WIND FARM IMPACTS EXIST
New Richmond News
August 4, 2012
My attention was called to a recent letter written by Jay Mundinger in your New Richmond News newspaper.
Mr. Mundinger, as you know, works as a spokesperson for Emerging Energies. We here in southern Brown County on the eastern side of the state are familiar with that company and what they build.
About ten miles from our small farmette is the Shirley Wind project in the Glenmore Township. We have met and visited a couple of the homes of the three families who have had to walk away from those homes due to the onset of adverse health effects.
Some of the symptoms are headaches, ear pain, tinnitus, dizziness, sleep deprivation from low frequency noise to name a few. These three families had to make a difficult choice between their health or the home that once provided them with a sense of security.
This letter is to share that not only did Mr. Mundinger lie when he said that no problems ever arose in the Kewaunee wind project, but he had the gall to say that in a printed format.
One of the first documents that was shared with me and other concerned citizens was a survey conducted by an Illinois journalist who interviewed Lincoln Township people to see what, if any, problems might have been experienced by rural families there. Please use this contact to see the article: http://www.aweo.org/windlincoln.html
Please note that one electrical worker in that wind project refused to return to continue his work due to nosebleeds. Farmers had made mention of also problems with stray voltage in their barns and several were losing livestock that forced them to invest thousands to drop a neutral line around it, etc. to stop their animals from dying. To date, three families have been bought out and their homes were bulldozed — in essence an admission of serious problems.
So please dig a little deeper on this Emerging Energies crew. They are not environmentalists. They are not the “down home folk” they pretend to be. As one of the women interviewed in the recent documentary “Windfall,” by Laura Israel said, “… They are very good at what they do … They are carpetbaggers.. .”
Thank you for your time and your willingness to listen to the concerned citizens of the Forest Township. This is happening all around our state and the country. Be sure to check out wind-watch.org to learn more.
From Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
TOWN OF SHERMAN WIND FARM OPPONENTS FORM GROUP
Written by Josh Lintereur |
July 30 2012
Citizens living near a proposed wind farm site in the Town of Sherman have formed an opposition group in hopes of stopping the project.
Members of the Sheboygan County Communities for Responsible Energy group say they plan to work with local leaders and state legislators to amend new state rules that have eliminated local control for wind siting decisions.
“The problem we’re dealing with now is a consequence of failed public policy, and that’s where it needs to be addressed first,” said Edward Buck, who lives in the township and is a member of the citizens group.
Hubertus-based EEW Services LLC has told Town of Sherman leaders it intends to submit a formal application to begin construction next year on the Windy Acres Wind Farm on 400 acres east of state Highway 57, west of county Highway CC and north of county Highway A.
The proposed wind farm would consist of four wind turbines that together could generate up to 12 megawatts of electricity, or enough for about 4,000 average residential homes. The turbines would connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.
There are about 500 property owners within one mile of the proposed site, and so far about 100 families have become directly engaged in the opposition group — and even more have voiced displeasure with the project, Buck said.
Opponents are now urging town officials to impose bonds and fees and stretch out the approval process as long as possible in hopes the state Legislature revisits rules that govern wind farm development sometime next year. State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) has encouraged the town to do the same, saying there’s a good chance that such efforts could keep the project from moving forward.
The state’s rules place wind farm siting decisions almost entirely in the hands of the state Public Service Commission, as state wind siting rules supersede local ordinances.
The state’s rules were adopted under former Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democrat-led Legislature in 2009, but the Republican-led Legislature voted in March 2011 to stop the rules from going into effect. Lawmakers needed to vote again by this spring on whether to permanently shelve them and never did, meaning the rules are now in place.
Jay Mundinger, spokesman for EEW Services, said the development firm has received a number of phone calls from residents regarding the project, and the majority have been positive.
“They believe the state is lacking in renewable resources, and they believe a small wind farm would be very acceptable to the community,” Mundinger said.
Mundinger said EEW will hold an open house for residents in the near future and continue to provide information as the proposal becomes more solidified.
The opposition group’s members have raised a host of concerns over the Wind Acres proposal, from the potential health hazards of living near a wind farm to its impact on property values.
“This isn’t a remote rural agricultural community,” Buck said. “There’s some really nice housing development going on out there, along with hobby farms and dairy farms.”
Buck, who is a research and development engineer in the energy industry, called it an “odd” project, given its relatively small size and placement in an area with little, if any, infrastructure to accommodate a wind farm.
Buck contends that same amount of energy could easily be achieved through solar power or natural gas, or by adding a small number of wind turbines to an existing wind farm.
Furthermore, there are concerns that the electricity produced by the farm won’t be used by state residents. The project site is in WE Energies’ service territory, and the utility is not involved in the project.
Buck and others have suggested that without involvement by WE Energies, electricity generated by the farm could be sold as renewable energy credits to out-of-state or international energy companies.
“This doesn’t benefit the people of Wisconsin,” Buck said.
Mundinger said that they haven’t settled on where energy from the project would go, though he indicated that both in-state and outside buyers are being approached.
Mundinger said EEW will submit a formal application by late September. Their goal would be to have the wind farm operating by late 2013.
“We’re still planning on moving forward and being as transparent as we can,” he said.
The project requires approval by the Sherman Town Board. The town is in the process of drafting its own local wind ordinance, though it cannot be more restrictive that the state’s rules.
OPPOSITION STRONG AT PROPOSED WIND FARM MEETING
Written by Dan Benson
July 25, 2012
TOWN OF SHERMAN — About 150 people showed up to learn more about a proposed wind farm in the Town of Sherman and most of them didn’t like what they heard.
“Looking at the number of people who are here tonight, the question the board should be asking is, ‘How do we stop it?’” said Jim Bertram, of Adell. “We want to know how we can stop it.”
The town is in the process of drafting a wind ordinance and related wind siting roles in light of a proposed commercial wind farm there.
The town, however, is hamstrung by state law in how strict they can make those rules.
“The town can’t be any stricter than the rules the state came up with,” attorney Matt Parmentier told the audience. Parmentier was retained by the town to draft the ordinance.
Hubertus-based EEW Services, LLC, is proposing to build a nine- to-12 megawatt wind farm on a 400-acre property east of state Highway 57, west of county Highway CC and north of county Highway A in the Town of Sherman. The turbine blades would reach as high as 500 feet and connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.
The developer has indicated that it intends to submit a formal application to begin construction next year on the Windy Acres Wind Farm.
The board did not take any action at Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at the Silver Creek Fire Hall, but heard from about two dozen people. Parmentier also shared details of the proposed ordinance, which cannot exceed state regulations regarding set backs and other factors. If the town’s ordinance is more stringent than state rules, then the ordinance would be declared invalid and the project would be automatically approved.
That was a sore point with many in the audience, saying the law was an affront to local control and property owners’ rights and will lower property values.
“He (the developer) is basically stealing my property,” said John Hayes, who lives near the proposed development. “I feel like they’re stealing from me.”
Parmentier said the application for the wind farm has not yet been received.
State regulations went into effect in March and the Town of Sherman project is one of the first to be considered under the new rules.
“We’re sort of the guinea pigs in this instance,” Parmentier said.
Speakers urged the Town Board to stretch out the process as long as possible in hopes of defeating the project, possibly through legislative action in Madison.
Several local representatives were on hand, including Rep. Mike Endsley (R-Sheboygan), Rep. Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade), Sen. Glenn Grothmann (R-West Bend) and Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan).
Informational meeting on wind ordinance set
Written by Sheboygan Press staff
July 18 2012
The Sherman Town Board will hold an informational meeting Tuesday to discuss the town’s proposed wind energy ordinance and related state wind siting rules in light of a proposed commercial wind farm there.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Silver Creek Fire Hall, W6566 Highway 144. Town officials will provide an overview of the state’s wind energy regulations along with its own wind ordinance proposal.
Attendees can ask questions and offer public comment during the meeting. No formal board action will be taken on the local ordinance proposal.
The meeting comes as town leaders prepare to consider a proposal by Hubertus-based, EEW Services, LLC, to build a nine- to-12 megawatt wind farm on a 400-acre property in the town.
The developer has so far indicated that it intends to submit a formal application to begin construction next year on the Windy Acres Wind Farm.
Under the proposal, four wind turbines would be built on a stretch of land located east of state Highway 57, west of county Highway CC and north of county Highway A. The turbine blades would reach as high as 500 feet and connect to a substation in the Town of Holland.
The project requires the blessing of the Town of Sherman Board, though approval is ultimately in the hands of state regulators at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, as state rules governing wind farm siting supersedes local ordinances.
The town is in the process of drafting a local wind ordinance though it essentially must mirror the state’s rules.
From Nova Scotia
INCREASING TURBINE NUMBERS COULD MEAN LARGER SETBACKS
By Cheryl LaRocque
Source: Amherst Daily News
July 19, 2012
AMHERST – For industrial wind turbines, low frequency sound emissions range: one person may not hear a noise a second person hears clearly, while a third person finds the noise loud and uncomfortable.
To date, some residents of Amherst and out of town visitors said: “I don’t hear them; the turbines don’t bother me; the turbines hum and/or drone and keep me awake at night; they gave me an ongoing migraine; they give me daily headaches; the turbines are noisy and I/we can’t sleep at night.”
Researchers explain individual hearing sensitivity varies greatly. If you are wondering why, the explanation may be tucked in the inner ear in a cluster of tiny, interconnected organs.
In an article published in the Bulletin of Science Technology & Society, 2011, Wind Turbines could Affect Humans, by Alec Salt and James A. Kaltenbach explained, wind turbines generate low-frequency sounds that affect the ear.
“The ear is superficially similar to a microphone, converting mechanical sound waves into electrical signals, but does this by complex physiologic processes.”
Serious misconceptions about low-frequency sound and the ear have resulted in a failure to consider how the ear works.
“Although the cells that provide hearing are insensitive to infrasound, other sensory cells in the ear are much more sensitive, which can be demonstrated by electrical recordings,” wrote Salt and Kaltenbach. “Responses to infrasound reach the brain through pathways that do not involve conscious hearing but instead may produce sensations of fullness, pressure or tinnitus, or have no sensation.”
There is overwhelming evidence large electricity-generating turbines cause serious health problems in a nontrivial fraction of residents living near them, explained Carl V. Phillips, MPP, PhD in his article Properly Interpreting the Epidemiologic Evidence About the Health Effects of Industrial Wind Turbines on Nearby Residents. The article was published in the Bulletin of Science Technology & Society (2011).
“These turbines produce noise in the audible and non-audible ranges, as well as optical flickering, and many people living near them have reported a collection of health effects that appear to be manifestations of a chronic stress reaction or something similar,” explained Phillips, a consultant and author specializing in epidemiology, science-based policy making and communicating scientific concepts to the public.
Dr. Robert McMurtry, former dean of medicine at the University of Western in London, Ont., published a case definition to facilitate a clinical diagnosis regarding adverse health effects and industrial wind turbines.
There is a move toward a safe setback of turbines of two kilometres from homes, explained Dr. John Harrison, physicist from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., in an email interview.
“In the absence of any independent studies of adverse health effects, a precautionary principle suggests all provinces and territories in Canada should adopt a two-km setback.”
Harrison’s expertise is in the properties of matter at low temperatures with emphasis on high frequency sound waves. For the past five years he has studied wind turbine noise and its regulation.
As the province of Nova Scotia continues to pursue and approve wind energy developments, it is important it take into account the larger the turbine and the increase in numbers of turbines would also mean an increase in setback distance, explained Richard R. James in a phone interview from his office in Okemos, Mich.
James is adjunct professor at Michigan State University and Central Michigan University with the department of communication disorders.
Richard R. James, INCE (Institute of Noise Control Engineering) is a certified noise control engineer and has been actively involved in the field of noise control since 1969, participating in and supervising research and engineering projects related to measurement and control of occupational and community noise for major US and Canadian Manufacturers. Since 2006, he has been involved with noise and health issues related to industrial wind turbines.
Other countries including Australia, Denmark, France, New Zealand and Germany have instituted strict regulatory requirements regarding industrial wind turbine setback or are in the process of tightening criteria that experience has shown are not protective. The Danish EPA (their regulatory body) recently instituted stricter regulations that require the turbine’s emission of low frequency sound be addressed.