Library from Colorado
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.
Sandy Wolfe, another resident living within the wind farm project’s footprint, said she has experienced many physical ailments since the turbines became operational, and noticed that her animals were experiencing some of the same ones. “My dog Hank was so strong, and everybody was amazed at how strong and agile and competent he still was,” she said. “When I started having nosebleeds in September, he did, too. Mine subsided because I started sleeping in my truck, ...Wolfe said Hank died this past winter. He was one of three dogs that has died since September, she said.
El Paso County residents accusing NextEra of negative effects from the wind farm say they've had headaches, nausea and dizziness because of the turbines, inaudible, low-frequency sound waves known as infrasound, and a phenomenon that occurs near windmills called shadow flicker.
Calhan resident Kory Feick becomes nauseous from the spinning motion of the wind turbines that surround her property on three sides. The nausea is so severe that she has a hard time going outside.
The Golden West Wind Energy Center in Calhan, Colorado, consisting of 145 453-foot tall industrial wind turbines, became fully operational in October 2015. Since then, residents living within the wind farm project’s footprint have reported physical and psychological effects from the turbines.
McCann said he was hired to appraise a house in June 2011 in Mason County, Michigan, where representatives from the Lake Winds Energy Farm Project had been negotiating leases with property owners; however, they had not yet applied for permits with the county. ...A 476-foot turbine was built 1,139 feet from the residence, and the 56-turbine Lake Winds Energy Farm Project became fully operational in November 2012, McCann said. “After three years on the market and several price drops, this house ended up being sold for 40 percent of what it was originally worth,” he said.
When J.T. bought his property in Calhan 16 years ago, he considered it a permanent move. In 2013, J.T. had his property appraised, so he could refinance it. The house appraised for $235,000, he said. The house today is appraised at $194,000, with no viable reasons for the decrease, except for one: the wind farm.
A truck was transporting the blade, and it collided with a barrier on the side of the ramp and caused some damage, according to City of Lone Tree spokeswoman Kristen Knoll. The driver is being cited for careless driving.
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“We’ve got a blind duck, four out of seven horses that can hardly walk because their feet hurt so badly, donkeys that will not go out to graze, two guinea fowls have died; our little dog has congestive heart failure and mastitis, and four of my son’s five neon tetra (fish) have died,” he said. “The fifth is blind in one eye. These animals all acted normally for the many, many years that we have lived here, and you put these turbines up and there are dramatic changes in my animals’ health and my family’s health.”
El Paso County Commissioners have heard about potential health impacts from industrial wind turbines since before the NextEra Energy wind farm in Calhan became operational. Now that the turbines are spinning, those complaints are getting louder.
The U.S. gets about 4 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power. The Clean Power Plan proposes increasing that proportion to 28 percent by 2030. A study of electric cost versus installed renewable capacity published by wattsupwiththat.com projects such an increase would actually amount to a quadrupling of consumer energy costs throughout the next 15 years, in many cases, further burdening those who are already struggling.
"It's been very controversial between the county and NextEra and some of the citizens opposed to the project," said Brettell. One neighbor says she's been concerned for safety since the turbines went up and that noise has been an issue. "We discovered that sleeping in the truck was more quiet and we got better sleep," said Sandra Wolfe.
A controversial wind farm project in Calhan was vandalized sometime between Sept. 20 and Oct. 23, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. A single high-powered round was fired into a turbine at the Golden West Wind Energy Center near North Yoder Road and Heaston Road, authorities said.
The proposal, as approved, would have would have "little to no impact on ratepayers" and "includes a more reasonable forecast of natural gas prices and potential customer savings," the PUC wrote in a release.