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An Ill Wind? -- Broken turbine blades bother nearby resident

Ellsworth came from Germany to live in rural Marseilles 17 years ago with her husband, who is from Morris. She researched the operating record of towers, primarily in Germany, where she said they have much longer experience. As a result of this experience, she said Germans never erect wind towers any closer to a home than one mile. "Blades can tear off and be like missiles," she said.

Barbara Ellsworth was troubled, but not surprised Saturday morning when she spotted a broken blade on a wind tower near her home.

"We thought, 'Hah! We knew that would happen.'"

Ellsworth and her husband Mike live three miles south of Marseilles on East 2450th Road, about 1,200 feet from a wind turbine and about 2,500 feet from one of the two towers damaged during the weekend, possibly by high winds. Chicago-based Invenergy Wind operates the string of towers that run through southeastern La Salle County.

An Invenergy spokeswoman said this week the company is examining the damaged towers, which a storm might have damaged Friday evening, although sensors on the towers did not alert to the damage until Saturday morning. The spokeswoman said mechanisms in the towers are to stop the blades from spinning if they are damaged.

However, Ellsworth is not reassured.

Ellsworth came from Germany to live in rural Marseilles 17 years ago with her husband, who is from Morris. When construction of the towers was proposed a few years ago, she researched the operating record of towers, primarily in Germany, where she said they have much longer experience. As a result of this experience, she said Germans never... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Barbara Ellsworth was troubled, but not surprised Saturday morning when she spotted a broken blade on a wind tower near her home.

"We thought, 'Hah! We knew that would happen.'"

Ellsworth and her husband Mike live three miles south of Marseilles on East 2450th Road, about 1,200 feet from a wind turbine and about 2,500 feet from one of the two towers damaged during the weekend, possibly by high winds. Chicago-based Invenergy Wind operates the string of towers that run through southeastern La Salle County.

An Invenergy spokeswoman said this week the company is examining the damaged towers, which a storm might have damaged Friday evening, although sensors on the towers did not alert to the damage until Saturday morning. The spokeswoman said mechanisms in the towers are to stop the blades from spinning if they are damaged.

However, Ellsworth is not reassured.

Ellsworth came from Germany to live in rural Marseilles 17 years ago with her husband, who is from Morris. When construction of the towers was proposed a few years ago, she researched the operating record of towers, primarily in Germany, where she said they have much longer experience. As a result of this experience, she said Germans never erect wind towers any closer to a home than one mile.

"Blades can tear off and be like missiles," she said.

A recent instance of a blade breaking off occurred in October 2008 in western Illinois, when a 6.5-ton, 140-foot-long blade sailed about 150 feet from a turbine, landing in a cornfield, according to an Associated Press report. There was no damage or injury. There is apparently no record of a bystander suffering injury or death from a flying blade.

Ellsworth said she has also seen slabs of ice slide off immobile blades and crash to the ground. She feared the ice would have been flung if the blades had begun spinning.

Ellsworth said she and neighbors objected to the towers, because of "intense safety concerns," but felt ridiculed by the company's wind tower experts. The company paid farmers for land on which to place the towers. Ellsworth said the company also offered her and her husband $1,000 per year, but they did not accept, believing it was akin to a bribe.

"We wanted to keep our doors open in case we ever had a severe accident."

Ellsworth said the towers are also dangerous to creatures of the air and annoying to humans - bats fly into them, they're noisy and they create a disturbing strobe effect when they are spinning with the sun behind them. She said there's a name for the effect on humans - "Wind Tower Syndrome," in which those who are prone to motion sickness, suffer migraine headaches and nausea.

"That constant turning of the blades makes me dizzy. I try to not look at them. We moved here to be in the countryside and we get this."


Source: http://mywebtimes.com/archi...

JUL 28 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/27474-an-ill-wind-broken-turbine-blades-bother-nearby-resident
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