Abstract This study provides quantitative evidence on the local benefits and costs of wind farm developments in England and Wales, focussing on their visual environmental impacts. In the tradition of studies in environmental, public and urban economics, housing costs are used to reveal local preferences for views of wind farm developments. Estimation is based on quasiexperimental research designs that compare price changes occurring in places where wind farms become visible, with price changes in appropriate comparator groups. These comparator groups include places close to wind farms that became visible in the past, or where they will become operational in the future and places close to wind farms sites but where the turbines are hidden by the terrain. All these comparisons suggest that wind farm visibility reduces local house prices, and the implied visual environmental costs are substantial. The conclusions of the report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Developers should also be aware that the case clarifies the way in which the planning balance must be struck by decision makers. They are not free to give harm to heritage assets such weight as they may choose when carrying out the balancing exercise. Instead, they must give particular weight the desirability of avoiding such harm when assessing whether the advantages of the proposal outweigh that harm. The rejection of the "reasonable observer" test will also be a significant constraint on the ability to construct wind farms and other new development in sensitive locations.
Mauri Johansson, MD, a specialist in Community and Occupational Medicine (including Environmental Medicine) in Denmark, sent this open letter to the heads of the Australian Medical Association in response to the AMA's recent position paper on industrial-scale wind energy where it claimed that "Individuals residing in the vicinity of wind farms who do experience adverse health or well-being, may do so as a consequence of their heightened anxiety or negative perceptions regarding wind farm developments in their area."
This important paper written by Drs. Alec Salt and Jeffery T. Lichtenhan, both Professors of Otolaryngology at Washington University in St. Louis, examines the many ways by which unheard infrasound and low-frequency sound from wind turbines could distress people living nearby. The introduction and conclusion of the paper is excerpted below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
This paper by Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus Belfast University provides an easy to read synopsis of our current understanding of wind turbine noise and its impact on human health. An excerpt of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
The NH State Fire Marshal has recommended that Iberdrola's Groton Wind energy facility cease operation until fire safety concerns have been addressed. A letter as well as prefiled testimony submitted by the Fire Marshal's office asserting the facts in the case can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The NH Site Evaluation Committee has initiated enforcement proceedings against Iberdrola for this an other complaints.
Dr. Gary Hopkins, a practicing physician in Australia, issued this letter to the President of the Australian Medical Association where he takes the AMA to task over its recent position statement claiming that "available Australian and international evidence does not support the view that the infrasound or low frequency sound generated by wind farms, as they are currently regulated in Australia, causes adverse health effects on populations residing in their vicinity."
Dr. Jay Tibbetts, a practicing physician, member of the Brown County Board of Health and Medical Adviser to the Brown County Health Department responds to the Australian Medical Association's position on wind power and the impacts on human health.
Senator John Madigan delivered this powerful speech on the floor of the Australian Federal Senate. In this speech, he details how one of Australia’s best known power companies, AGL, attempted to influence country doctors in their treatment of residents living near Macarthur wind farm.
In this District Court ruling, Judge Reggie Walton found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in their reviews of the offshore wind project. The court remanded the case to FWS to independently evaluate a shutdown of turbines during migratory bird season. The court also ruled that NMFS can no longer avoid fully evaluating impacts to right whales and must formulate and issue an incidental take statement because of the documented presence of this highly endangered species in the area. The conclusion of the ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
The Trustees of Rushcreek Township in Logan County, Ohio passed this resolution requesting that the Ohio Power Siting Board deny the Scioto Ridge wind energy facility proposed by Everpower Wind. The text of the resolution is provided below. The full resolution can be accessed by clicking the link on this page.
A Maine Superior Court judge has found in favor of wind turbine neighbors (Fox Island Wind Neighbors) complaining about excessive noise from three nearby 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbines. This is believed to be the first court case where a state judge has found against a state agency charged with enforcement; the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The judge’s decision follows the key claim of the plaintiffs who proved that FIW (Fox Islands Wind) was not complying with the State’s noise limits and that the DEP failed to enforce against the turbine operator or to require compliance. An excerpt of the ruling is provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Maine PUC erred in approving a merger between wind developer, First Wind, and the utility Emera which owns generation assets in the State. This order vacates the PUC ruling from three years ago. The order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. A portion of the Court's order can be found below.
Paul Brouha, resident of Sutton, Vermont filed this letter and accompanying reports with the Vermont Public Service Board to show that the Sheffield wind energy facility (40 MW) is consistently operating in violation of the Board's permit conditions relating to indoor noise levels. A summary of what Mr. Brouha is experiencing at his home can be found below. The findings of independent noise experts can be found by clicking the links on this page.
Author and Journalist Robert Bryce presented these written comments at a hearing before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. The focus of the hearing was on the economic benefits of ecosystems and wildlife and how they “are valuable to a wide range of industries,” including tourism. The purpose was also to examine “how the Administration is preparing to protect” ecosystems “in a changing climate.” Most of Mr. Bryce's written comments are provided below. His full statement can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
This paper was accepted for presentation at the 11th Symposium of the International Association for Fire Safety Science in New Zealand (Feb 2014). The authors aim to summarize the current state of knowledge in the area of turbine fire by presenting a review of the few sources which are available, in order to quantify and understand the fire problem in wind energy. Fire is the second leading cause of catastrophic accidents in wind turbines (after blade failure) and accounts for 10 to 30% of the reported turbine accidents of any year since 1980’s. The abstract of the paper can be found below. The full paper can be downloaded by clicking the link(s) on this page. For more information visit this link.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia has recommended a multidisciplinary research effort to determine the impact of industrial scale wind turbines on human health. The attached documents detail the NHMRC's review of current literature on the topic and its draft recommendations for further quality research to address the concerns that some people have raised. The NHMRC is asking Australia's best researchers to address the gaps in the evidence.
The Lake Winds Energy Park has been found in violation of the Mason County Michigan zoning ordinance due to noise levels exceeding the permitted levels. The Mason County Planning Commission notified Consumers Energy of the exceedences and the matter is before the Courts. The attached document is the proposed sound mitigation plan. In addition, one of the residents pursuing the court case, Cary Shineldecker, filed a review of the mitigation plan. Both Consumers Sound Mitigation Plan and Mr. Shineldecker's review can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important paper prepared by acoustics expert Les Huson examines the permitted noise limits imposed on the Flyers Creek wind energy facility in the context of actual infrasound noise emissions from other operating wind projects. Mr. Huson determines that the Flyers Creek project will not satisfy the noise conditions or the South Australian EPA Environmental Noise Guidelines for wind energy facilities. Excerpts of the paper are provided below. Readers are encouraged to download and read the full paper by clicking the link on this page.
The Vermont Public Service Board held a prehearing conference on January 8, 2014 to discuss opening an investigation into the issue of appropriate sound standards applicable to facilities constructed pursuant to 30 V.S.A. §§ 248 and 219a. This inludes wind energy facilities. In this order the Board established a process for conducting the proceeding, as well as a proposed scope of issues to be examined through the investigation. A portion of the order is provided below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.