Library from Colorado
A small group of residents in eastern El Paso County has spent at least $65,000 on research that they say should be enough to shut down an area wind farm.
A Washington headline Wednesday asks "Is 'Big Wind' making people sick?"
Both Cindy Cobb and Sandra Wolfe from Calhan, Colo., live in the shadow of Golden-West, and blame the turbines for deteriorating health. They report dizziness, nausea, loss of sleep and headaches. They say their symptoms coincide with when the wind farm became operational in September 2015. Cobb adds lethargy and high blood pressure to the list of symptoms ...According to Wolfe, the relentless spinning causes stress and loss of sleep. She has resorted to sleeping off-site from her own property.
Robert Rand, an acoustician from Boulder, Colorado, supplied the BOCC with a copy of a professional review of the sound study conducted by Epsilon and submitted to the county in October 2016. In his review, Rand cited 12 instances where the study contained either errors or omissions. For example, Rand’s review states, "The Epsilon Report does not assess for noise disturbance, despite apparent neighbor complaints of noise disturbance. Noise disturbance is prohibited by the County Ordinance No. 02-1, Section 3(e) and Section 4(a).”
An El Paso County commissioner said Thursday that safety and health concerns regarding the Nextera wind farm in Calhan may never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. ..."I had to move away because I was sick," said Jeff Wolfe.
Jeff Wolfe, who lives close to NextEra Energy's Golden West wind farm, said he's experienced nausea, dizziness and migraines since it began operating in fall 2015. He attributes the symptoms to the low-frequency sound waves, known as infrasound, emitted by the 145 windmills. "This is poisoning people. It's poisoning animals," said Wolfe.
The wind farm in eastern El Paso County continues to raise concerns for people who live nearby. Thursday, county commissioners got to hear those concerns.
NextEra's Golden West Wind Energy Center sited in El Paso County, Colorado was required under the County permit to conduct a noise impact study after the project was placed in service in October 2015. Acoustician Robert Rand was asked by residents living near the turbines to review the noise impact study as prepared by NextEra consultant, Epsilon Associates. Mr. Rand's report, included here, identified several material errors with Epsilon's report and also found that the project appears to be operating outside the noise limits permitted by the County and the State. The Golden West Wind Energy Center consists 145 1.72-megawatt GE turbines for a total installed capacity of 249.4-megawatts Mr. Rand's executive summary is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the document icon on this page.
A meeting next week will give locals the chance to learn more about a controversial wind farm near Calhan.
“The routes unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in Northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Calhan residents expressed their complaints towards wind turbines at a county meeting on Tuesday. KRDO NewsChannel 13 was at that meeting to hear several passionate pleas from those who say they are fed up.
Residents living within the Golden West Wind Energy Center’s footprint in Calhan, Colorado, have reported negative physical and psychological effects from the turbines since it became fully operational in October 2015. The center consists of 145 453-foot tall industrial wind turbines, connected to an electrical substation in Falcon by 29 miles of overhead transmission lines.
In a statement, Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate for the Wilderness Society, said the two newly approved routes “unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage-grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
Xcel Energy needed to move forward on Rush Creek, which will be the largest wind project ever in the state, this year instead of next to avoid forfeiting $125 million out of the $443 million in federal tax credits the project is seeking.
On the western edge of the Great Plains, Colorado abuts some of the windiest regions of the country.
Settlement also advances date Pawnee-Daniels Park transmission line will be functioning
“I have lived on this property for six years, and I have never had a stillborn (foal or colt) in my entire life,” she said. “The first one I have ever had was after they put in the turbines and turned them on. The turbines have changed our entire ecosystem.”
Prior to October 2015, Ann-Marie McLaughlin said her 36-acre property in Calhan, Colorado, was teeming with prairie dogs. However, that all changed when the Golden West Wind Energy Center became fully operational last October.
The Rush Creek Wind Project would cross 96,200 acres in six eastern plains counties and generate 600 MW of power. The project also requires a 150-foot-wide right of way for a 90-miles transmission line.
"If Xcel Energy owns this wind farm, they get to charge a 10 percent return on investment," Huntley said, "and they charge it back to ratepayers. If they own this facility, there will be an impact on rates that all customers share," including Boulder's — particularly if the city's bid to municipalize fails.