4/24/11 POLL SAYS: As long as they are two to ten miles away from our house, bring on the turbines! Wisconsin residents living 1000 feet from wind turbines are saying something else.
TWO ACOUSTICIANS EXPERIENCE HEALTH PROBLEMS FROM IWT
April 23 2011
I’m writing to let you know that we both experienced adverse medical effects in the vicinity of the turbine under survey (one industrial wind turbine) under strong wind conditions aloft. Nausea, loss of appetite, vertigo, dizziness, inability to concentrate, an overwhelming desire to get outside, and anxiety.
The distance was approximately 1700 feet.
We obtained relief, repeatedly, by going several miles away.
I will be looking very carefully at the data and recordings acquired at this site to correlate with the experience. Short story is—and I reserve the right to revise any comments here as I learn more—it matches the Pedersen Waye 2004 curve, where the annoyance ramps up quickly above 32 dBA.
That curve hides the real story, however. The A-weighted level doesn’t track the experience at all. I know! Steve and I sat for hours on Monday, comparing what we were feeling and what our meters were displaying. The dBA doesn’t work at all. So we have a complete disconnect between medical impact and regulatory framework.
Don’t count on dBC either.
I think that this impact could be related to how the ear is pumped by the repetitive pressure in a quiet rural background, or indoors. In Hull, Massachusetts, the background is high (Ldn60) and the two industrial turbines there don’t raise appeals to stop the noise, or even any complaints to speak of, at the same or closer distances than I was at this last week.
I hypothesize that if the ear is working at a low background level, different things happen in the auditory and vestibular system than when the ear is working at higher sound levels. (Wish I had more training in neurobiology!)
Many have been affected by wind turbine noise here in Maine and elsewhere, and we have listened to a number tell of their symptoms and problems with wind turbines. We have determined the potential for community noise impact of wind turbines in rural areas and published our findings.
However, the symptoms we experienced on this trip were unexpected for us. We have been surveying other wind turbine sites over the last 15 months and have not experienced these effects. (We each have over thirty years of experience in general and industrial acoustics, and have evaluated just about every kind of noise source—and noise level—imaginable.) I repeat, this is the first time I have experienced these symptoms simply by being near a noise source.
However, I see this as a gift. We are experienced acousticians who work from the neighbor’s perspective. Now we know personally, viscerally, what people have been telling us! We must now include ourselves in the percentage of the population that can experience significant and debilitating adverse health effects from the acoustic energy emitted by wind turbines.
Large industrial wind turbines must be considered seriously as capable of creating an adverse health effect within a certain distance with a dose-response or threshold relationship that varies with the individual.
WISCONSIN LOVES WIND POWER, BUT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS?
Source: Midwest Energy News
April 24, 2010
By Ken Paulman
A survey released today by Wisconsin Public Radio shows an overwhelming majority in the state supports wind power, but they may be confused about what it actually accomplishes.
The survey covers a wide range of hot-button state issues, but several questions specifically addressed wind power.
The headline statistic is that 77 percent of those polled said they want more wind power in the state, followed by hydroelectric, biomass, natural gas, and nuclear. Only 19 percent said they wanted more coal power.
However, of those who said they wanted more wind power, 83 percent said it will decrease U.S. reliance on foreign oil. Yes, one can argue, as T. Boone Pickens does, that wind power frees up natural gas for transportation use, but that’s quite a stretch.
To be fair, similar percentages also agreed with statements that wind power would reduce coal use or help the environment. But when asked for the strongest reason to support wind energy, the largest percentage — 38 percent — again said it would reduce consumption of foreign oil.
And just more than half (51 percent) said they’d be willing to pay as much as $5 a month more on their electric bills to “significantly increase” the state’s use of wind energy.
But it’s the siting and land use questions that yield the most interesting results.
When asked, open-ended, to name harmful effects of wind power, 36 percent couldn’t name any. Twenty percent mentioned bird/wildlife issues, and only 12 percent cited noise. Cost, land use, aesthetics, and health hazards only mustered single digits.
The survey ventures into the state’s wind-siting debate, but misframes the question by asking whether people favor state or local control (61 percent said local).
To that end, the survey seems to indicate support for the less restrictive standard — 69 percent said they would favor having 8-10 wind turbines “located close” to their homes. Although, without a sense of what “close” means (100 feet? 2 miles?) it’s hard to gauge what that actually means.
A follow-up question illustrates this. Respondents were asked if they lived close to a wind turbine. Those that said “yes” were asked how far, and the answers varied widely. Only 11 percent said a mile or less (Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed siting standards would essentially require a setback of 1,800 feet) while 64 percent said “close” was a distance of 2 to 10 miles.
So it seems the takeaway is that Wisconsinites favor wind power, but not necessarily in their back yards. Not altogether surprising, really.
While we’re on the subject, another poll in Nebraska conducted by the Center for Rural Affairs also found strong support for wind power as well as a renewable energy standard. But once again, reducing foreign oil imports was cited as a major reason.