Article

Turbine complaints focus on noise

The most common complaint from neighbors or prospective neighbors of wind turbines seems to be the noise. "My biggest concern is the noise," said Goodhue resident Rick Conrad said. "I don't mind looking at them, but I worry that if I'm out in my yard I will be hearing these things."

The most common complaint from neighbors or prospective neighbors of wind turbines seems to be the noise.

"My biggest concern is the noise," said Goodhue resident Rick Conrad said. "I don't mind looking at them, but I worry that if I'm out in my yard I will be hearing these things."

Conrad owns 80 acres, works in town and rents his farm land to a neighboring farmer.

"I'm not against wind energy at all," Conrad said. "I'm for alternative energies, but it doesn't need to be done with industrial turbines. I think we should be looking at solar facilities."

When Conrad was offered a wind lease, he chose not to sign because he didn't want to "give up rights" to his property.

Several residents in Goodhue County formed a group called Goodhue Wind Truth in reaction to proposed wind farms near Goodhue.

Conrad said developers have told people the wind turbines will sound similar to refrigerator, but Conrad describes the sound as a "modulated power hum."

"When you live out in the country, you live there because you want to get away from noise. You expect it to be quiet," Conrad said.

All three complaints filed to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission about wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The most common complaint from neighbors or prospective neighbors of wind turbines seems to be the noise.

"My biggest concern is the noise," said Goodhue resident Rick Conrad said. "I don't mind looking at them, but I worry that if I'm out in my yard I will be hearing these things."

Conrad owns 80 acres, works in town and rents his farm land to a neighboring farmer.

"I'm not against wind energy at all," Conrad said. "I'm for alternative energies, but it doesn't need to be done with industrial turbines. I think we should be looking at solar facilities."

When Conrad was offered a wind lease, he chose not to sign because he didn't want to "give up rights" to his property.

Several residents in Goodhue County formed a group called Goodhue Wind Truth in reaction to proposed wind farms near Goodhue.

Conrad said developers have told people the wind turbines will sound similar to refrigerator, but Conrad describes the sound as a "modulated power hum."

"When you live out in the country, you live there because you want to get away from noise. You expect it to be quiet," Conrad said.

All three complaints filed to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission about wind turbines statewide concerned noise, said Tricia DeBleeckere, an energy facility planner for the Public Utilities Commission.

In two of the cases, mechanical gears needed to be repaired, DeBleeckere said.

The third complaint also involved noise, but the state found that the turbine was compliant with the state standards, she said.

State noise requirements vary depending on the time of day and the location of the turbine, but DeBleeckere said most developments are held to a 50-decibel standard at a maximum, DeBleeckere said.

Rural Harmony resident Brian Huggenvik believes the PUC should consider putting limits on low frequency sound emitted by wind turbines.

Huggenvik's property borders the proposed 200-megawatt EcoEnergy wind farm west of Harmony.

A study called "Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines" prepared by the Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Division has concluded that low-frequency noise from turbines does affect some people.

According to the study, common complaints have been annoyance, sleeplessness and headaches.

The study said most available evidence suggests that reported health effects are related to audible low frequency noise and complaints appear to rise with increasing outside noise levels above 35 decibels.

The study found that low frequency noise from a wind turbine generally is not easily perceived beyond one half mile and that shadow flicker isn't an issue at most distances over three-fourths of a mile for most turbines.

Huggenvik has attended several public hearings in both the Harmony area and the Twin Cities regarding the project.

"Our claim is that the setbacks just aren't enough," Huggenvik said. "We think a 2,000-foot setback, similar to what has been adopted in Wisconsin, would mitigate almost all the problems with flicker and sound."

He's also concerned that the wind farm could be unstable because it will be constructed in an area littered with sink holes.

He plans to ask for an environmental review of the project during an upcoming hearing.

"We're not out to stop the project," Huggenvik said. "We just want to make sure it's safe."


Source: http://www.postbulletin.com...

JAN 23 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/24282-turbine-complaints-focus-on-noise
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