Articles filed under Impact on People from Wisconsin
Wind turbines are noisy a lot of the time - very noisy. There are two sounds, a motor drone and an intermittent whooshing sound. The noise is constant, loud and penetrating. This noise penetrates my house; especially my bedroom at night, when it is at its loudest because of the cool air at ground level. This noise is with my windows closed. Disturbing your sleep, yes; good for your health, no. Your comment that this is a noise crickets can drown out is wrong. The sound from the turbines drowns out the noise of the crickets. It's obvious you have not experienced turbine noise in your bedroom.
Three developers are talking about putting up wind turbines in the offshore waters to generate electricity. ...One plan calls for 390 turbines in an area about 18 miles east of Milwaukee, according to the newspaper report. Another would put 610 turbines one to two miles offshore from Kewaunee to Kenosha. ...We have concerns about the effect hundreds of Lake Michigan turbines would have on recreational boating, not to mention sport and commercial fishing, all of which are vital to the Sheboygan area's economy. There is also the danger that wind turbines rising hundreds of feet into the air pose to migratory birds.
Two brothers-in-law, a country road in northwest Missouri, a fistfight ...Surely it's happened before, but probably never over wind energy. ...At the heart of the dispute: Just how healthy is the noise from wind turbines? ...In Rock County, Union Township residents studied medical and scientific research for months before drafting their wind ordinance, which says a setback of at least a half-mile from inhabited structures is needed to avoid health problems. Tom Alisankus, chairman of the committee that drafted the ordinance, said committee members found in their research that the state of Wisconsin had no medical or scientific data to back a model ordinance with a 1,000-foot setback. Proposed legislation that would have allowed the state's Public Service Commission to set statewide siting standards failed to reach a vote before the session ended last month. Doctors in other countries, including Canada, England, France, Australia and New Zealand, have written papers about similar illnesses in people who live near wind farms. ..."Does noise bother people differently? Absolutely," said Smith, the area audiologist. "It can have a very debilitating effect." But, he said, before anyone can conclude that the wind turbines are harmful, a major study must be done.
Give some credit to Calumet County for deciding not to go with 400-foot turbines. Perhaps they have seen how the landscape has been permanently trashed at Johnsburg. Now if the politicians in Chilton could start working with the solar energy people they could set a good example for the rest of this area. They will have to initiate some kind of energy program before our governor and his wind crowd take revenge. Here, near the Brownsville project, we have not heard a good word about the turbines that are operating. The complaints vary from resignation to outright fury.
Given Wisconsin's reputation as a "green" state, it would seem that a proposal to construct wind farms in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior off the state's shores would easily be approved. But opposition to land-based wind farms and the slow development of wind power in the state have some wind power advocates gearing up for a fight with those expressing concern about humming noise, flickering shadows and ruined views. ... But opposition to wind farms runs deep. Last month, the state Senate let die a bill by Plale that would have curbed municipal and county governments' ability to ban wind turbines. ...A 133-turbine wind farm by the Chicago company Invenergy Wind LLC near Horicon Marsh in central Wisconsin is partially constructed and operating despite vociferous opposition. "You've got to hear these things, they drive you nuts," said Joe Breaden, a retired high school ecology teacher who says he was mocked 20 years ago for warning about global warming. "It's a droning sound mixed in with a woo-woo-woo. It reminds me of the 'Twilight Zone.' "
In hopes of saving people from the same type of issues we've had with wind tower development here in northeast Wisconsin, I'd like to share some information with the good people of Bureau County. ...Please think about what you are doing before you sign those leases. Energy we can make from many sources; we can't make new soybean and corn ground.
Almost five years ago, a group of people in the Town of Marshfield, in Fond du Lac County, joined together to try to stop the wind development in that town from being ramrodded through the town board. Some of the board members who were also farmers signed lease agreements to put turbines on their land. Four families, including mine, eventually filed a court action against the town. Now, people come forward and say they wish someone had done or said something to prevent what happened. The fabric of the community is tattered at best.
"I do favor wind energy," says County Board Chairman Merlin Gentz, but the panel saw enough research suggesting that low-frequency vibrations and constant noise justify the setback. "No one," he says, "is saying they should be as close as 1,000 feet." Except for the companies building them and environmentalists pushing them. Renew Wisconsin, a windmill lobby group, has been decrying Calumet County's qualms for months now. In one letter to county officials, the group argued against any kind of environmental impact study since that "presumes that wind energy is an inherently harmful technology." Neighbors say it could harm the daylights out of their resale value or their peace and quiet. Windmill backers pretty much tell them to get over it.
What will Calumet County look like in five years if the current wind energy regulations remain in place? That question can be answered by taking a drive a mere five miles into Fond du Lac County, to an area just east of Johnsburg. ...You will see how this peaceful setting will be disrupted forever. You will see how the countryside has been scarred. You may also notice "for sale" signs on homes in the area. Reading about setbacks and looking at pictures of wind turbines does not give justice to their sheer size. A first-hand visit in a populated environment similar to Calumet County (as opposed to a "traditional" wind farm in a sparsely populated area) can be an eye-opener.
What constitutes protection of public health and safety for siting and operating 400-foot industrial wind turbines with capacities of 1.65 to 2 megawatts? That question stirred lots of activity and animosity in Calumet County in 2007. ...Among the common themes were unacceptable noise levels that disrupted sleeping and other activities, shadowing and flickering inside residences, health problems and attitude changes in their families, loss of property value, interference with television reception and Internet services, and refusal by wind energy system owner/operators to deal with complaints. Concerns specific to Calumet County included protection of groundwater in a very sensitive geological area, flight corridors for medical helicopters between Chilton and Fox Cities hospitals and sheriff and state patrol microwave relay pathways.
SPRING VALLEY TOWNSHIP - When Kevin and Lynda Kawula first heard about a wind farm proposal for Magnolia Township, they thought it sounded like a good idea. But as they attended meetings and researched the issue, their opinions changed. "It seemed like enough people were concerned that we got concerned," he said. ...The Kawulas visited the Montfort wind farm in Iowa County. It has 20 turbines with 30 megawatts of capacity. "It's like moving back into a metropolitan area," he said. "It's an airport where the planes never land." Being around the turbines and high voltage power lines make Kevin feel physically ill with pressure headaches, he said.
Wind energy has become a divisive issue for Trempealeau County's residents over the past 14 months. The county board will vote Monday on a third draft of a wind ordinance they've been wrestling with since investment group AgWind Energy Partners approached the board in September 2006 with a request to look at three potential sites to build four to six turbines. The proposed ordinance is stricter than the previous two. It would require turbines to be at least a mile from all habitable structures and a half-mile from property lines. Among more than 30 other restrictions is a requirement that the noise from the turbines can't exceed 40 decibels when measured at any residence.
Underlying all of those concerns is the question of whether wind power is a long-term energy alternative that can survive without taxpayer subsidies. "The biggest problem is the unreliability," said Ben Lieberman, a senior energy and environment policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation. "With wind power, you just don't know when the wind will be blowing." Importantly, Lieberman noted, it's on the hottest days--the time of greatest energy demand--when wind power is most likely to fail.
There has been very few wind projects built in the state since 2000, though more are planned in the next 12 to 24 months, said Ed Blume, spokesperson for the nonprofit environmental group RENEW Wisconsin. ...According to Blume, the biggest challenges to increasing wind power in the state are more at the local level. The largest complaints in regard to wind turbines are noise level, moving shadows created by the blades and harm to birds. The state typically requires turbines to be 1,000 feet from homes, with noise levels varying on the speed of the wind and how close a home is to the turbine. Bjurlin said the turbines at the Springfield site are loudest in 18 mile per hour winds, with winds over that amount being louder than the sound of the blades.
"It just seems like this is a perfect place for a wind farm, in big, open spaces," Town of Chilton resident Sandy Popp said. "In this project, there aren't many nonparticipating land owners, and I think that makes a huge difference. In our county, there will be hundreds of people who will not be participating who will be relatively close."
County government has the right and duty to investigate the reality of wind turbine facilities and to write a wind energy ordinance that protects the health and safety of its citizens. ...You have to be very naive to believe a 400 to 500 foot, 270-ton to 330-ton piece of machinery would not make noise and negatively affect your family and community. Yes, many of us in Trempealeau County want to protect our health and safety - if you're as smart as I think you are, wouldn't you too?
Three wind turbine towers to be built along a two-mile setback east of Horicon Marsh comply with orders approving the 200-megawatt wind farm project, a Wisconsin Public Service Commission administrator concluded this week. The turbine tower sites were challenged by Joe Breaden, of Mayville, a project opponent, as being built so close to the required setback that the turbine blades would extend into the setback.
CHILTON - Life near wind turbines is hell, a panel told about 500 at a forum Wednesday organized by residents worried that proposed wind farms would affect public health and property values. "The noise produced by turbines is intolerable," Kewaunee County homeowner Mike Washechek said. Washechek has lived about ¼ mile from a wind farm for the last seven years. "My wife thought the dryer was on and there was a tennis shoe in it."
CHILTON - A public information meeting on life near wind turbines will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at the Engler Auditorium at Chilton High School in Chilton. The event, which is hosted by Calumet County Citizens for Responsible Energy, is free and open to the public. Dr. Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician, will speak on the "wind turbine syndrome" and the health effects of wind turbines on humans. Dr. Richard Bolton, a physicist and president of the Environmental Compliance Alliance, will talk about the environmental impact of wind turbine noise on humans and wildlife.
Attorney Glen Stoddard, representing Focus on Monroe County’s Future submitted written testimony accusing the Monroe County Planning and Zoning Committee of a majority bias in favor of Invenergy at the Wilton public hearing last Thursday. The Planning and Zoning Committee has set a 9 a.m. meeting for June 5 at the Monroe County Courthouse to make a decision in granting Summit Ridge Energy a conditional use permit to build wind turbines in the town of Wilton.