They have names: Ann and Jason Wirtz, Gerry Meyer, Wendy and Perrin Todd, Barbara Ashbee-Lormand, Jane and Julian Davis, Rene Taylor, Carol Cowperthwaite, Phil Bloomstein, Sally and David Wylie, Cherly and Art Lindgren, Peggy Lowrey, Tom Shea, Gail Mair, Noel Dean, Jessica, Hal Graham, Tim Yancey, Daniel & Carolyn d'Entremont, Colette McLean, Charlie Porter, Todd Hutzell and hundreds more.
Many wish to remain anonymous; others have no idea how to get their stories heard. They live in different countries and different geographies including the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand ... but all live directly in the shadows of an industrial wind energy facility.
Many supported the projects proposed in their communities and trusted their leaders when told they'd be part of the green movement sweeping the countryside with no harm to them. Most had no idea their lives would be changed for the worse after the towering generators moved in next door.
In 2005, the aggressive American Wind Energy Association published its Wind Power Myths vs. Facts fact sheet where it set the record straight on the impacts of wind.
1. Noise? quiet as a refrigerator.
2. Property values? no evidence of diminished value (in fact watch for your property value to increase).
3. Turbine collapse? Too rare to imagine.
4. Fire? see turbine collapse.
5. Blade throw? Get real.
6. Shadow flicker? Thirty-minutes a year. Deal.
7. Ice throw? Got it covered, the turbines shut down.
The list goes on covering effects on the natural environment, TV reception, tourism and viewsheds. And the industry's responses have not changed since 2005 despite the fact that more megawatts of wind are now installed within 1500-feet of residential dwellings than ever before and the number of people cited as being harmed by the turbines having rapidly increased in that time.
Last year, North American Windpower published a piece by Ben Kelahan titled "Prevailing against anti-wind sentiment" where Kelahan claims opposition groups "have borrowed the highest-priced tactics from corporate public relations and masterfully used the Web to circulate misinformation about the impacts of wind farms." He warns prospective developers that "all it takes is an emotional trigger on a critical local issue to start the flames of opposition" -- emotional triggers like health and safety.
At no point in AWEA's literature nor Kelahan's essay do the authors hint that those raising concerns may actually have a legitimate complaint.
Windaction.org recently learned of another family now living with the pain of wind turbines near their home. Their message, excerpted below, is simple, direct, and painfully familiar.
Our home in rural DeKalb County, IL is where we wanted to stay for good. We have put so much into our home to make it a place where we would love to live and raise our children, and unfortunately we are being forced to live differently. We have been bullied by a large industrial wind company (NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light (FPL)) and sold-out by the DeKalb County Board. FPL told residents that these wind turbines only "sound like a refrigerator." Well, we have found that this is not the case. Often times our yard sounds like an airport. We hear and feel the low frequency sound on our property as well as in our home. We are bothered by the noise, whistling, constant swirling movement, and shadow flicker. Complaining is not something that our family is known for doing and we teach our children to look for the positive aspects of life, but this has gone too far with the turbines. Someone needs to speak up. These industrial wind turbines should not be built close to homes. They should be at least a mile away to avoid these issues. We have 13 within a mile. The closest 2 are 1,400 feet away.
We encourage our readers to visit their blog and understand what this family is living with. The experience of many of those listed in our first paragraph above can also be found under Windaction.org stories.
None of these writings are the work of propagandists or pricy public relation tacticians. Rather, these are the honest voices of people damaged by the wind industry and who feel compelled to speak out. Their goal is modest: to find help for themselves, their families and neighbors and to save others from the horror they now live with.