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2/2/09 R is for Research, References and Readability: A closer look at the Town of Union Large Wind Ordinance.

R is for Research, References and Readability: Part Two

A look into a well-constructed Large Wind Ordinance

Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin 2008  Photo by Jim Bembinster

PART TWO: Findings

(This is the second part of our series about the content of the Town of Union Large Wind Ordinance. The Town of Union, in Rock County, Wisconsin, adopted this ordinance in November of 2008. Scroll down to read Part One: Recitals)

“Findings” are the results of an investigation, study or inquiry such as the one undertaken by the Town of Union study committee. The findings section of the ordinance begins on page 4 and falls into three categories:

(Download the entire Town of Union Large Wind Ordinance by clicking here)

 -General findings

-Findings regarding noise

-Findings regarding setbacks.

Home surrounded by transmission lines, industrial wind turbine in background.

General Findings:

A) Wind energy is a potential renewable and nonpolluting energy resource and its conversion to electricity may reduce dependence on nonrenewable energy sources and decrease resulting pollution. However, wind energy facilities should sited in a way that protects the health and safety needs of residents residing near large wind turbines as well as the general public.

B) Regulation of the siting and installation of large wind turbines is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Town of Union and the general public.

C) Adverse health and safety issues are likely to arise if appropriate standards and setbacks are not followed in the siting and installation of large wind turbines.

D) It’s appropriate to consider relevant recommended standards from international organizations that have more experience with the use, siting and installation large wind turbines than the U.S.

Germany, September 2008

January 9, 2009, Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin. These blades are about 130 feet long, so in this photo we are looking at about 30 feet worth of snow and ice build-up on an operating turbine with a tip speed of between 90 and 175 miles an hour. It appears part of it has already broken off. This turbine is sited less than 1600 feet from a home.

E) Wind turbine accidents have occurred involving ice throw, blade disintegration, fire and tower failure.

F) If improperly sited, wind energy systems can produce electro-magnetic radiation that can interfere with broadcast communication and signals—such as TV and radio reception.

G) Heavy equipment used for the construction of large wind turbines can damage local roads.

Turbine construction Phase, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, 2008

TOMORROW: Findings about noise

Part One: Recitals

The Town of Union’s Large wind ordinance is not only solid, well researched, and defensible—it’s also constructed in a way that is surprisingly readable.

In the next few days, we'll be taking a look inside of the ordinance which many consider to be the best in the state.

(Download the entire ordinance by clicking here)


The ordinance begins with the recitals.

Recitals are an account of the steps the town of Union took in order to create its large ordinance, such as:

A) Adopting a moratorium or temporary stay on the construction of large wind energy systems to give the Town time to research and develop an appropriate ordinance

B) Appointing a study committee to research wind energy systems and make a written recommendation to the Plan commission on regulations to adopt.

C) Holding 14 public study committee meetings to research health and safety effects of large wind turbines.

D) Preparing and submitting Study Committee set-back recommendation report and a draft ordinance reviewed by the Town attorney.

E) Addressing comments from the Town attorney, submitting a revised draft ordinance, and holding public hearings on the revised draft ordinance.

F) Holding six Plan Commission working meetings in addition to time devoted to this issue at regular Plan Commission meetings to develop a final draft ordinance

G) Plan Commission recommending the Town Board to adopt the ordinance and the Town Board's adoption of the ordinance.

(Click here to download a detailed step by step account of what it took to create and adopt the Town of Union Large Wind Ordinance)

The recital also lists 35 of the many reports, studies, research projects and documents relating to health and safety used by the Study Committee.

They include:

Wind Energy Noise Impacts: Acoustic Ecology Institute, AEI Special Report:

Click here download entire AEI Special Report:

Click here to download fact sheet summary of AEI Special Report

Click here to visit the AEI website.

A Primer for Addressing Wind Turbine Noise", Alberts, Daniel: Lawrence Technological University, November 20, 2005

Click here to download "A Primer for Addressing Wind Turbine Noise."

Click here to visit Daniel Albert's website

"In-home Wind Turbine Noise is Conducive to Vibroacoustic Disease", Alves-Pereira, Mariana and Branco, Nuno A.A. Castelo. Wind Turbine Noise Conference, September 20, 2007. Click here to read an summary of this report.

Click here to read about the September 2007 Wind Turbine Noise Conference

"Communicating the Noise Effects of Wind farms to Stakeholders" Bajdek, Christopher,, a paper presented at Noise-Con 2007, October 22-24, 2007

Click here to download this report

Click here to read more about Noise-Con 2007

"Guidelines for Community Noise", Berglund B., Lindvall T., and Schwela D.:World Health Organization 1999,Click here to read these guidelines

"The Repercussions of Wind turbine Operation on Human Health"French National Academy of Medicine: , March 14, 2006. Click here to download report.

"Noise Radiation from Wind turbines Installed Near Homes: Effects on Health", Frey, Barbara J. and Hadden, Peter J.,February 2007. (Click here to download report)

"Wind Turbines, Flicker, and Photosensitive Epilepsy: Characterizing the Flashing that may Precipitate Seizures and Optimizing Guidelines to Prevent Them" Harding, Graham, et al. 2008 (Click here to download report)

"Wind Turbines, Noise and Health", Harry, Amanda, MD. February 2007. (Click here to download report)

Testimony of Richard James, noise control consultant and acoustical consultant, Tazewell County Illinois Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing, May 1,2008. (Click here to download)

"Simple Guidelines for Siting Wind turbines to Prevent Health Risks" Kamperman, George and James, Richard, Noise-Con 2008, August 2, 2008. (Click here to download)

"The How-To Guide to Criteria For Siting Wind turbines to Prevent Health Risks From Sound" Kamperman, George and James, Richard, , July 30, 2008. (Click here to download)

"A Review of Published Research on Low Frequency Noise and its Effects", Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK (2003). (Find document by clicking here)

Wind Turbine Ice Throw: Matilsky, Terry, Rutgers University, 2008 (click here to read report)

"Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects", National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, 2007. (download summary by clicking here)

Learn more about this report by clicking here

Wind Turbine Noise Log: Daily Dairy of a Family Living Next to Wind Turbines, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Meyer, Gerry, 2008-09 (Click here to download)

"Visual and Acoustic Impact of Wind Turbine Farms on Residents, Final Report",Pedersen, E., et a1., June 3, 2008. (Click here to download)

"Wind Turbine Noise, Annoyance and Self- Reported Health and Well-being in Different Living Environments" Pedersen, Eja and Person Waye, Kerstin. Occupational and Environmental Medicine (click here to read the summary)

"Human Response to Wind Turbine Noise Perception, Annoyance and Moderating Factors", Goteburg University, Pedersen, Eja, 2007 (Click here to read the summary)

"Noise Annoyance from Wind Turbines - a Review", Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Report Pedersen, Eja, et al., August 2003. (Click here to download)

"Health Effects of Wind Turbine Noise", Pierpont, Nina, MD, PhD, 2006 (click here to download)

"Wind Turbine Syndrome: Noise, Shadow Flicker and Health", Pierpont, Nina MD, PhD, 2006. (click here to read)

"Wind Turbine Acoustic Noise White Paper", Rogers, Anthony L., PhD., et al., University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Research Lab, June 2002, amended January 2006. (click here to read summary)

"Wind Farm Noise and Regulations in the Eastern US", Soysal, H., 2nd International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, 2007 (click here to download)

State of Wisconsin 2007 DraftModel Wind Ordinance and Reference Guide. (Click here to download)

"Location, Location, Location - An Investigation into Wind Farms and Noise by the Noise Association", Stewart, John, UK Noise Association, June 2006 (Click here to download summary)(Click here to download entire document)

Town of Union Large Wind Turbine Study Committee Setback Recommendation Report, January 6, 2008. (Click here to download entire document)

"Effects of the wind profile at night on wind turbine sound" Van den Berg, G.P., , Joumal
of Sound and Vibration Volume 277 (2004).
(click here to download)

World Health Organization Technical Meeting on Sleep and Health, Bonn Germany, 22- 24 January 2004. (click here to download)

NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Tomorrow we will feature the Findings section of the town of Union ordinance.

Posted on Monday, February 2, 2009 at 11:09AM by Registered CommenterThe BPRC Research Nerd | Comments Off

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