erected in Kincardine.
MARS HILL, Maine — This year, when Steven and Tammie Fletcher took their traditional New Year’s Eve walk to the top of Mars Hill, the crisp winter stillness mixed with something unfamiliar: the whoosh of the new windmills towering over the northern Maine mountaintop.
This is not how it was supposed to be, say the Fletchers and their neighbors on the north side of Mars Hill, where a 28-turbine wind farm, the largest yet built in New England, began operating in December.
Residents say that town officials and company representatives repeatedly assured them that the wind farm would be silent. Instead, they say, the windmills have disrupted their mountainside idyll. On days with low cloud cover, when the pulsing, rushing noise is loudest, wind farm neighbors say it can disrupt their sleep and drown out the rushing brook that was once the only sound here.
“It changes your whole feeling about being in the woods,” said Tammie Fletcher, whose mountainside house boasts floor-to-ceiling views of the ridge where the windmills now stand.
FREEDOM -- Given their first chance to ask questions about a proposed wind turbine project, board of appeals members on Thursday offered a glimpse of the concerns they will carry into deliberations.
Representatives of Competitive Energy Services, which hopes to erect three electricity generating wind turbines on Beaver Ridge, were quizzed on issues of noise and whether they would be able to hook the turbines into the electrical grid, should the project go forward.
Anthony Rogers, the consultant hired by Competitive Energy to conduct a sound study, said he did not take ambient noise readings before concluding the proposed turbines would meet the 45-decibel limit mandated by the ordinance. He based his findings on an ambient, or background, noise level of 35 decibels.
Steve Bennett, one of several abutters appealing the planning board's December decision to grant a permit for the project, said ambient sound readings he took over several days never fell below 33.5 decibels.
"The predicted sound levels (of the turbines) are very close to the limit," said appeals board member Francis Walker. "Whether there are ambient noises or not might make the difference in whether the project is compliant or not."
Translation first paragraph (courtesy of Marc Duchamp): "The Superior Court of Justice of Galicia, Spain, has annulled the declaration of public utility approved by the Government of Manuel Fraga to expropiate the Argozón hills, in Chantada, and to allow the construction of a wind farm. The decision, which may be appealed to the Supreme Court, orders that the 23 wind turbines be removed. The magistrates question that the electrical operation on the part of the Enerfín company has more social interest than "the secular" advantage that the neighbours get from pasturing and the exploitation of wood resources."
Further down: "The sentence says that there are other similar sources [of energy] that do not harm landscape and wildlife values of the hills".
The appeal by disgruntled neighbors of a proposed wind turbine project in Freedom moved into its second session in as many weeks Thursday evening with disparaging “earwitness” testimony about the disturbing sound the spinning rotor blades are said to make.
In the latest round before the town appeals board, it was also revealed a federal postal investigator was in town earlier this week looking into what happened to some notices of appeal of the project supposedly mailed last month to the town office by a Bangor attorney that by all accounts never arrived at their destination.
Perrin Todd drove three and a half hours Tuesday from his home in Mars Hill to tell about what it’s like to live next-door to an operating wind farm. What he had to say was not encouraging for Steve Bennett and other property owners near the Beaver Ridge site where Competitive Energy Services (CES), a national firm with offices in Portland, is prepared to invest up to $12 million to erect three1.5 MW tower-mounted wind turbines on a 75-acre parcel owned by local farmer Ron Price.
On February 5, 2007, the Bovina Town Board’s consultant, Tom Shepstone,presented the results of the Town of Bovina Wind Power Survey. The results show that, as in the Alliance for Bovina’s Poll last year, an overwhelming majority do NOT want commercial turbines anywhere in Bovina. Despite survey problems, including poor wording, lack of definitions, biases favoring industrial turbines and other issues, the citizens of Bovina found their way to clearly and unambiguously tell the Bovina Town Board: DO NOT ALLOW INDUSTRIAL TURBINES IN BOVINA.
Opponents of the wind turbine project atop Beaver Ridge wrapped up their case Thursday, Feb. 8, before the board of appeals.
Bearor invited Perrin Todd, a resident of Mars Hill, to come to Freedom and describe the volume and quality of noise from wind turbines recently installed there. Ultimately, there will be 28 turbines strung along the mountain for which the Aroostook County town is named.
Richard Silkman, a partner in CES. Silkman said the two projects were so different that there was little to be gained from Todd’s testimony. “[His] comments are about a project that is not on Beaver Ridge, not even in the same county,” said Silkman.
If appeals board members considered Todd’s comments to be valuable, said Silkman, they should also hear about the hundreds of other wind turbine projects across the United States.
Furthermore, said Silkman, the noise limits set by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the Mars Hill project were far higher than those allowed by the Commercial Development Review Ordinance in Freedom.
“You’re absolutely right; the DEP has higher limits,” countered Bearor. “Mr. Todd is a living example [of the impact] of that.”
FREEDOM — Perrin Todd’s home near the wind turbine site in Mars Hill has been invaded, not by thieves or pests, but something equally annoying.
“It’s a very troubling noise,” Todd told the town’s board of appeals at Thursday’s meeting. “It’s a disturbing noise.”
Attorney Ed Bearor, who represents Steve Bennett and others who are appealing the planning board’s December decision to allow three electricity-generating turbines on Beaver Ridge, wrapped up his argument on Thursday, leaving the decision of whether to overturn the planning boards decision in the hands of the board of appeals. Todd, whose home is 2,100 feet removed from the nearest turbine, more than double the distance of the home closest to the proposed Beaver Ridge turbine, urged the board to use greater caution than town officials in Mars Hill had used.
In the Aroostook County town of Mars Hill, 28 wind turbines will soon be generating electricity. Even before they begin commercial operation, however, the windmills are generating considerable controversy.
The biggest issue is noise.
An 11-year-old girl with Central Auditory Processing Disorder lives in a house approximately 1600 feet from the proposed site of an industrial wind turbine in the Town of Fairfield, Herkimer County, yet her Doctors say that the turbines cannot be built within a mile and a half of her home because of the noise they generate. More than 20 turbines are proposed to be built within one mile of her home. The girl is scared and does not want her family to have to move if the wind turbines are built.
He put his existing knowledge together with a little research and has now come to the same conclusion as Dr. David Suzuki: Wind farms have a place in Ontario’s energy mix, but it’s a small role, and the turbines need to be placed where the pollution from wind farms isn’t a threat to humans and animals. One key point that needs to be understood, says Lee, is that the practicality of wind power is generally overstated in the public conscious. Wind power, of course, is only available when the wind blows, which means that when the wind isn’t blowing you’d have to switch back to fossil fuel generated electricity anyway to keep the lights on — and that means wind power can’t be built out to replace our fossil fuel base load.
In fact, countries in Europe that have installed wind power as base load find they end up buying power on the spot market when the wind isn’t blowing and then selling their wind power at a loss when the wind is blowing (but air conditioners aren’t being used as intensely). Denmark is often considered a leader in wind energy but according to Lee it ends up selling 84% of its power at a loss. “European countries that have put in a lot of wind power end up subsidizing their neighbors,” says Lee. “Wind power has not yet enabled the closure of a single fossil-fueled generating station anywhere in the world.” .........According to Lee, it’s often been suggested that the theoretical maximum for the amount of base load that can be derived from wind power is 15%, but even that seems to be a stretch. A more likely percentage seems to be 3% or 5%, says Lee.
Denise Preller is sensitive to motion sickness.
She told the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday that for her, the proposed 100-turbine wind farm will make her ill.
“I’m disturbed that I’ll get motion sickness in my own back yard,” she said.
Her husband, Bill Preller, doesn’t relish the thought of sitting in his recliner in his family room and looking out his bay window only to see a wind turbine instead of a sunset.
While the couple’s Hudson property will not have a turbine on it, Denise Preller said there will be one within 1,500 feet and eight in the section where they live. And she thinks a similar project in eastern McLean County looks like “a bad science fiction movie.”