Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Wisconsin
The Highland Wind Farm plan, which seeks to bring 41 500-foot-tall wind turbines to the rural landscape of northeast St. Croix County, is ripping the social fabric of the community apart. But besides agreeing on that point, the chasm between the backers of the idea and those opposed to it is huge.
"When the turbine blades face our house, my wife and youngest son get terrible headaches that don't go away unless they go into our basement," said Ben Schauer, who lives in the town of Glenmore near the cluster of turbines ...Schauer said it would be impossible for him and his family to move out. "I would go bankrupt trying to pay two mortgages," he said.
New statewide wind siting rules - stuck in the Public Service Commission for a year - are now law, after the Legislature gaveled out of session Thursday without passing a replacement.
In the battle between property owners and clean energy advocates, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed new requirements for wind farms that could essentially halt new wind development in the state.
"Basically, I think they're locking people in their homes here and people that want to get out, they're going to take a big loss. I think it's really sad," said Belinda Gagnon, who lives near the wind farm.
Unrest among Brown County neighbors of what would be Wisconsin's largest wind farm is reason enough for the state to consider alternative projects, said a lawmaker from the area. State Rep. Ted Zigmunt, D-Francis Creek, said the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin should consider energy projects such as geothermal and solar hot water.
Environmental consultants can count the minutes a home is affected by the strobelike flickers of a wind turbine's shadow. They can measure the decibels of the rhythmic thrum of turbine blades cutting through the air. ...But, wind farm developers argue, basing placement on those tests means sacrificing the one thing the industry needs to build in Wisconsin: certainty.
The citizens group contesting the proposed locations of wind turbines in southern Brown County has asked county officials to take an active role in convincing the state to further study the health and safety impact. In more than two hours of presentations before a joint meeting of the county's Human Services Committee and Board of Health, group members cited sleep disorders, physical danger and well contamination among their reasons.
Imagine dozens of wind turbines, standing 400 feet tall, stretching across the farm fields of southern Brown County. They'd be spinning, day and night, for at least the next 30 years.
A Safety and setbacks are concerns among residents whose properties have been targeted for wind and other forms of renewable energy development. Town of Carlton and West Kewaunee residents are considering a proposal from Element Power to establish 111 wind turbines in five towns, which extends south to the towns of Mishicot, Two Creeks and Two Rivers in Manitowoc County.
Long after it began operating south of Fond du Lac with more than 80 wind turbines, the Forward Wind Energy Center divides residents as sharply as it did when the project was announced five years ago. Opponents of the operations insist that wind turbines are jeopardizing people's health and destroying the area's peaceful aesthetics. Supporters [are] certain that wind energy is liberating the United States from air pollution and dependence on foreign oil.
"Governor, I spent the first 35 years of my life in and around Fond du Lac County. "Returning after several years away, I find vast swaths of rural Wisconsin being heedlessly vandalized by industrial wind turbines, monstrosities that produce no useful output except tax breaks and carbon offsets for fat cats in Chicago and New York.
Nearby wind turbines, declining water quality and decreasing water levels at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Wisconsin earned the popular birders' destination the dubious distinction of being ranked the third most imperiled refuge in the nation, according to a list compiled by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. ...The uncertain impact of the wind turbines prompted another organization, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, to name Horicon one of the nation's most endangered refuges in a list released four years ago.
To the champions of wind power, the resistance is benighted and intolerable. "In a state that prides itself on its progressive renewable standards," says Eric Callisto, chairperson of Wisconsin's Public Service Commission, "getting our wind resources stymied at the local level is not acceptable." But to wind power critics, those restrictive local ordinances are enlightened and appropriate. Cartoonist Lynda Barry, a fixture in the Reader for years and now a Wisconsin resident, says she used to support wind power but believes its partisans have shut their eyes and ears to its victims, to people suffering physical ailments caused by living near the turbines.
The more we delve into the massive wind farm proposed by the Wind Capitol Group for Smelser Township, the more our concern grows. Smelser Township is too thickly populated. The land is rich farmland and produces wonderful crops. It would be a shame to ruin it. It should be strictly agriculture.
It's sad when those who support wind energy have no engineering facts to back their opinion and often resort to name calling to discredit the Wisconsin Independent Citizens Opposing Wind Turbine Sites (WINDCOWS). Far too often, the effects that farmers face are overlooked. Misled into contracts like rats to poison, they, along with their neighbors, are left at the mercy of the developer.
It is still too early for ITC Holdings Corp. to pinpoint the routes for its Green Power Express, but Dane County representatives already are skeptical of a path through the region. "People try to sell lots of ideas with green trimmings," said Dane County Supervisor Kyle Richmond. "But we'll still want to know who's going to pay for it, if they're guaranteed profit and if there's a reasonable analysis of the need for this project."
Do you live inside an industrial wind farm? I do. I live within the Forward-Invenergy project. It is a tremendous invasion of our life style and a horrible happening to our area. My wife, our 13-year-old son and I have experienced headaches, nausea, light headedness, lack of sleep because we hear them in all rooms of our house ...I trusted the elected officials of the town and county and the state's public service commission. That was a terrible mistake. If you allow large industrial limits closer than the set backs I mentioned above you will regret it. It will divide your community.
Fitchburg 's McKee Farms Park could have an added attraction this summer -- a small and what some say will be quiet -- wind turbine. Known as an "urban turbine, " it looks similar to a 30-foot flagpole topped with a 12-foot rotating helix. "This is not one of those big propeller things, " said Fitchburg administrator Tony Roach. Madison Gas & Electric proposed the turbine for the Fitchburg park because it wants a visible spot to demonstrate and monitor the technology that some day customers could use to power their homes or businesses, said John Drury, business development manager for MGE.
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.