Entries in Wind farm (250)

7/17/2012 Taking it to the streets: protestors block truck carrying wind turbine parts

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

From Vermont


Jennifer Hersey Cleveland, Staff Writer 

SOURCE Caledonian Record via Mountain Talk

July 17, 2012

LOWELL — A stand-off between police from seven law enforcement agencies and more than 100 industrial wind protesters ended peaceably when police and organizers came to a compromise Monday afternoon.

The protesters, including members of the Mountain Occupiers and Newark Neighbors United, blocked both lanes of Route 100 for about two hours, preventing a truck hauling a wind tower section from entering the staging site.

They chanted “When our mountains are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” in their opposition to the 21-turbine project being constructed on the Lowell Mountain range by Green Mountain Power.

The protesters stayed on the far side of the road for much of the morning, singing in solidarity and holding placards with messages like “Greed Isn’t Green” and “Big $-wind-le” written on them. Skeletal figures with extended arms turned like wind turbine blades, and organizer Ira Powsner led the chants of “Mountains — yes! Profits — no!” to the beat of Bread and Puppet drummers.

Their message came through organizer Steve Wright of Craftsbury. The project, which is being sold as “green” energy, does nothing to alleviate dependence on foreign oil, he said. “It is the blackest of black energy.”

It will devastate wildlife habitat, and it is not a stable source of power, Wright said.

As the truck hauling a piece of a wind tower approached, protesters started moving into the roadway, blocking the truck’s path.
Before the bulk of the group could get to the front of the truck, Lamoille County Sheriff’s deputy Claude Marcoux had already arrested and handcuffed Ira Powsner and his brother Jacob Powsner of Ira for disorderly conduct by obstruction.

At that point protesters, who formerly had been willing to stand on the sidelines, moved into the roadway – blocking both lanes.

The movement intensified, with people yelling, “Shame on you!” and “Turn it back!” to the pounding of drums.

Essex County Sheriff Trevor Colby arrived and parted the wave of people with his cruiser, but the crowd swallowed up his car just as quickly as he passed by.

Corporal Dan Kerin of the Williston barracks was next on the scene, and quickly began moving the protesters to the sidelines.

Kerin yelled and pushed some people backward, which at first was effective and then elicited stronger opposition, with people moving back into the spaces Kerin had cleared, dancing and waving flags depicting scenes of destruction.

About 40 law enforcement officers from five state police barracks, three sheriff departments, U.S. Border Patrol, Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Motor Vehicles arrived in the moments soon afterward, largely staying on the sidelines until a plan was formulated.

Lieutenant Kirk Cooper, commander of the Derby barracks, quickly entered the crowd of protesters upon his arrival, quelling the shouting and asking people to consider their options.

Cooper told the protesters that he understood why they were there and said they have every right to stand up for what they believe in, but not the right to block traffic.

“I’m not going to fill you full of crap,” Cooper said. He said the protesters had two options: stand on the side of the road or be removed from the road.

“We’re going to be forced to have to remove you. I honestly don’t want to do that,” Cooper said.

One of the protesters said she thought the group would be fine with allowing all other traffic to pass — except that one truck.

The situation had come to an impasse, and worried looks started sprouting on people’s faces.

Officers, including one holding the leash of a large German shepherd, were all in possession of plastic hand restraints and appeared prepared to quell the uprising.

That’s when Don Nelson’s voice hushed all other sound. “We’ve made our point,” Nelson, who is in a civil court dispute with GMP over land rights in the project, said.

Some protesters were nodding in agreement, while others were shaking their heads and saying things that indicated they were not willing to back down.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux and Cooper spoke with Nelson and organizers Pat O’Neill of Westfield and Wright, in a tight-knit huddle.

Nelson, Wright and O’Neill asked the officers to give them a chance to convince the crowd to move to the side, but only if the Powsner brothers were released.

The trio spoke with Will Young, who turned and commended the protesters for making their point.

“We have done our job here!” Young said. “We have shown that this is a corrupt, evil system that destroys our ridgelines.”

The industrial wind opposition has to use its resources wisely, Young said, and putting fine money in the hands of the state is not putting money to good use, he said.

O’Neill said the Powsner brothers would still be cited for disorderly conduct but would not be taken into custody after Sheriff Marcoux said he had no authority to un-arrest people and that the state’s attorney’s office would decide whether or not charges would be brought in court.

With the protesters largely in agreement, and slowly moving back from the truck, O’Neill shouted, “But this truck doesn’t move until Ira joins us!”

Wright held the fort in front of the truck, waving a large Vermont flag, until police released the Powsner brothers.

Shouting, “Governor Shumlin, do you hear us now?” the crowd slowly moved aside and allowed the truck to move into the driveway of the wind project.

GMP spokesperson Dorothy Schnure said, after all was calm, “It’s unfortunate that the people who oppose the project blocked traffic… It’s unfortunate for locals to be held up for two hours.”

But she said despite the delay Monday, construction was still on target for completion by the end of the year.

Schnure said that 75 percent of Lowell voters approve of the project that she says will provide power to 24,000 homes and that the Public Service Board found to be good.

The protesters regrouped and Wright delivered closing comments.

“We’re on a track now to stop that kind of crap,” he said. The next step is creating a statewide organization to address industrial wind.

He reminded the crowd that the Public Service Board will hold a public meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Newark Street School regarding the proposed 30-turbine project there.

“We all have an interest in this,” Wright said. “This was a big win.”

7/13/12 Big Wind VS The Little Guy: Will the Saint Croix HHS Step In?


 Jeff Holmquist

SOURCE: Pierce County Herald www.piercecountyherald.com

July 12, 2012 

The St. Croix Health and Human Services Board will look into health concerns raised by residents of the Town of Forest related to a proposed wind farm in that community.

For the second time in several months, a group of Forest Township residents filled the board room at the Health and Human Services building in New Richmond, Wis. to ask for help.

The HHS Board had previously agreed to send a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services asking for additional study of the possible health impacts of wind energy projects.

Opponents of the Highland Wind Farm project in Forest Township, proposed by Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC, say that people living near existing wind farms have suffered varying health impacts ranging from headaches, sleep deprivation and hearing loss.

In a response from Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Kitty Rhoades, the state is relying on three previous studies on wind farms. All of those studies indicate that the impact on a person’s health is non-existent if proper setbacks are followed, Rhoades wrote.

Wendy Kramer, public health officer for St. Croix County, admitted there is a great deal of controversy related to the health impact of wind turbines near homes.

Forest resident Brenda Salseg said state rules require a minimum 1,250-foot setback from existing homes. At least one industry recommendation calls for a minimum of a 1,640-foot setback from homes, she reported.

If the 41 Forest turbines are allowed to be constructed, Salseg said, it’s likely that some residents will have turbines too close to their home and their family’s health will be in jeopardy.

“This is serious stuff,” she said. “This could become a health emergency in St. Croix County.”

Salseg said she also expects more wind farm proposals in the future, which will have an impact on other parts of the county.

HHS Board Chairman Fred Horne said he will distribute the information that Forest residents are circulating concerning possible health effects and the board will discuss any future action at its meeting in August.

If the group chooses, Horne said, county officials could present testimony about health concerns as part of the upcoming Public Utilities Commission hearings in October.

The Wisconsin PUC will make the final determination about whether the Highland Wind farm will move forward. The Forest project is greater than 100 kilowatts in size, making the state agency the one with final say in the matter.

The Highland project was smaller than 100 kilowatts when it was first proposed, but local opponents worked hard to recall Forest Town Board members who were supportive of the project. The new town board eventually rescinded the required approvals, but then developers increased the size of the project to bypass the local approval process.

7/10/12 If she was your daughter, what would you do? If it was your home, what would you do?

WBAY-TV Green Bay-Fox Cities-Northeast Wisconsin News



Written by Hannah O’Brien 

Source: Gannett Wisconsin Media  www.postcrescent.com

July 8, 2012

The Ashleys say their daughter Alyssa’s health problems are related to the Shirley Wind Project wind turbines that were built near their home in late 2010, and the only way to stop the headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation was to move away from turbines.

MORRISON — Sue and Darryl Ashley moved their family out of their Glenmore home last summer and are now working to pay mortgages on two houses so their 16-year-old daughter can find relief from constant headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation.

The Ashleys say their daughter Alyssa’s health problems are related to the Shirley Wind Project wind turbines that were built near their home in late 2010, and the only way to stop the headaches, ear pain and sleep deprivation was to move away from turbines.

“After staying away from my home for a week and a half, my symptoms started to subside,” Alyssa said, adding that the health problems caused her to struggle with school work. “I could sleep again and my headaches were lessening. The longer I was away, the better I felt.”

Because of health problems experienced by families like the Ashleys, state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, is pressuring the Public Service Commission to change its rules for the construction of wind turbines.

“This really is about our government not protecting our citizens,” Lasee said Sunday during a news conference at Way-Morr County Park in Morrison, about five miles from wind turbines in Glenmore.

Lasee on Wednesday will present multiple published reports that cite the dangers of wind turbines to each of the members of the Public Service Commission, which is responsible for regulating the rates and safety of electric, natural gas and water utilities. He hopes the commission will suspend the current rules for wind turbines, and that a new commission will be created to write new rules.

The Public Service Commission could not be reached Sunday for comment.

The commission’s Wind Siting Council in 2010 released rules for wind turbines and said there was insufficient proof of negative health effects from wind turbines to support stricter rules.

“The council has concluded that the scientific evidence does not support a conclusion that wind turbines cause adverse health outcomes,” according to the council’s final recommendations to the Public Service Commission, which were released in August 2010.

Dr. Herb Coussons, who also spoke during Sunday’s news conference, said health effects of the audible noise from wind turbines can include sleep deprivation, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease. Wind turbines also can be responsible for stray voltage and groundwater contamination, he said.

“The wind mill is on and off, on and off, on and off and unrelenting,” he said. “The solution though is very, very simple. Puth them where there aren’t people.”

Lasee hopes new rules will be implemented to prevent wind turbines from being built within a mile of residents’ homes, and that property owners’ consent must be given before turbines can be built nearby. The current rules state wind turbines must be 850 feet away from homes, Lasee said.

“I think they’re too close to people’s homes,” Lasee said, adding that Brown County is too densely populated for wind turbines.

“The Ashleys are not the only family who moved out of their homes,” he said.

The Ashleys last year bought a second home, but still have to pay a mortgage on their Glenmore home, “a house that we can’t live in,” Alyssa said.

While the Ashley’s’ new home helps keep Alyssa’s symptoms at bay, moving away has not cured her health problems, she said.

“Last week, when I traveled to Tennessee for a youth rally, the bus drove through large wind farms and I immediately experienced ear pressure and eventually pain, even though I hadn’t been exposed to turbines in months,” she said, adding that she wondered “if this damage and sensitivity would ever leave.”



By Deandra Corinthios 

Source: WGBA-TV /NBC26 / www.nbc26.com

July 8 2012

GLENMORE, WI –A battle over the effects of wind energy are blowing into Brown County again. Several families who live near the turbines believe it is causing them health problems.

State Senator Fank lasee says he’s taking their concerns to the capitol. Senator Lasee wants the rules for wind turbine placement changed, he wants the turbines farther away from people’s homes.

Several families in the Glenmore-Shirley area say they have been forced to abandon their homes to keep their families safe.

Darrel Cappelle uprooted his wife and two young children from their home a year and a half ago after he says wind turbines made them sick.

“We’re about 7 miles way from the turbines now and within a week sleep patterns returned, my wife is feeling much better my son seems to be doing better,” said Cappelle.

Cappelle says the humming and flicker shadow of the turbines kept them up at night, gave his wife anxiety attacks and their kids suffered from ear infections.

“With the refrigerator running or washing machine going you could just hear this constant buzzing,” said Sarah Cappelle.

Senator Frank Lasee will present a stack of reports on the negative impacts of wind turbines to the agency that oversees wind energy in Wisconsin, the Public Service Commission.

Governor Scott Walker proposed a 1,850 foot set-back but Senator Lasee says that’s not enough. He wants the turbines at least a mile away from homes.

“It is my hope the PSC will look favorably upon my request to suspend the current rules, so that the projects being proposed will not move forward, and reconvene a new wind siting council that will give us better setback rules,” said Lasee.

The issue was brought to a vote back in May but the senator was one vote short of getting the rules changed. He hopes this time will be different for the sake of families like the Cappelles.

“Our hope is that eventually we can move back home,” said Darrel Cappelle.

NBC26 tried calling Duke Energy, the company that owns the Shirley windpower project about Senator Lasee’s plans but they haven’t returned our calls yet. The Senator will be making his case to the PSC on Wednesday.

5/28/2012 One Turbine = So Much Misery


by Jon Chesto | blogs.wickedlocal.com 26 May 2012 ~~

The white windmill stands silent over Route 28, a nearly 400-foot tall sentry looming over the main drag into town. The turbine, along with its newer partner, will be seen by thousands of people this summer as they trek to Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard. And few, if any, will know that this windmill is cursed.

Maybe there isn’t a supernatural reason. But how else can you explain all of the windmill’s misadventures?

It’s safe to say Falmouth officials didn’t factor on any curse before deciding to buy the turbine in 2009. And it’s also safe to say that they didn’t predict that Wind 1, as it’s known now, would put their town in the center of a statewide debate over where these kinds of windmills should be located. The problems that have ensued since Wind 1 started spinning in 2010 will certainly weigh on state environmental regulators as they consider whether to adopt new turbine rules.

Wind 1’s cursed history dates all the way back to December 2005, when the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative ordered the Vestas-manufactured turbine and one other for $5.2 million. The purpose was to expedite a municipal wind project in Orleans, with the help of funds collected from Massachusetts ratepayers. The Orleans project eventually fell through in 2007, and the turbines were then slotted for delivery to Fairhaven. But that Fairhaven project didn’t come to fruition, either – at least not with those two Vestas turbines.

And so MTC, whose renewable energy responsibilities are currently handled by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, faced a dilemma. The agency was blowing through thousands of dollars a month in storage fees for the windmill parts, stored separately in Texas and Canada.

MTC was having problems finding a buyer – or at least a buyer with a location that could be endorsed by the turbines’ manufacturer. Vestas ruled out possible sites in Princeton and Gloucester. The agency considered looking for out-of-state buyers in 2009, even though Massachusetts ratepayers were paying the bills.

MTC didn’t need to take that extreme step. Falmouth acquired Wind 1, installing it next to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The other Vestas turbine ended up in a nearby industrial park, to be run by Notus Clean Energy LLC. A MassCEC spokeswoman says about $146,000 was spent to warehouse the Wind 1 components for three years.

The bad news should have ended there. But that’s not the way curses work. Almost immediately, neighbors of Wind 1 started reporting symptoms such as tinnitus and sleeplessness. They said they expected a much smaller, less powerful turbine than the 1.65-megawatt beast erected by the town. And they began complaining – loudly.

At first, their complaints were primarily limited to Falmouth’s borders. At one point last spring, in an effort to broker a peace, Falmouth officials agreed to turn Wind 1 off during days with high winds. This was a nice gesture, but it almost defeated the purpose of owning one of these windmills. It would be like agreeing to unplug solar panels on sunny days.

The complaints attracted more attention after a state-appointed task force assembled to study wind turbines’ health impacts released its report in January. The report largely exonerated wind turbines of their sins, but there was an admission that noise from these turbines could cause sleep disruption. The Department of Environmental Protection received hundreds of comments from the public about the report. Of those, DEP spokesman Ed Coletta says, Falmouth was the only significant source of local complaints.

While all this was going on, Falmouth finally got Wind 2, a newer turbine at the wastewater plant, plugged in and spinning. That unsurprisingly rankled Wind 1’s opponents, and prompted even more complaints.

The DEP conducted some nighttime sound tests in March on neighboring properties, and found that the sound from Wind 1 surpassed state limits. Town officials agreed to turn off Wind 1 at night, but then this month decided to take it offline completely until mid-June for more sound tests.

The controversy hasn’t shown any sign of dying. Dozens of residents packed a town meeting room in Falmouth on Thursday night, many of them airing their complaints about the turbines for yet another time.

Coletta says the DEP hasn’t finalized what to do with the task force report. The agency is deciding whether to put new regulations in place, he says, and the numerous concerns raised about Wind 1 in Falmouth will certainly play a role in the outcome.

The public comment period for the report ended before turbines in Kingston and Fairhaven went online this spring, turbines that have also caused concerns among neighbors, Coletta says.

Sue Reid, the Conservation Law Foundation’s Massachusetts director, likes to point to the success stories. Nearly all of the 50-plus utility-grade turbines that have gone up in recent years don’t generate many complaints, she says. And she says supporters outnumbered critics 2-1 in a hearing in Hyannis the other night on the controversial offshore Cape Wind project, which seeks state approval to buy power from NStar. Reid says the backlash from Wind 1 and a few others could put the fate of future turbine projects at risk, projects that would help reduce our need for fossil fuels to keep the lights on.

Wind 1 might seem like it’s just a curse that Falmouth has to bear alone. In reality, though, the fate of that tall, white windmill underscores a broader problem that needs to be addressed – a problem that affects all of us.

5/28/2012 Getting it RIGHT down under: longer setbacks recommended by government health agency

From Australia


By Graham Lloyd, Environment editor,

SOURCE: The Australian | www.theaustralian.com.au

May 28, 2012 

A “growing body of evidence” that wind farm noise could have health effects has prompted Queensland Health to call for caution when approving wind farm developments.

Queensland Health has in effect become the first government health agency to recommend that wind turbines not be built within 2km of homes. In a letter to Tablelands Regional Council, Queensland Health’s director of environmental health, David Sellars, recommended a “precautionary approach” be taken to approval of the proposed $500 million Mount Emerald wind farm near Walkamin on the Atherton Tablelands.

The Mount Emerald application is for up to 80 wind turbine towers, nine of which are within 2km of houses.

Tablelands horticulturalist Steve Lavis said he would like a moratorium on wind farm projects until all noise and health issues had been worked out. Reported symptoms of so-called “wind turbine syndrome” include sleep disturbance, high blood pressure, headaches, tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, a rapid heart rate and panic attacks.

The Queensland Health letter was in response to a request for information from then Tablelands Regional Council deputy mayor Chris Adams.

Mr Sellers said the council had been advised that the Mount Emerald wind farm would meet all noise-level goals.

“Despite the aforementioned findings,” he said, “Queensland Health recommended wind-farm planning applications be carefully considered, given there is a growing body of evidence to suggest there may be adverse health effects associated with the noise generated by wind farms.

“Research into the potential health effects of wind turbines is ongoing and is being undertaken on an international scale.”

Mr Sellars said the National Health and Medical Research Council was reviewing its position on the possible health effects of wind turbines and was aiming to release a public statement by the end of the year.

“Queensland Health would be likely to be guided by the NHMRC statement, resulting from this research,” he said.

“Until such time, Tablelands Regional Council is encouraged to take a precautionary approach to development applications of this type.”

Mr Sellars said the Victorian government’s new planning guidelines, which ban wind turbines within 2km of an existing home, might be considered to be current best practice.

A spokeswoman for the Tablelands council said the Queensland Health advice in wind farms would be considered by planning officers but the council would make no comment.

Mr Adams, who did not stand for re-election at the recent local government elections, said he was grateful for the advice from Queensland Health and would expect council to take note.

“I am not opposed to wind farms but I think there are a number of concerns,” he said.

The advice from Queensland Health reflected health concerns that were being expressed around the world.

Wind farm opponent and Waubra Foundation spokeswoman Sarah Laurie said Queensland Health was “the first health department in Australia to have acknowledged the obvious problems which currently exist”.

“We again call for governments to ensure that infra-sound and low-frequency acoustic pollution is measured – independently of the wind industry – both inside and outside homes and workplaces at existing wind developments, where people are sick,” Ms Laurie said.

The Mount Emerald wind farm is being proposed by RATCH-Australia Corporation, a Ratchaburi Holdings and Transfield Services company. The company said current estimates suggested the wind farm would produce enough clean energy to provide the annual power needs of more than 75,000 North Queensland homes.

A RATCH-Australia spokesman was not available to comment on the Queensland Health letter yesterday.

Mr Lavis said human health issues were not his only concern with the wind farm proposal.

He was also worried about the impact on the region’s banana industry, which relied on aerial spraying that would not be possible within 5km of wind turbine towers.

“All of Australia’s bananas are grown within 200km of here,” he said. “There is no way you can control the diseases without aerial spraying because of the wet season and the inability to get to the crop with a tractor,” he said.

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