Entries in wind farm property values (118)

4/2/12 Their money or your life? Wind Farm Strong Arm Continues: Emerging Energies VS Town of Forest


By Jeff Holmquist,

Source: New Richmond News, www.newrichmond-news.com

March 30, 2012 

About 20 residents of the Town of Forest attended last week’s St. Croix County Health and Human Services Board meeting to seek help in their fight against a wind farm proposal.

Forest resident Doris Schmidt told the board members that residents are concerned about possible health issues that may develop among those living close to the 41 wind turbines planned for the township.

She pointed to a turbine project near Green Bay (Brown County) that was installed by Emerging Energies LLC, the developer seeking to construct the Highland Wind Farm in Forest, as an example of what can go wrong when turbines are close to homes.

Brenda Salseg, Forest, said people living near a turbine often complained of headaches, sleep deprivation, anxiety and other health issues. Stray voltage, low-frequency sound and “flicker” from the moving shadow of the blades are among the impacts of wind energy on residents, she added.

“There is no doubt in my mind that there are health issues related to industrial wind turbines,” she said.

Resident Nicole Miller fought back tears as she talked about the possibility that her family’s life on a dairy farm could be disrupted by a wind farm coming in.

“We don’t know if we can afford to move,” she told the board. “We don’t know if we can afford to stay. Any support you could give us would be wonderful.”

Salseg said the Town of Forest was targeted by Emerging Energies because the municipality is not governed by St. Croix County zoning rules. Now the developer wants to squeeze in a bunch of turbines in a relatively small area, impacting residents for miles around, she told the board.

State siting rules allow for a turbine to be placed within 1,250 feet of a residence. Salseg noted that some research indicated that such turbines should be as much as 2,000 feet away from a home.

According to Salseg, there are 21 landowners in the township who have agreed to have turbines placed on their property. That’s a small percentage of the 170 families and 215 households currently in the Town of Forest, she noted.

Forest resident LaVerne Hoitomt said there are places across the nation that make more sense for wind farms. Large tracts of land in states like North Dakota and Nebraska would allow for turbines to be placed well away from houses, he said.

A wind farm in a densely populated place like the Town of Forest makes no sense, he added.

If the wind farm proceeds, Schmidt claimed, Forest residents would likely see a drop in their property values. Property rights would also be compromised, she said, as setbacks from turbines would likely limit what people can build on their properties.

County board member Esther Wentz added that county roads could be in jeopardy if the wind farm goes forward. County and town roads aren’t constructed to a high enough standard to withstand the beating they’d take while the wind farm would be constructed, she claimed.

Pete Kling, director of the county Zoning and Planning Department, said the county has little say when it comes to the placement of turbines in the Town of Forest. The county does have an existing tower ordinance which limits the height of towers to 200 feet, but it’s unclear if that ordinance would include wind turbines. The Forest project would include turbines that could reach almost 500 feet.

Although he had few encouraging words, Kling said county officials continue to research the matter.

“We hear you and we’re working with officials in the Town of Forest,” he said. “These are very complicated issues.”

Ed Thurman, environmental health specialist with St. Croix County, said studies on the health impact of wind turbines is inconclusive. Three studies have been done to date but additional studies are not likely, he said.

Thurman told the board that research seems to indicate that health impacts are “minimal,” so he suggested the officials not take a stand in the matter.

But board member Richard “Buzz” Marzolf said the residents did a good job of laying out their concerns and the Health and Human Services Board should back their efforts to derail the project.

“The research they’ve done is quite apparent,” he said. “I see no reason to delay.”

The board voted unanimously to support a four-part plan of action suggested by the Forest residents in attendance. The Health and Human Services Board, with the help of staff members, will send a letter of “official support” of a Brown County Board of Health resolution on behalf of the Town of Glenmore and the Town of Forest to the State of Wisconsin; file a “Letter of Declaration of Health Concerns” for the Town of Forest residents and residents within the project footprint with the Public Service Commission on PSC Docket 2535-CE-100; petition the state of Wisconsin to “authorize and execute third-party, non-biased health studies in existing wind energy project areas to determine why industrial wind turbines make some individuals sick;” and assist the Town of Forest and residents within the project footprint with a voluntary baseline population health assessment before and after should the Highland Wind project be permitted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

The residents in the audience applauded following the vote.

“We’ll try to do anything we can to help you,” Wentz said.

After the majority of Forest residents left the meeting, St. Croix County Board Chairman Daryl Standafer told the board that he was “uncomfortable” with the action it took in the matter.

He said his family has had personal experience living near wind turbines and he is not aware of any health issues surrounding them.

“There are two sides to this issue,” he said.

In a telephone interview Monday, Jay Mundinger, founding principal of Emerging Energies, said recent studies indicate that there are no negative health effects of wind turbines near homes. He cited a recent Massachusetts study that there was no health impacts related to wind turbines.

Mundinger said the developer continues to work with state and federal regulators to ensure that the public’s health is not at risk.

He admitted, however, that the comments about health concerns are part of the public process and Emerging Energies welcomes the opportunity to answer any and all questions.

He added that the Highland Wind Farm is “rightly sited” because the turbines would be located in one of the least populated townships in St. Croix County.

1/27/12 How much longer will wind developers, lobbyists and the PSC continue to deny the misery they've caused Wisconsin residents? AND Message from the Wind Industry: As as long you never speak to, study, or respond to any wind project residents who are suffering you'll find our product is perfectly safe.


Brown Co. panel: State should pay medical bills for those near wind farm

by Doug Schneider,

via Green Bay Press-Gazette, www.greenbaypressgazette.com

January 26, 2012 

Supervisor Patrick Evans said the government must do more to protect citizens until more is known about potential dangers, saying at least two local families living near wind farms have abandoned their homes and others lost thousands of dollars because livestock died mysteriously. “This problem is very real,” he said.

Wisconsin should pay the medical bills of Brown County residents who were made ill by industrial wind turbines, some county supervisors say.

Saying the state allowed “irresponsible placement” of industrial wind turbines in the Glenmore area, the Brown County Human Services Committee has approved a measure to ask the state to pay emergency aid to families living near the Shirley Wind Farm.

The request, which seeks an unspecified amount until the “hardships are studied and resolved,” could come before the full County Board next month.

It is the latest attempt by county supervisors and other officials to manage an issue in which some residents began experiencing conditions such as anxiety, depression, weight loss and increased cancer risks since the wind farm was erected in 2010.

“There is a 70-year-old woman who lost 20 pounds from not being able to eat,” said Barbara Vanden Boogart, a member of the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy, an advocacy group. “There are two adults who sleep an average of one and a half hours a night.”

Shirley’s operators insist their facility has been built and operated safely.

Wind farms have been a topic of debate in Wisconsin in the past several years. Advocates say wind pollutes less than coal and is less expensive and less potentially dangerous than nuclear energy.

Officials say the facilities’ record isn’t good enough. The County Board resolution says the state was irresponsible in allowing the Shirley Wind Farm to be built without consulting an expert on the medical consequences of living near wind turbines.

Supervisors said they had no indication Wednesday of how the state would respond to their request. They said the answer would be up to officials in Madison to resolve this spring.

Supervisor Patrick Evans said the government must do more to protect citizens until more is known about potential dangers, saying at least two local families living near wind farms have abandoned their homes and others lost thousands of dollars because livestock died mysteriously.

“This problem is very real,” he said. Being upstairs in a house near the Shirley facility, he said, “felt after 10 or 12 minutes like you were getting carbon-monoxide poisoning.”

Lawmakers also are calling on the state to adopt turbine-siting guidelines approved by citizens groups.

State Sen. Frank Lasee, R-Ledgeview, last week introduced a bill to allow cities, villages, towns and counties to establish the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a home — even if those rules are more restrictive than any the state enacts.

Statewide wind-siting rules, more than a year in the making, were suspended last March. Lawmakers sent those rules, which dealt with farms of less than 100 megawatts, back to the state Public Service Commission, where they have stayed as officials worked to reach a compromise.

Lack of regulatory agreement, particularly on the issue of how far a turbine must be from a property line, has tempered enthusiasm about wind farms. A corporation in 2011 scrapped plans for a 100-turbine development in the Morrison-Glenmore area.

On the net

» Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind-Siting Guidelines: http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wisconsin-citizens-safe-wind-siting-guidelines

NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: The families having trouble living with the Brown County turbines are not alone: 

CLICK HERE to see photos and read the daily wind turbine noise log kept by a resident living in the Invenergy wind project near the Town of Byron in Fond du Lac County 


From Ontario


by David Meyer,

Via The Wellington Advertiser, www.wellingtonadvertiser.com

January 27, 2012 

Dr. Jeff Aramini is a public health epidemiologist and former senior scientist with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. He and his family live 2.5km from a proposed wind farm near Belwood.

He has just taken part in a study of the alleged effects of wind turbines on health in two communities in Maine, in the United States, and the results indicate the closer wind turbines are to people’s home, the higher their chance of sleep disruption and their chances of suffering depression.

C. WELLINGTON TWP. – Opponents of industrial wind turbines have been telling the provincial government for several years it needs to do some health studies before approving such machines close to homes.

Some of those opponents did not wait for the province. Dr. Jeff Aramini is a public health epidemiologist and former senior scientist with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. He and his family live 2.5km from a proposed wind farm near Belwood.

He has just taken part in a study of the alleged effects of wind turbines on health in two communities in Maine, in the United States, and the results indicate the closer wind turbines are to people’s home, the higher their chance of sleep disruption and their chances of suffering depression.

Aramini said in an interview on Monday people opposed to wind farms in the Belwood area asked him to check health effects because of his expertise in that field.

His partners were Dr. Michael Nissenbaum of the Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent, and Dr. Chris Hanning, of University Hospitals of Leicester, in the United Kingdom.

Aramini said in an interview the two communities studied are “not unlike anything here.”

He said it was “a little surprising the health effect that came across the strongest was depression.”

The study was peer reviewed, which means experts from around the world had an opportunity to comment on it. The study was published last year in the 10th International Congress on Noise as a public health problem in Great Britain.

The peer review is important for those opposing wind turbines.

Janet Vallery, a spokesman for Oppose Belwood Windfarm, highlighted a difference between the study Aramini was involved in and the studies being cited by the provincial government.

“The Ontario provincial government used literature reviews as a basis for determining setbacks,” she said. “This new research deems setbacks less than 1.5km must be regarded as unsafe.”

Aramini said the questionnaire tool used for the research “has been used millions of times around the world.”

The researchers found, “It wasn’t simply close and far … It was, the closer you get, the [more] progressively your risk rises.”

He noted, too, that only adults were considered in the study, and wondered what effects sleep disruption would have on children.

“Losing sleep is a big deal. In kids, it affects their learning,” said Aramini.

There were about 80 adults involved in the Maine study, with about half living 2 to 3km away from a turbine, and others lived farther away than 3km.

The Ontario setbacks from human habitation is 550 metres and Aramini said that increases chances of people suffering from clinical depression by 369%.

“It’s doubling to tripling the chance of you being at risk if living that close,” he said, adding if just one person is affected badly, it is too many. “We’re talking about real people.”

Aramini said people ask him regularly about how close they can live to turbines, and if he would buy a home close to one.

“If you’re within 2km, I’d think twice,” he said about purchasing a home, adding he suggests people talk to their physician prior to turbines going in if they live near where the machines are proposed.

Aramini said it is vexing the provincial government is forcing people to endure turbines when there is plenty of land available that is not anywhere near human habitation.

“The thing that disappoints me is Canada is a big place. Surely we can put them in a place away … For God’s sake, put them out in the middle of nowhere, away from people.”

Unfortunately, he said of the issue, “Clearly there’s a lot of politics and money involved.”

Despite the study’s claims to the contrary, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) maintains there is no “conclusive” correlation between turbines and health issues.

1/4/12 What made this wind booster finally believe 'NIMBY' complaints have merit?

Video of a home in an Ontario wind project


Via aeinews.org

Book review by Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute

January 2, 2011

On the question of noise, Righter is equally sensitive and adamant, stressing the need to set noise standards based on quiet night time conditions, “for a wind turbine should not be allowed to invade a home and rob residents of their peace of mind.”  

He says, “When I first started studying the NIMBY response to turbines I was convinced that viewshed issues were at the heart of people’s response.  Now I realize that the noise effects are more significant, particularly because residents to not anticipate such strong reactions until the turbines are up and running – by which time, of course, it is almost impossible to perform meaningful mitigation.”


A new book, Windfall: Wind Energy in America Today, by historian Robert Righter,  was recently published by University of Oklahoma Press.  Righter also wrote an earlier history of wind energy, published by UofO Press in 1996.  In the intervening years, of course, the wind industry has blossomed from its initial mini-boom-and-bust in the California hills (Altamont, anyone?), with bigger turbines, larger government incentives, and growing commitment to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) for electric generation all leading Righter to feel that an update was in order.

As a hearty advocate of wind energy and continued rapid growth of the industry, Righter will startle many with his strong call for not building turbines “where they are not wanted.”  He spends chunks of three chapters addressing the increasing problems caused by wind farm noise in rural communities, chides developers for not building farther from unwilling neighbors, and says that new development should be focused on the remote high plains, rather than more densely populated rural landscapes in the upper midwest and northeast.  While not ruling out wind farms in the latter areas, he calls for far more sensitivity to the quality of life concerns of residents. (Ed. note: Righter’s book shares a title with, but should be clearly distinguished from, a recent documentary investigating local anti-wind backlash in a NY town.)

Righter seems to be especially sensitive to the fact that today’s turbines are huge mechanical intrusions on pastoral landscapes, a far cry from the windmills of earlier generations.  At the same time, he suggests that a look back at earlier technological innovations (including transmission lines, oil pump jacks, and agricultural watering systems) suggests that most of us tend to become accustomed to new intrusions after a while, noting that outside of wilderness areas, “it is difficult to view a landscape devoid of a human imprint.”

He acknowledges the fact that impacts on a few can’t always outweigh the benefits for the many in generating electricity without burning carbon or generating nuclear waste, but goes on to ask:

No matter how admirable this is, should a few people pay the price for benefits to the many?  Should rural regions lose the amenities and psychological comforts of living there to serve the city?  Should metropolitan areas enjoy abundant electricity while rural people forfeit the very qualities that took them to the countryside in the first place?  The macro-scale benefits of wind energy seldom impress local opponents, who have micro-scale concerns.  The turbines’ benefits are hardly palpable to impacted residents, whereas the visual impact is a constant reminder of the loss of a cherished landscape.

Righter also takes a realistic stance about the fact that our appetite for electricity leads to inevitable conflicts wherever we might want to generate it. He says, “…wind turbines are ugly – but the public produced the problem and must now live with it.  Turbine retribution is the price we must pay for a lavish electrical lifestyle.”

But unlike most wind boosters, he doesn’t content himself with this simple formulation.  He goes on to stress that even as recently as 2000, most experts felt that technical hurdles would keep turbines from getting much bigger than they were then (500kW-1MW).  The leaps that have taken place, with 3MW and larger turbines in new wind farms, startle even him:  ”They do not impact a landscape as much as dominate it….Their size makes it practically impossible to suggest that wind turbines can blend technology with nature.”  He joins one of his fellow participants in a cross-disciplinary symposium on NIMBY issues, stressing:  ”Wind energy developers must realize the ‘important links among landscape, memory, and beauty in achieving a better quality of life.’  This concept is not always appreciated by wind developers, resulting in bitter feeling, often ultimately reaching the courts.”

He was obviously touched by the experience of Dale Rankin and several neighbors in Texas, who were affected by the 421-turbine Horse Hollow Wind Farm.  Righter generally agrees with my experience there, that such wide open spaces seem the perfect place for generating lots of energy from the wind.  But two of these hundreds of turbines changed Rankin’s life. These two sat between his house and some wooded hills, and Righter says that to him, “the turbines seemed inappropriate for this bucolic scene.  For the Rankins the change is a sad story of landscape loss…”  He asked whether the developer had talked with them before siting the turbines here, but they hadn’t, since the land belonged to a neighbor and local setback requirements were met, so “the utility company placed the turbines where its grid pattern determined they should be.  Perhaps such a policy represents efficiency and good engineering, but (reflects) arrogance and poor public relations….(The developer) crushed Rankin with their lawyers when fairness and reason could have ameliorated the situation…the company could well have compromised on the siting of two turbines.  But they did not.”

On the question of noise, Righter is equally sensitive and adamant, stressing the need to set noise standards based on quiet night time conditions, “for a wind turbine should not be allowed to invade a home and rob residents of their peace of mind.”  He says, “When I first started studying the NIMBY response to turbines I was convinced that viewshed issues were at the heart of people’s response.  Now i realize that the noise effects are more significant, particularly because residents to not anticipate such strong reactions until the turbines are up and running – by which time, of course, it is almost impossible to perform meaningful mitigation.”

While offering many nods to the constructive role of better public engagement early in the planning stages and making the case for societal needs sometimes outweighing those of a few neighbors, Righter also stresses:

While some objections to wind farms are clearly economically inspired and quite political in nature, no one can deny the legitimacy of many NIMBY responses.  When the electrical power we want intrudes on the landscapes we love, there will be resistance, often passionate.  This is part of the democratic process.  The vocal minority, if indeed it is a minority, has a legitimate right  to weigh the pros and cons of wind development in the crucible of public opinion, in public hearings, and if necessary in our court system.

As a bottom line, and despite his support for the industry and belief that we may learn to appreciate a landscape with more turbines, Righter calls strongly for new development to proceed in ways that minimize or eliminate intra-community conflict.  Recounting one of many stories of a community torn apart by hard feelings between nearby neighbors (at the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in New York), he concludes:

Should the wind companies shoulder the blame?  I believe they should.  Good corporate citizens must identify potential problems and take action, and that action should precede final placement of the wind turbines….The most optimal ridge need not be developed at the expense of residents’ rights to the enjoyment of their property.

“In the final analysis,” writes Righter, “we can best address the NIMBY response by building wind turbines where they are wanted…and where they do not overlap with other land use options.”  He elaborates:

Conversely, wind developers should give serious consideration to not insisting on raising turbines where they are not wanted…Unlike Europe, our nation has land.  there are vast areas of the United States that have excellent wind resources and welcome the wind turbines….We can hope the industry will adopt the attitude of Bob Gates, a Clipper Wind Power vice president: “If people don’t want it, we’ll go someplace else.”  Fortunately, the country can accommodate him.

Righter also stresses that current setbacks requirements encourage the building of wind farms in ways that almost inevitably cause heartbreaking problems for some neighbors.  While at one point he makes the mistaken assumption that most setback limits are already a half mile or more, he addresses in some detail the findings of a 2007 report from the National Research Council’s Committee on Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects.  Righter observes that scientific difficulties with subjectivity led the committee to “shy away from the most important subject,” the impacts on humans, including social impacts on community cohesion and psychological responses to controversial projects. But he’s pleased to note:

Yet they did address one key impact on human beings: the fact that those individuals and families who suffer negative visual or noise effects from the turbines live too close to them.  This is not the fault of the homeowners, for in most cases the home was erected before the wind turbines arrived.  Usually it is attributable to local government regulations, which often allow setbacks of only 1,000 feet.  Significantly, in their study the NRC’s wind committeee observed that ‘the most significant impacts are likely to occur within 3 miles of the project, with impacts possible from sensitive viewing areas up to 8 miles from projects.’

One might expect that this would preclude setbacks of less than at least a mile.  But the industry prefers setbacks measured in feet rather than miles.

Righter’s book also includes chapters addressing grid integration, government incentives, reliability, and smaller turbines.  He repeatedly makes the case for more research and development into smaller, vertical axis turbines, which, even with their smaller outputs, could be far more acceptable in many locations where landscape disruption and noise issues are paramount.  Anti-wind campaigners won’t find Righter to be very comfortable company, for he sees the technological and grid challenges as easily surmountable, and the government support and investment in the industry as both warranted and of proper scale. He also supports various efforts to achieve better community consensus, including making royalty payments to those not hosting turbines.  Make no mistake, this is an avid supporter of the industry.

Indeed, his long history and his deep knowledge of wind energy make his final recommendations about siting all the more striking.  Righter’s experience and stance has fueled my confidence that the path AEI has been pointing to for the past year or so is more than the pipe dream of a tiny non-advocacy nonprofit.  Larger setbacks, to protect unwilling neighbors from quality of life upheavals, combined with easements obtained via royalty-sharing or annual payments to neighbors who don’t mind hearing turbines a bit more often, is a fair and promising path forward.

As Righter says in his conclusion:

The days of an oil patch mentality of greed and boom-bust cycles are about over.  Most developers understand that it is in their best interest to operate openly and in good faith with the local community.  More problematical is the question of landscape.  Wind turbines placed in a pleasing agrucultural, scenic, or historic landscape evoke anger and despair.  At the heart of the issue is visual blight. Residents do not want to look at the turbines and are willing to fight wind development.  Their wishes should be respected.

Wind developers should take to heart geographer Martin Pasqualetti’s advice: “If developers are to cultivate the promise of wind power, they should not intrude on favored (or even conspicuous) landscapes, regardless of the technical temptations these spots may offer.”  The nation is large.  Wind turbines do not have to go up where they are not wanted.  We can expand the grid and put them where they are welcome.


From CNN


From The Waubra Foundation

From ABC

12/20/11 What jobs? AND Wind developer's cash cow may go dry AND new noise study backs up wind project residents complaints AND Do wind turbines effect property values? Ask the wind project residents trying to sell their homes.


by Steve Deslauriers

VIA Brown County Citizens for Responsible Renewable Energy

Email:     info@bccrwe.com

(DENMARK, WI)  Industrial wind project developers claim they create jobs wherever the turbines are built, but recent studies show the jobs—mostly temporary—come at enormous cost to taxpayers.
In Illinois, each job created by construction of industrial wind turbines cost taxpayers an estimated $8 million, according to a comprehensive new analysis of enterprise zone reports from the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity (Illinois DECO).  Based on the information reported to DECO, taxpayers are paying the mostly foreign-owned wind companies $7.8-$9.6 million for each temporary primary job created.
In addition, industrial wind projects created very few local jobs in Illinois, according to the analysis by Illinois attorney Carolyn K. Gerwin. Of the 15 industrial wind projects reported by the Illinois Wind Energy Association, only eight of them appear on the DECO data. Those eight projects totaled $1.95 billion in project costs—and, as a group, created a total of 61 to75 jobs.
The analysis was reported to Wisconsin legislators on December 9th by the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy (BCCRWE). The BCCRWE, together with a coalition of citizen groups from across the State, has developed science-based guidelines for safe industrial wind turbine siting that will, if followed, assure that health, safety, and economic factors are fully vetted in the PSCW wind turbine siting rules process.

 These Wisconsin Citizens Safe Wind Siting Guidelines, which should be used to determine the appropriate set-back distance from the property line, recommend 2,640 feet if the noise standards in the Guidelines are met.

  See the Guidelines the Wisconsin Public Service Commission website by CLICKING HERE 
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has the job of deciding how far wind turbines should be set back from a person’s property. If the suspension of the arbitrary and outdated PSC wind siting rules (PSC 128) is allowed to expire at the end of the legislative session, then the State of Wisconsin will knowingly impose the economic ‘undue hardships’ and ‘public health emergency’ on Wisconsin families that the JCRAR suspension sought to prevent.  

Steve Deslauriers
PO Box 703
Denmark, WI 54208
Email:     info@bccrwe.com



by Benjamin Romano,


December 20, 2011 

Neither the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which the US wind industry needs to avoid a collapse in 2013, nor the Treasury grant programme – key for the nation’s solar industry – would be extended under a tenuous year-end legislative package.

Despite an all-out lobbying push, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) could not convince lawmakers to include the PTC in year-end legislation to extend tax provisions, such as a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, that expire on 31 December without Congressional action.

The top priority of the US wind industry is an extension of the PTC, which is worth $0.022/kWh for a project’s first 10 years in operation.

It is only available to projects that begin operation by 31 December 2012. Uncertainty about its continuation is already having a deleterious impact on the industry as developers scale-back project development for 2013 and beyond, slowing the flow of orders into wind equipment manufacturers.

The US solar industry mounted a campaign for a second one-year extension of the Treasury grant, which expires 31 December, and pays up to 30% of eligible renewable energy project costs. Last year, Congress extended the grant, given in lieu of tax credits, just as it was about to expire.

“We are disappointed that an extension of wind energy’s key federal tax incentive was not included in this bill,” AWEA chief executive Denise Bode said in a statement over the weekend. “The clock is ticking, business decisions are being made and some damage is certain.”

The industry had identified the year-end legislation as one of at least three possible opportunities to advance a PTC extension before the end of 2012.

Bode and the US wind industry now look ahead to Congressional action on tax extenders after the holidays.

“When Congress addresses extenders next year, we are very confident that continuing the wind manufacturing success story will be a prominent objective,” Bode says. “Tens of thousands of wind energy manufacturing jobs can still be saved if Congress addresses extenders early in 2012.”

The industry hopes that it can continue to build momentum behind a PTC extension into the new year.

The circumstances under which tax extenders legislation would be addressed in 2012 will be shaped by whether the House and Senate can come to an agreement now.

That looked increasingly unlikely Monday as Republicans in the House refused to support a bill passed by the Senate on Saturday to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, and the Senate appeared unwilling to return to work to take on the full-year extension proposed in the House.


From Massachussetts

The Bruce McPherson infrasound and low frequency noise study

December 14, 2011

by Stephen E. Ambrose, INCE (Brd. Cert.) and Robert W. Rand, INCE Member

SOURCE: Windaction.org: documents

This study investigated the possible presence of infrasonic and low frequency noise emissions (ILFN) from the “WIND 1”, a municipally-owned Vestas V82 industrial wind turbine in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Noise and Pressure Pulsations

The acoustic energy from the wind turbine was found to be:

1) Greater than or uniquely distinguishable from the ambient background levels, and
2) Capable of exceeding human detection thresholds.

This research revealed dynamically modulated low frequency and infrasonic energy from the nearby wind turbine occurring at the blade pass rate; energy which was found to be amplified indoors below 10 Hz. These dynamic infrasonic modulations were absent when the wind turbine was off. The wind turbine has tonal energy at 22.9 and 129 Hz. The wind turbine acoustic emissions were strongly coupled to the indoor environment at very low infrasonic pulsations and at the 22.9 and 129 Hz tones.

The dBA levels were inversely correlated to adverse health effects experienced; effects were more severe indoors where dBA levels were much lower (around 20 dBA). However the dBL (un-weighted) and dBG (infrasonic-weighting) levels were more strongly modulated indoors.

This increase in modulation indoors was consistent with the stronger adverse health effects indoors. The increase in total sound pressure indoors appears related to a "whole-house" cavity response; the outside pressure pulsations exciting the interior acoustic pressure much like a stick hitting a drum. Especially, the degree of negative pressure increased significantly indoors compared to outdoors.

Adverse Health Effects

This research revealed that persons without a pre-existing sleep deprivation condition, not tied to the location nor invested in the property, can experience within a few minutes the same debilitating health effects described and testified to by neighbors living near the wind turbines.

The debilitating health effects were judged to be visceral (proceeding from instinct, not intellect) and related to as yet unidentified discordant physical inputs or stimulation to the vestibular system. The dBG levels indoors were dynamically modulated at the blade pass rate and tonal frequencies and exceeded the vestibular physiological threshold guideline of 60 dBG provided by Dr. Salt.

Health effects moderated when dBG levels fell well below the 60 dBG guideline when the wind turbine was OFF. Wind turbine tonal energy at 22.9 Hz lies in the brain's "Beta" range which is associated with alert mental activity and anxiety; antithetical to sleep. The dynamic 0.7 Hz modulations of inflow turbulence and tonal energy lie in the deep Delta range associated with deep sleep. Clinical evidence of frequency following response (FFR) in the brain suggests that entrainment with wind turbine modulations, pulsations and tones may pose conflict for the brain's natural rhythms,
leading to stress when the conflicting signals (the wind turbine) cannot be turned off.

Other physiological mechanisms may be in play. Medical epidemiological field and laboratory investigation is needed. The study confirms that large industrial wind turbines can produce real and adverse health impacts and suggests that this is due to acoustic pressure pulsations, not related to the audible frequency spectrum, by affecting the vestibular system especially at low ambient sound levels.

The study results emphasize the need for epidemiological and laboratory research by medical health professionals and acousticians concerned with public health and well-being. This study underscores the need for more effective and precautionary setback distances for industrial wind turbines. It is especially important to include a margin of safety sufficient to prevent inaudible low-frequency wind turbine noise from being detected by the human vestibular system.

Next Feature

From Ontario:


by John Nicol and Dave Seglins 


October 1 2011 

Canadian Hydro Developers bought out four different owners for $500,000, $350,000, $305,000 and $302,670. The company then resold each property, respectively, for $288,400, $175,000, $278,000 and $215,000.

In total, Canadian Hydro absorbed just over half a million dollars in losses on those four properties.

The new buyers were required to sign agreements acknowledging that the wind turbine facilities may affect the buyer's "living environment" and that the power company will not be responsible for or liable from any of the buyer's "complaints, claims, demands, suits, actions or causes of action of every kind known or unknown which may arise directly or indirectly from the Transferee's wind turbine facilities."

The energy company admits the impacts may include "heat, sound, vibration, shadow flickering of light, noise (including grey noise) or any other adverse effect or combination thereof resulting directly or indirectly from the operation."

Ontario's rapid expansion in wind power projects has provoked a backlash from rural residents living near industrial wind turbines who say their property values are plummeting and they are unable to sell their homes, a CBC News investigation has found.

The government and the wind energy industry have long maintained turbines have no adverse effects on property values, health or the environment.

The CBC has documented scores of families who've discovered their property values are not only going downward, but also some who are unable to sell and have even abandoned their homes because of concerns nearby turbines are affecting their health.

"I have to tell you not a soul has come to look at it," says Stephana Johnston, 81, of Clear Creek, a hamlet in Haldimand County on the north shore of Lake Erie, about 60 kilometres southeast of London.

Johnston, a retired Toronto teacher, moved here six years ago to build what she thought would be her dream home. But in 2008, 18 industrial wind turbines sprung up near her property and she put the one-floor, wheelchair-accessible home up for sale.

"My hunch is that people look at them and say: 'As nice as the property is going south, looking at the lake, we don't want to be surrounded by those turbines.' Can't say that I blame them."

Johnston says she has suffered so many ill health effects, including an inability to sleep — which she believes stem from the noise and vibration of the turbines— that she now sleeps on a couch in her son's trailer, 12 kilometres away, and only returns to her house to eat breakfast and dinner and use the internet.

Industry rejects claims of lower land values

Meanwhile, the industry rejects claims of lower land values.

"Multiple studies, and particularly some very comprehensive ones from the United States have consistently shown the presence of wind turbines does not have any statistically significant impact on property values," says Robert Hornung of the Ottawa-based Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA).

While acknowledging a lack of peer-reviewed studies in Ontario, Hornung says CANWEA commissioned a study of the Chatham-Kent area, where new wind turbines are appearing, and found no evidence of any impact on property values.

"In fact," says Hornung, "we've recently seen evidence coming from Re/Max indicating that we're seeing farm values throughout Ontario, including the Chatham-Kent area, increasing significantly this year as wind energy is being developed in the area at the same time."

However, Ron VandenBussche, a Re/Max agent along the Lake Erie shore, said the reality is that the wind turbines reduce the pool of interested buyers, and ultimately the price of properties.

"It's going to make my life more difficult," says VandenBussche, who has been a realtor for 38 years. "There's going to be people that would love to buy this particular place, but because the turbines are there, it's going to make it more difficult, no doubt."

Kay Armstrong says she felt fortunate to sell her two-acre property listed at $270,000 for $175,000.  
Kay Armstrong says she felt fortunate to sell her two-acre property listed at $270,000 for $175,000.  

Kay Armstrong is one example. She put her two-acre, waterfront property up for sale before the turbines appeared in Clear Creek, for what three agents said was a reasonable price of $270,000.

Two years after the turbines appeared, she took $175,000, and she felt lucky to do that — the property went to someone who only wanted to grow marijuana there for legal uses.

"I had to get out," said Armstrong. "It was getting so, so bad. And I had to disclose the health issues I had. I was told by two prominent lawyers that I would be sued if the ensuing purchasers were to develop health problems."

Realtor association finds 20 to 40 per cent drops in value

Armstrong's experience is backed up in a study by Brampton-based realtor Chris Luxemburger. The president of the Brampton Real Estate Board examined real estate listings and sales figures for the Melancthon-Amaranth area, home to 133 turbines in what is Ontario's first and largest industrial wind farm.

"Homes inside the windmill zones were selling for less and taking longer to sell than the homes outside the windmill zones," said Luxemburger.

On average, from 2007 to 2010, he says properties adjacent to turbines sold for between 20 and 40 per cent less than comparable properties that were out of sight from the windmills.

Power company sells at a loss

Land registry documents obtained by CBC News show that some property owners who complained about noise and health issues and threatened legal action did well if they convinced the turbine companies to buy them out.

Canadian Hydro Developers bought out four different owners for $500,000, $350,000, $305,000 and $302,670. The company then resold each property, respectively, for $288,400, $175,000, $278,000 and $215,000.

In total, Canadian Hydro absorbed just over half a million dollars in losses on those four properties.

The new buyers were required to sign agreements acknowledging that the wind turbine facilities may affect the buyer's "living environment" and that the power company will not be responsible for or liable from any of the buyer's "complaints, claims, demands, suits, actions or causes of action of every kind known or unknown which may arise directly or indirectly from the Transferee's wind turbine facilities."

The energy company admits the impacts may include "heat, sound, vibration, shadow flickering of light, noise (including grey noise) or any other adverse effect or combination thereof resulting directly or indirectly from the operation."

TransAlta, the company that took over for Canadian Hydro, refused to discuss the specific properties it bought and then resold at a loss in Melancthon. But in an email to CBC, spokesman Glen Whelan cited the recession and other "business considerations" that "influence the cost at which we buy or sell properties, and to attribute purchase or sale prices to any one factor would be impossible."

Province says no change to tax base

Ontario's ministers of Energy, Municipal Affairs and Finance, all in the midst of an election campaign, declined requests for an interview.

'That's what makes them sick is that, you know, they'll get less money for their properties, and that's what's causing all this annoyance and frustration.'—Environment Ministry lawyer Frederika Rotter

A spokesperson for Municipal Affairs says his ministry has no studies or information about the potential impact wind turbines are having on rural property values.

However, last February, before an environmental review tribunal in Chatham, Environment Ministry lawyer Frederika Rotter said: "We will see in the course of this hearing that lots of people are worried about windmills. They may not like the noise, they may think the noise makes them sick, but really what makes them sick is just the windmills being on the land because it does impact their property values.

"That's what makes them sick is that, you know, they'll get less money for their properties, and that's what's causing all this annoyance and frustration and all of that."

When Energy Minister Brad Duguid declined comment, his staff referred CBC News to the Ministry of Finance, which oversees MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation), which sets values on land for taxation purposes. They indicated that MPAC has no evidence wind turbines are driving down assessed values.

However, CBC found one household in Melancthon was awarded a 50-per-cent reduction in property tax because the house sat next to a transformer station for the turbines.

Losing the rural life

Almost all the people interviewed by the CBC rue the division between neighbours for and against the turbines, and said what they have lost is a sense of home and the idyllic life of living in the countryside.

Tracy Whitworth refuses to sell her historic home in Clear Creek.Tracy Whitworth refuses to sell her historic home in Clear Creek. CBC

Tracy Whitworth, who has a historic home in Clear Creek, refuses to sell it and instead has become a nomad, renting from place to place with her son, to avoid the ill effects of the turbines.

"My house sits empty — it's been vandalized," says Whitworth, a Clear Creek resident who teaches high school in Delhi. "I've had a couple of 'Stop the wind turbine' signs knocked down, mailbox broken off.

"I lived out there for a reason. It was out in the country. School's very busy. When I come home, I like peace and quiet. Now, we have the turbines and the noise. Absolutely no wildlife. I used to go out in the morning, tend to my dogs, let my dogs run, and I'd hear the geese go over.

"And ugh! Now there's no deer, no geese, no wild turkeys. Nothing."

For the octogenarian Johnston, the fight is all more than she bargained for. She sank all her life savings, about $500,000, into the house, and she says she does not have the money to be able to hire a lawyer to fight for a buyout. But she is coming to the conclusion she must get a mortgage to try the legal route.

"I love being near the water and I thought, what a way to spend the rest of my days — every view is precious," she said, as tears filled her eyes. "And I would not have that any more.

"And that is hard to reconcile and accept."

Getting a mortgage on her house might not be that easy. CBC News has learned that already one bank in the Melancthon area is not allowing lines of credit to be secured by houses situated near wind turbines. In a letter to one family situated close to the turbines, the bank wrote, "we find your property a high risk and its future marketability may be jeopardized."

11/4/11 You break it, you pay: Lee County Illinois want's wind developers to give residents property value protection plan AND Same Turbines, Different Continent: the news from Down Under



SOURCE www.saukvalley.com

November 4, 2011

DIXON – A proposal to protect the property values of homes near wind turbines is gaining support.

Two of the five members of the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals, which is reviewing the county’s wind energy ordinance, said at their meeting Thursday that they backed a home seller protection program for residents near turbines.

The discussion of the issue started with board Chairman Ron Conderman’s suggestion that the county not include such a program in its ordinance.

“Why add more burden to the county?” he asked.

Members Mike Pratt and Tom Fassler said they would like some version of the program, though.

“Ron, I disagree with you. I’m sorry,” Pratt said.

Two other members, Glen Bothe and Craig Buhrow, didn’t comment on the issue.

The board is basing its review on a proposed wind energy ordinance from Ogle County. That proposal calls for the home seller program to last 5 years after a wind project starts. Pratt pushed expanding that to 10 years.

Pratt wanted the program to affect homes within a mile of turbines, while Fassler suggested 1.5 miles.

The Ogle County proposal details a complex appraisal process, in which the homeowner and the wind energy company each choose an appraiser. In the end, if appraisers find that a home sold for less because it was near turbines, then the wind energy company would pay the difference.

County Assessor Wendy Ryerson has described the proposal as mostly workable, even though she said she hasn’t seen evidence that turbines cause property values to drop.

At Thursday’s meeting, Keith Bolin of Mainstream Renewable Power, which is planning a three-county wind farm, said he didn’t like the program because it would cause conflicts between wind farm companies and their neighbors.

Also, he said, any number of factors can cause a property value to drop, so it would be hard to attribute the decrease to a wind farm.

Franklin Grove Mayor Bob Logan said most wind companies were limited liability corporations. As such, he said, it was up to the county to limit residents’ liability. One way to do that was a home seller program, he said.

“Your obligation is not to help make wind companies get a profit,” he said.

Ryerson said she would bring some proposed language for the home seller protection program for the board’s next meeting on Nov. 17.

The board’s agenda for Thursday’s meeting included the issues of wind turbines’ noise, shadow flicker and the required distance between homes and wind turbines. But the board didn’t have time for those subjects.

The board has been meeting twice a month since the summer considering changes to the county’s ordinance. Its recommendations will be referred to the County Board, which has the final say.

To attend

The Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 in the County Board meeting room, on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St.

Go to www.countyoflee.org or call 815-288-3643 for more information.




Max Rheese, Weekly Times Now, www.weeklytimesnow.com.au 4 November 2011 ~~

Last week I received an email from a woman I had never met that almost brought me to tears.

It was a cry for help from someone crushed. She told a story of her family’s recent years of bewilderment, frustration, anger and despair.

Samantha Stepnell used to live with her husband and young son on their farm at Waubra, in western Victoria, 900m from the Waubra wind farm.

The family abandoned their home due to chronic sleep disorders experienced since the wind farm started operating.

Over an extended period of time, these sleep disorders degenerated into a range of deleterious health issues.

They have not sold their home; they have abandoned it.

They are not the only ones.

More than 20 homes have been abandoned in western Victoria because of Wind Turbine Syndrome.

Other families do not even have this option and are trapped by circumstances imposed upon them.

This pattern has manifested throughout the world in recent years since wind turbines have grown from the original 50m structures to 150m giants.

A study published last December by Danish researchers Moller and Pedersen linked bigger, modern turbines with increased noise impact.

These bigger turbines have been the preferred choice in Victorian wind farms.

No one claims everyone will get ill because of wind turbines.

Dr Daniel Shepherd and others have concluded from separate studies that 10-15 per cent of the population are more susceptible to noise than the general population.

From their experiences in Europe, multi-national wind energy companies operating in Australia have known since 2004 that health issues have been associated with wind farms – while asserting there are no peer-reviewed studies linking the two.

This was echoed last July by the National Health and Medical Research Council, which stated, “There is no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects”.

It added: “While there is currently no evidence linking these phenomena with adverse health effects, the evidence is limited.”

Nine peer-reviewed studies have been published or approved for publication in science journals since July – and they link wind turbines with adverse health effects.

The recent Senate inquiry expressed clearly in its recommendations that the Federal Government study the health effects of wind turbines.

Since then the Victorian Government has amended planning legislation for new wind farms to require a 2km setback from residences, a 5km setback from 21 nominated regional towns and no-go zones in several regions of the state.

While this recognition of the problem is welcome, it does not address the turbines approved under old guidelines in the lead-up to the last state election.

When constructed, these new approvals will triple the number of turbines to affect 43 different communities in Victoria, with many of these turbines less than 2km from homes.

With the benefit of recent acoustical studies and medical papers, it has become increasingly clear there is a link between wind turbine operation and health effects, the only question is to what degree and what action to take.

The state has a duty of care to those who live in the communities earmarked for wind farms.

It is distressing that we can get public policy so wrong so much of the time and then take so long to fix it.

Max Rheese is executive director of the Australian Environment Foundation

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