Today's interview is with a registered nurse who talks about what it's been like to live in the Invenergy Wind Farm near the town of Byron in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin where she can see over 20 turbines from her home. The turbines went on line in March of 2008. For those whose internet connection isn't fast enough to watch this video, we've provided a transcript below.
Interview conducted near town of Byron, Fond du Lac County, WI
April of 2008
I don't call it a common sound. It's something you're very aware of and it shouldn't be there and what distresses me about it is you can't get away from it.
I've had somebody say to me, well, there's a lot of sounds [you can't get away from]-- trains-- I can hear the train when it goes through in Byron, -- airplanes-- what ever. But that comes and goes. It goes away. But this is something you cannot get away from and after awhile you have to really work on getting your head set so that it's you know,--OK I've got to live with this, it's there, it's not just going to go away-- and it doesn't go away. And it's very distressing at times.
Q: I wanted to ask you a question about hte effects on the local community. When you talk to your neighbors in the area what's the general consensus or the thoughts of the people in this area since this project has come into this area?
Well, I haven't talked to a lot people to be very honest, but the people that I have talked to who are having problems with the sound or the lights are very distressed about it and I do know of people who have put up their houses for sale, and I'm thinking along those lines myself. I'm very concerned.
This was my retirement and I'm not sure what I can get for this property now. I'm sitting back here with turbines on three sides of my house, noise, lights all over , and on the one side where I don't have a turbine I have the weather tower, which has a very piercing white light that I have that is very easily seen through my sliding door and my deck and no where here can I get away from it--- any side of my house-- any part. I don't honestly know. I haven't really looked into putting the house up for sale yet but I am very concerned and I have heard from people that are in the town that it's very possible you'd have to look at $50,000 less for what you could get for your home.
I always find this kind of comical in a way, [the wind developers] say "Your place doesn't depreciate. It's not worth less." Well, no, it's not worth less, it's can you get what it's worth? And they will always come back at you--that's what I have had that happen to me, you know-- [they say] It's not going to be worth less' and after I thought about it I thought, no it isn't worth less, it's just can you get what it is worth? And probably not. People will use that to get the price down.
Q: How many turbines can you see from your property?
Over twenty. Out my west bedroom window at night I see at least -- over the line of my trees-- 15 blinking red lights-- because I've counted them-- it's like a show back there. I quickly put the blind down, I don't like looking out there anymore.
Q : I want to ask you a couple of questions about the local economy and jobs. What kind of benefits does this type of project bring to the community, and one of the things the states are talking about is that they are going to create jobs. Do you know anything about what kind of benefits as far as jobs go that this will bring to your community?
Honestly I don't. All I know is that the people that put them up were from a lot of different states. One of my family members lived in a condo and [the workers] lived up above them, they're gone now. All the ones that were in the apartment complex where my family member lives all had Utah license plates. So, not from really around here as far as construction, not that I know of. I don't really know, I don't know how much there really is to do now.
Q: Maintenance issues, maybe?
Can I just go back-- you had asked me about the neighborhood-- I will tell you what I think is the saddest part of this whole thing. I know of families that are broken up because of this, I know of neighbors that are broken up because of this--- this community is in two camps right now and I don't know how this will ever get resolved that people will again live-- unfortunately I am in that position too, and I feel awful to think that at my age that I have these issues with people, that I don't feel that I've ever had anything like this before, and I've had them at my door, telling me that I should just be happy and be quiet, and I'm going to benefit, and if I don't do this we're going to have black outs like in California--- I've had it all said to me and I've just chosen to be-- I'm not arguing with anybody because it doesn't work. But I do know of many situations.
I'm no guru on numbers, from everything I've read-- they are not efficient, they are not worth the tax dollars that we are going to stick into them, and we are going to pay. My only comment is, if [these things are true] then I am very much against it. If I am in the wrong on this subject, then I would say-- I would hope that other town boards would look at this and not impact other homes and residents. Put them like they do in Iowa, out in these places, you don't see a home anywhere near, and they do have many turbines, but they do not have any homes anywhere near them.
Q: Would you say that the major issue in a development like this is that the wind turbines are placed too close to residences?