Library filed under Impact on People from Colorado
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Residents that live in the area of Harrisville Road, just east of Calhan, have noticed a deterioration in road conditions since work began on the Golden West Wind Farm Project. Harrisville Road is located on the haul route that Blattner Energy, a contractor working for project owner NextEra Energy Resources, routinely uses.
Despite the lengthy meeting and late hour, about 100 people stayed for the vote, and there were shouts of disapproval. "You've ruined my property," some yelled. In early January, the county's planning commission recommended against the change, citing health risks, equipment eyesores and infringing on private property.
Donna Bryant owns two properties close to the transmission lines that NextEra wants to reroute. She said if she had known about the changes at the time she purchased the properties, she would not have offered “a dollar” for them. “I bought this house 14 months ago. I offered more than the asking price because I wanted the view,” Bryant said. “I’m a combat vet, and I’m here in my retirement home — and I don’t want to be encroached upon.”
Regardless of the farm's potential economic benefits - or even whether the power line gets put above ground - the project's transformation of the plains south of Calhan is hard to face for residents such as Laura Foye to accept. Foye, who is horrified by the prospect of power lines transversing her rural neighborhood, has spent months absorbing information she can about wind farms.
If you think NIMBY attitudes run deep in suburbs and gated communities, try the countryside. Many of these folks don't want a damn thing in their backyard. So when a large wind farm was approved by the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners in December 2013 for the Calhan area — after years of delays and switches in ownership — there were quite a few people who didn't like it.
Laura Foye, a resident who received the letter from NextEra and another notification from the county, said she has spoken with Gil several times to try to better understand the project. “When it was first approved, it was going to bring in jobs and money,” she said. “Now, NextEra says that first route is going to be far too expensive for them; and, essentially, they just want to do something that’s less costly and less difficult.