Library filed under Impact on People from Vermont
Debate continues to swirl around how well wind project developers monitor the sound their turbines produce. One pending investigation into possible noise violations focuses on towers atop a ridge in Sheffield.
Sally Collopy and Penny Dubie, the wife of former Lt Gov Brian Dubie, were among the protesters in front of the conference center holding signs opposing wind turbine construction on ridgelines. In Swanton, there is a proposal for a project with seven 499-foot tall turbines. “It just makes no sense at all,” said Collopy, holding a sign that said “We are victims of industrial wind.”
“The Northeast Kingdom has become the dumping ground for every ill-conceived, poorly sited renewable energy project the developers can dream up,” Rodgers said in a news release. “Environmental and energy issues are real, but we know that there are far more effective ways to address them without ruining the quality of life that defines us as Vermonters.”
Turbine infrasound can be detected inside homes as far away as six miles. We know also that very low levels of infrasound and LFN are registered by the nervous system and affect the body even though they cannot be heard. Researchers have implicated these infrasonic pulsations as the cause of some of the most commonly reported “sensations” experienced by many people living close to wind turbines. These sensations include chronic sleep disturbance, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, vibrations and pressure sensations in the head and chest etc. There is medical research which demonstrates that pulsating infrasound can be a direct cause of sleep disturbance. In clinical medicine, chronic sleep interruption and deprivation is acknowledged as a trigger of serious health problems.
Renewable energy, for the most part, is a good thing. I support net metering for home-scaled wind and solar, fish-friendly small scale hydro, and mining landfills and bio digesters for methane. But at some point the rush into large scale (and subsidized) renewable energy becomes too costly, and too destructive of human and environmental values, to merit continued support. We have reached that point with Big Wind, and it’s time to slow this rush to “renewable energy of all kinds at whatever cost.”
But an insidious new form of visual pollution is overtaking the state. Solar sprawl tied to Act 56 could wipe out thousands of acres of undisturbed land and transform Vermont from The Green Mountain State to The Solar Panel State. With Vermont set to become the nation’s first all green-energy economy, solar projects popping up from Bennington to Barton dwarf the billboard blight of the 1960s, and could erase tourism’s marketing message.
Kevin McGrath, who lives near the Lowell project, and Steve Therrien, who said he was forced from his home because of the Sheffield development, both spoke about the damage that wind turbines have caused. McGrath, who is appealing his tax appraisal due to the towers, invited everyone to visit his home to see for themselves. He spoke about the deafening noise that wakes him at 2 a.m. and how he can’t just shut it off. “My land has scrap value,” McGrath said.
The neighbors in Swanton will be just over 2,000 feet to the proposed turbines, which is more than 1,000’ closer to the project than any homes on Georgia Mountain. The proposed turbines in Swanton are also nearly 60’ taller than the ones here. So I think it’s safe to say that they have a very valid reason to be worried about their property values.
His neighbors, including those in a nine-house development that Belisle built, aren’t so sure seven whirring turbines are the right thing for them. “It terrifies us,” said Christine Lang. ...She and other residents said they’ve heard about complaints that neighbors of other wind projects have had about noise and flickering shadows.
The closing days of this legislative session saw several senators try to give town and regional commissions a stronger voice in land use decisions by introducing an amendment to H.40, a new bill focused on energy policy. The goal of the amendment was to replace the tepid requirement that the board give “due consideration” to town and regional plans with a requirement for “substantial deference.” ...both Sens who represent Windham, Grafton and Townshend — the towns now facing a proposal to install up to 30 industrial wind turbines on their shared ridgelines — voted to deny their constituents even this modest statutory standing.
After living in the shadow of the 16 industrial turbines at the Sheffield wind site near their modest year-round home, a former camp that has been in Steve’s family since the 1970s, the family has been relocated with help from supporters of the anti-wind cause to a mobile home in Derby. ...The family has enemies because of its continued, public outcry — including testifying at the State House — about how the wind project has impacted their health and the health of their children, Seager, 5, and Baily, who turns 3 next month.
The Lowell wind opponents, which formed in reaction to the Lowell wind project called Kingdom Community Wind, said a wind turbine capable of producing 1.5 megawatts of electricity should be cited at least 1.25 miles away from a home. "For larger turbines the distance must be further and should be at the property line, not the dwelling," the group stated in its comments about wind monitoring and standards. The Lowell turbines are larger.
Before deliberating, the BCA in attendance agreed they should visit the Therrien property, preferably when the wind is blowing and the turbines are turning, to see firsthand the proximity of the towers to the property and to experience any disturbances created by the towers.
A Lowell couple has agreed to no longer publicly criticize Green Mountain Power’s wind farm in the Northeast Kingdom as part of a settlement they reached this year with the utility over a property line dispute.
Don and Shirley Nelson of Lowell today released a copy of the Settlement Stipulation entered into between the Nelsons and Green Mountain Power Corporation in April. The agreement resolves the GMP-Nelson litigation, which includes two payments, one of $50,000 and one of $1.25 million.
Blaming turbine neighbors for their illnesses is not the sole province of the greedy, insensitive, and mean-spirited. It’s state policy. Here’s how Vermont Department of Health official William Irwin explained the Department’s view to a legislative committee: The fact that they (the neighbors) can hear it (the turbines) annoys them and it has a different sound so it will be discernable above all the others and that's like the dripping faucet… It's their attitude about the sound… if you can change that, it may help.
Despite the platitudes of its corporate and government backers, industrial wind has not reduced Vermont's carbon emissions. Its intermittent nature makes it dependent on gas-fired power plants that inefficiently ramp up and down with the vicissitudes of the wind. Worse, it has been exposed as a Renewable Energy Credit shell game that disguises and enables the burning of fossil fuels elsewhere.
Mr. Parisi lives within a mile of the operating wind turbines on Georgia Mountain in Vermont. The project consists of four Goldwind turbines each with a capacity of 2.5 MW for a total of 10 MW.
"I’m not going to say it’s a fair settlement, because of the pain and suffering the Nelsons went through … but it’s a settlement that enables them to move on with their lives," said Smith. "It is filled with heartbreak, but it was necessary."
GMP and the Nelsons announced the settlement early Monday morning in separate statements. The deal ends a court battle that has been percolating in Orleans Superior Court in Newport City since GMP began blasting rock for the mountaintop wind project three years ago.