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11/5/08 USA Today takes it seriously: The trouble with living too close to industrial wind turbines. AND! The spray-on SOLAR solution!

(Note:This story made national news when it appeared in USA Today on November 4th, 2008. Although wind developers and lobbyists continue to downplay and even deny the negative health effects of living too close to industrial scale wind turbines, the first American peer reviewed study makes the truth of the matter quite clear. To read some of the peer reviews, CLICK HERE)

by Judy Keenin USA Today

(Click here to read at source)

Not long after the wind turbines began to spin in March near Gerry Meyer's home, his son Robert, 13, and wife, Cheryl, complained of headaches.
They have trouble sleeping, and Cheryl Meyer, 55, sometimes feels a fluttering in her chest. Gerry is sometimes nauseated and hears crackling.

The culprit, they say, is the whooshing sound from the five industrial wind turbines near the 6-acre spread where they have lived for 37 years. "I don't think anyone should have to put up with this," says Gerry Meyer, who compares the sound to a helicopter or a jet taking off.

As more turbines are built, the noise they create is stirring debate. Industry groups such as the American Wind Energy Association say there's no proof they make people sick, but complaints of nausea, insomnia and other problems have surfaced near wind farms across the USA.

Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician in Malone, N.Y., calls the ailments Wind Turbine Syndrome and is writing a book on them. In the preface, which she shared with USA TODAY, she says the syndrome "is an industrial plague. It is man-made and easily fixed. Proper setbacks are the best cure."

Laurie Jodziewicz, siting manager for the American Wind Energy Association, says there are almost 15,000 wind turbines in the USA, and most people live near them "without incident. ... We would have heard if this was a widespread issue."

The nearest turbine is 1,560 feet from Meyer's house. His dismay over an energy source he once thought was benign has made the retired mailman, 59, an activist. He travels the state warning communities considering wind farms to be wary.

Studies have mixed results

One of the nation's first nuisance lawsuits against a wind farm ended with rulings in 2006 in favor of the company that developed it after landowners near the Abilene, Texas, project objected to turbine noise.

Objections to wind farms continue to be raised:

  • Pierpont's website,www.windturbinesyndrome.com,includes reports of illness from Union, Ore.; Mars Hill, Maine; Saginaw, Texas; King City, Mo.; and elsewhere.

Wendy Todd, who lives 2,500 feet from a turbine in Mars Hill, says she suffers sleep deprivation, and her neighbors have headaches and dizziness. "You just can't get used to it," she says of the noise.

  • British physician Amanda Harry said in a 2007 study that people living near turbines can experience anxiety, depression, vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Mariana Alves-Pereira, a Portuguese acoustical engineer, said in a 2007 study that turbines can cause vibroacoustic disease, which can lead to strokes and epilepsy.

A 2008 study funded by the European Union, however, found that the sound annoys many people, but it doesn't affect health "except for the interruption of sleep."

Some of Meyer's neighbors don't understand the fuss. People who say the noise makes them ill are exaggerating, says Rudy Jaeger, 67, who has a turbine on his farm. "It's no worse than traffic driving by." Francis Ferguson, chairman of the Byron Town Board, which voted to approve the project here, has heard talk that the sound makes people sick, but says, "I haven't seen any documentation."

The American Wind Energy Association would like to see "a credible, third-party" scientific study, Jodziewicz says. Setbacks are settled between developers and communities, and there's no industry standard, she says.

Susan Dennison, spokeswoman for Invenergy, the Chicago company that built the 86-turbine wind farm here, says it hasn't received any complaints about health problems in the area.

The turbines here, which are 389 feet tall including blades, must be 440 feet from property lines and at least 1,000 feet from homes, she says.

Concerns over home values

Eric Rosenbloom of National Wind Watch, an information clearinghouse, says noise and health concerns are the top issues in communities considering them. The group recommends 1-mile setbacks from homes.

Rick James, an acoustical engineer from Okemos, Mich., suggests keeping turbines 1¼ miles from homes.

That makes sense to Larry Wunch, a firefighter who lives a few miles from the Meyers. Turbines encircle his property, and when the wind tops 15 mph, he says, they "just scream." The closest is 1,100 feet from his house.

Wunch says he and his wife, Sharon, "have lost sleep and are irritated." He worries his home's value has declined and says the wind farm has created tension between opponents and those who have them on their property in exchange for annual payments that Dennison says are about $5,000 a year. "It's really turned our township upside down," Wunch says.

"If it's affecting your health," Meyer says, "it's hard to ignore."

Web link:http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/20...

NOTE FROM THE BPRC RESEARCH NERD: Check it out! Small is beautiful! The answer to the energy crisis is not industrial scale, but human-scale--

Portable Power: Tiny Solar Cells Show Promise


Researchers have managed to pull 11 volts of electricity from a small array of solar cells, which are each a quarter of the size of a grain of white rice.


CHICAGO - Researchers have developed some some of the tiniest solar cells ever made and said Thursday the organic material could potentially be painted on to surfaces.

So far, they have managed to pull 11 volts of electricity from a small array of the cells, which are each just a quarter of the size of a grain of white rice, said Xiaomei Jiang of the University of South Florida, who led the research.

"They could be sprayed on any surface that is exposed to sunlight -- a uniform, a car, a house," Jiang said in a telephone interview.

"Because it is in a solution, you can design a special spray gun where you can control the size and thickness. You could produce a paste and brush it on," she said.

Eventually, Jiang envisions the solar cells being used as a coating on a variety of surfaces, including clothing. They might generate energy to power small electronic devices or charge a cell phone, for example.

Solar cells, which convert energy from the sun into electricity, are in increasing demand amid unstable gas prices and worries over global warming.

Most conventional solar cells are made up of silicon wafers, a brittle substance that limits where they can be placed.

Many teams of scientists are working on different ways to make solar cells more flexible in the hopes of taking better advantage of energy from the sun.

The tiny cells from Jiang's lab are made from an organic polymer that has the same electrical properties of silicon wafers but can be dissolved and applied to flexible materials.

"The main components are carbon and hydrogen -- materials that are present in nature and are environmentally friendly," Jiang said.

In research published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Jiang and colleagues showed an array of 20 of these cells could generate 7.8 volts of electricity, about half the power needed to run a microscopic sensor for detecting dangerous chemicals and toxins.

Her team is now refining the manufacturing process with the hope of doubling that output to 15 volts. "It's a matter of months," Jiang said.

Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 02:21AM by Registered CommenterThe BPRC Research Nerd | Comments Off

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