WindAction Editorials filed under Impact on People
Local resistance to wind power development is intensifying worldwide and project developers are feeling the heat of angry communities saying ‘no’ to their spinning towers. As policy wonks try to understand the opposition, the wind industry is quick to tout public gaiety in Denmark over operating projects. But like every claim involving the wind industry, there's a darker story.
The Canadian government is correct that there is a need to understand ‘the potential health impacts and community concerns that underscore public resistance’ to wind energy. But Canadians and others will not be Grubered by phony studies.
Last month, New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) disapproved Antrim Wind, a 30-megawatt wind energy facility proposed along a remote and environmentally sensitive ridgeline in rural Antrim, NH. After eleven days of evidentiary hearings and three days of public deliberations, the Committee ruled that the ten monster turbines, each standing 492-feet tall, would pose a significant impact on aesthetics with no satisfactory means of mitigating the effect.
The health and safety of those living in proximity to industrial wind turbines are at risk due to a lack of objective, practicable siting standards.
Herkimer County, New York is the latest location to register wind turbine noise complaints. The source? Iberdrola's Hardscrabble wind facility (37 turbines) that went online earlier this year. Studies are underway to determine if the project is operating outside legal sound limits, but the larger question is 'Why?'. Why, with over 1,300 megawatts of wind installed in New York today and an extensive body of evidence showing turbine noise is causing deleterious impacts on people living near the towers, was Herkimer County fooled into thinking it would be spared?
Wind energy is unreliable.
Last November, the island community of Vinalhaven Maine celebrated the commissioning of the Fox Islands community wind energy facility, a 3-turbine project with an installed capacity of 4.5 megawatts. The $14.5 million project was overwhelmingly supported by residents on the island. But before the celebratory speeches concluded, those living within a mile of the facility made it clear the pulsating noise reverberating in- and outside their homes was unbearable.
Last week, Windaction.org looked at some of the adverse effects of wind energy development on traditional farming in the State of Illinois. In this second essay we explore the relationship between wind developers and farmers and test the concept that wind "farming" is helping farmers stay in business.
Acciona Energy's Waubra wind farm, located in western Victoria, Australia is the largest operating wind facility in the southern hemisphere. The site's 128 turbines (192 megawatts installed) started generating electricity in Spring 2009 and were fully energized by that July.
Dr. Carl V. Phillips, an expert in epidemiology and related health sciences, submitted this important testimony to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in reference to the Commission's effort to establish siting standards for large-scale wind turbines.
They have names: Ann and Jason Wirtz, Gerry Meyer, Wendy and Perrin Todd, Barbara Ashbee-Lormand, Jane and Julian Davis, Rene Taylor, Carol Cowperthwaite, Phil Bloomstein, Sally and David Wylie, Cherly and Art Lindgren, Peggy Lowrey, Tom Shea, Gail Mair, Noel Dean, Jessica, Hal Graham, Tim Yancey, Daniel & Carolyn d'Entremont, Colette McLean, Charlie Porter, Todd Hutzell and hundreds more.
In August 2007, First Wind, LLC received approval from the Vermont Public Service Board to erect sixteen 2.5 megawatt wind turbines in Sheffield, Vermont. Residents of Sheffield, neighboring Sutton, and others in the region fought the project from the beginning. And when First Wind was issued a NPDES storm water permit in 2009 from the State, the permit was appealed . The appellants argued that First Wind failed to identify the full extent of the area of disturbance, impacts to streams and stream biota, and violated the VT Water Quality Standards.
Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.1 ('CHD') and Ontario have a problem, or at least they should.
Last September, Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury and others filed an appeal of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's (MEDEP) final order approving the Record Hill wind energy facility proposed for Roxbury, ME.
This week, USA Today explored the renewables debate as it applied to public lands. In the article, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the man responsible for protecting and providing access to our nation's natural and cultural heritage, declared his Department the "real department of energy". In fact, staff at the Interior Department, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are working at his direction to fast-track the release of millions of acres of public land for a massive deployment of renewable energy projects. Developers from around the world are lined up waiting to take advantage of the Obama administration's ‘hurry-up and get it done' renewables policy.
On March 27, 2009, residents of Mars Hill living within 3600 feet of First Wind's wind facility filed a civil complaint in Maine's Superior Court seeking relief from the "significant harm" caused by First Wind and others by the construction and operation of the site. Medical professionals recognize the health problems related to the turbines at Mars Hill are valid.
The divide between wind energy proponents and those seeking to protect the health and welfare of individuals from the ill-effects of the towers is increasing. News accounts are published almost daily from around the world highlighting the serious problems of turbine noise and related adverse health effects, yet wind proponents like Ryan Schryver of Clean Wisconsin insist such reports are the work of a small, but vocal minority of people hell-bent on keeping turbines out of their viewshed. In an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio's Joy Cardin, Schryver dismissed health and safety concerns as exaggerated and argued that the focus on the issue was merely a tactic by wind power opponents in Wisconsin to encumber future proposals.
The public push for renewable energy solutions has quickly filtered into the business and personal market and more and more communities are finding themselves confronted with some of the same land use issues we see with utility-scale turbines. Establishing appropriate siting standards to address minimum lot size, maximum tower heights, property line setbacks, and noise levels are essential in ensuring adjacent properties are not harmed and the health and safety of the public are maintained.
Earlier this month, Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, a radiologist at the Northern Maine Medical Center, conducted interviews with fifteen people living near the industrial wind energy facility in Mars Hill, Maine. The purpose of the interviews was to investigate and record the health effects on those living within 3500-feet of industrial-scale turbines.
Last week, First Wind (formerly UPC Wind) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its newest wind farm in New England, the Stetson wind energy facility located in Danforth, Maine. The event celebrated completion of the 38-turbine (57-megawatt) facility and was attended by 100 state and local officials including Maine's Governor Baldacci, construction company representatives, and local business owners.