In October 2011, I was contacted by Jerome Hlinak of BCCRWE (Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy) to investigate the possibility of a wind farm near Denmark, WI contributing to a “stray voltage”1 problem affecting the health of area residents. I was informed that at least two families had moved out of their homes because they could no longer cope with the health problems they associated with their homes’ electrical environments. In October 2011, I agreed to go to Denmark, WI and take measurements at several area homes.
This report, resulting from my work near Denmark, WI will provide 1) a brief history regarding the issue of ground currents/voltages, 2) information from published research on ground currents/voltages, and 3) data collected during my testing at area homes showing that a high frequency ground current/voltage issue is present.
Initial Observations and Testing
After arriving in Denmark, WI, I met with Jerome Hlinak and another representative, who escorted me to 6 local residences where they had arranged for me to conduct testing. These local residents believe their families’ health problems are directly related to the operation of recently energized wind turbines.
Relying on my extensive experience with diagnosing and troubleshooting electrical problems, and power quality issues in particular, I expected to find distorted 60 cycle sine waves riddled with high frequency transients and harmonics during my testing in the Denmark, WI area. This was, in fact, the case with every measurement I collected, whether from connection points at an area home’s kitchen sink to kitchen floor, at utility primary neutral to earth voltage to a remote ground rod, or between two remote ground rods in a resident’s yard.
The issue affecting these Denmark, WI area residents is that of high frequency ground currents/voltages, known to many as “stray voltage”, or, more properly, electrical pollution (in the case of electrical equipment) and electrical poisoning (in the case of humans and animals). Electrical and electronics engineering societies, utilities, governments, and many other organizations have researched this issue for decades, and trade publications and newspaper articles have addressed this issue for more than the past decade.
The data collected was the data present at the time of collection. It needs to be understood that these levels change with time and electrical usage. Several wind turbines were in operation at the time of testing. Long-term monitoring should be done while the wind turbines are in operation and also when they are not in operation. The data should then be compared to determine what contributions (of high frequency transients and harmonics) are attributable to the turbines.