12/9/11 When it comes to wind turbines, free wheeling means start running: Wind company workers must evacuate area at winds of 55mph, but what about residents who live there? AND Farming community fights wind developer AND Waking up to turbine noise
A £2 million, 100 metre tall wind turbine catches fire in hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland. The wind turbine was spinning so fast it caught fire. The engine of the giant turbine went up in flames and its blades were blackened by smoke. The turbine was one of 15 set up on hills overlooking the Scottish coast, built to supply green electricity to 20,000 homes.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of a wind turbine blaze during Thursday's hurricane-force storm.
By Mike Farrell,
December 9, 2011
As a standard precautionary measure, all Infinis staff vacate wind farms when wind speeds exceed 55 mph and therefore no one was present on site at the time of the incident.
The turbine in North Ayrshire burst into flames during the storms on Thursday afternoon.
Material from the 328ft turbine broke off during the spectacular fire, which started after the wind farm had been turned off by owners Infinis as wind speeds of more than 55mph had been recorded.
The company, which bought the 30mw farm for £53.8m from Scottish and Southern Energy in 2010, said it was trying to establish the cause of the blaze that broke out at around 3.40pm.
Infinis confirmed the nacelle, which is the white cover housing the generator and gear box of the turbine, caught fire.
A spokesman added: "Infinis confirms that a nacelle on a turbine at its Ardrossan wind farm, in Ayrshire, caught fire this afternoon in extreme stormy weather conditions.
"The fire had extinguished itself before the fire services arrived and did not result in personal injury. As a standard precautionary measure, all Infinis staff vacate wind farms when wind speeds exceed 55 mph and therefore no one was present on site at the time of the incident.
"The local distribution network operator, Scottish Power, was immediately notified of the incident and the site has been disconnected from the electricity network as a precautionary measure. The cause of the fire is not yet known and Infinis has taken immediate steps to investigate the incident fully."
The storm on Thursday caused devastation across Scotland, blocking roads, closing schools and flooding areas as winds of up to 165mph were recorded.
Ardrossan resident Stuart McMahon captured the fire in photos. He said: "I didn’t hear any explosion or anything, but my wife shouted for me to come down and see the fire.
"There are around 13 or 15 wind turbines in the farm above Ardrossan. They were all off today because of the high winds, so something has obviously shorted out and gone on fire.
"The fire was out quickly, but some debris fell from it and drifted quite a distance in the winds. The fire brigade are there, but the turbine was turning in the wind for a while after the fire."
Another resident, Tom Young, caught the blaze on video. He said: "Loads of fire engines and police were called out, but the fire was out pretty quickly.
"It was quite spectacular to say the least."
FARMING COMMUNITY AGAINST WIND FARM
By Rachel Martin,
SOURCE Indiana’s NewsCenter, www.indianasnewscenter.com
December 8, 2011
The Wells County Plan Commission and Apex Wind Energy held another public meeting Thursday night to give answers and hear more public feedback about the proposed wind farm in southern Wells Co.
The wind was blowing strong in Wells County Thursday night, but not the way the Plan Commission and Apex Wind Energy officials had hoped. The Wells County Plan Commission was supposed to vote on the proposed wind farm project in Chester and Liberty townships, but community members were not allowing it.
A little over a dozen people raised their hands when asked who was in favor of the wind farm. Otherwise, almost all of the approximately 100 people that crowded the Southern Wells High School cafeteria were greatly opposed to the idea.
The community’s main concerns are noise, health risks, and decreasing property values. Residents are worried the hum of the spinning turbines will cause “wind turbine syndrome,” a constant ringing in the ears, and keep them up at night. Apex officials say the turbines would create between 50 and 90 decibels of noise, which is equivalent to the hum of a refrigerator.
A few residents shared their concerns with Indiana’s NewsCenter regarding, “strobe effect,” where light flickers off of the turbine blades. They say shadow flickering could cause seizures and epilepsy. Tim Stepp will have a wind turbine built 1000 ft. from his front door. He also has a relative who suffers from seizures that he and his wife care for. He says the shadow flickering, could exacerbate the problem.
“We are in one of the most intense areas of the entire plan. If this were to happen, my sister-in-law would not be able to stay in our residence. She would then have to relocate and since we are her care givers, we also would have to relocate,” Stepp said.
The biggest issue among residents is the decrease in property values from the wind farm. Residents say they would feel trapped because no one would buy a home close to a wind farm. Allison Alma and her husband just purchased property in Liberty Township to build a home. She said she just found out a 490 ft. wind turbine will be built in her future back yard.
“I paid for all the permits and nobody ever said anything to me about it. My house is probably going to be done in about two months and now I’m sitting there thinking, ‘what am I going to do?’ If I would’ve known, I would’ve never purchased this property,” Alma said.
Alma said her sister happened to be in the Plan Commission’s office one day and noticed a map marking the locations of the turbines. Alma says she tried contacting the Governor and has made numerous other calls trying to figure out her rights to fighting Apex. Alma says if the project is approved, “I’ll probably cry,” she said. “And then I’ll pick up the pieces and maybe we’ll start fighting.”
Both Alma and Stepp say they have not been contacted by anyone from Apex concerning compensation for the wind turbines on their properties.
Nick Huffman is one resident who is in favor of the wind farm project. He says the wind farm will boost the county’s economy. He says Southern Wells High School will receive between $600K and $900K toward Capital Funds Projects, and fire departments in Chester, Liberty, and Nottingham Townships will receive between $8-$20K. He says the wind farms will create more jobs and gain recognition for Wells Co.
“We don’t have anything in Wells Co. to show for. With this, it’s going to get us on the map a little better,” Huffman said.
Apex handed out a packet of questions and answers at the meeting. The packet confirms Huffman’s statements and also addressed the issues of noise, health, and depreciating properties. Apex and the County Plan Commission conducted a study of realtors and appraisers from Benton and White counties in northwestern Indiana where other wind farms are located. Their study shows property values did not go down in those areas, and homes were selling for market price.
Apex and the Plan Commission officials say approximately 200 people have leased their properties for wind turbines in Wells Co. so far. If the project gets approved, construction will begin in the Spring of 2012.
From West Virginia
KEYSER HOMEOWNERS DISTURBED BY TURBINE NOISE
December 8 2011
KEYSER, WV - Green Mountain in Keyser has been known a peaceful and idyllic place to live, but in the past month, residents say all that's changed because of 23 new wind turbines that they say are piercing the silence.
"The noise, it sounds like a subway in our yard," says resident William Shillingberg.
"A jet flying around, or a train coming through," says another resident, Donald Ashby.
"It's like someone is setting out front of your house with the base turned up real loud on their vehicle," says homeowner Gary Braithwaite.
They say the culprit is 23 new wind turbines. Pinnacle Wind Farm went into operation on November 4th. Since then, residents say it has disrupted their peace and quiet.
"I have woken up several nights from the windmills," says Ashby.
Residents say the turbines produce a loud, steady noise that's anything but peaceful.
"It's not every day, but it seems like to me in my house, it's every night," says Braithwaite.
Now they're asking Edison Mission Energy to keep them off at night. The U.S. Wind Force says the sound measured no higher than 56 decibels at the nearest residences. However, at the closest home, it could be heard through the wind, which was measuring at levels above 70 decibels.
Ashby was on the advisory committee for the wind farm.
"Everybody's looking for jobs in our area, so I was in support of it at the beginning," he says.
Many homeowners on Green Mountain are now petitioning Edison Mission. The U.S. Wind Force says none of the energy generated by the wind turbines is going to West Virginia. It's all been purchased by the University of Maryland, and the Maryland Department of General Services.