Entries in wind farm shadow flicker (109)

1/8/11 Video of the Day: Spend some time on a wind turbine AND Baby, it's cold outside: Um...why aren't the turbines turning? AND Wait, I thought the Dutch loved wind turbines.


Click on the image above to spend some time with workers on a wind turbine. Warning: contains some profanity.


Sound familiar?

A local farmer who wishes to remain nameless said, “The people who stand to make money are for and those who stand to lose out are against: it’s as simple as that. ... I used to be good friends with my neighbor, but that friendship’s been damaged beyond repair.”

Scroll down to see who said it and what country they were from


SOURCE: The Daily Mail, UK

January 8, 2010

By David Derbyshire, environment editor.

 Britain’s wind farms almost ground to a halt during the coldest spells in December, it has emerged.

As temperatures plunged below zero and demand for electricity soared, figures reveal that most of the country’s 3,000 wind turbines were virtually still, energy experts say.

During some of the chilliest weather, they were working at less than one-hundredth of capacity, producing electricity for fewer than 30,000 homes.

The National Grid was forced to compensate for the still, cold conditions by cranking up conventional coal and gas-fired power stations.

December was the coldest month in more than a century – and yesterday, as some in northern England, the Midlands and Wales were hit with more snow, residents will have been switching on the heating again. But critics have warned that the UK is becoming too dependent on wind for power.

There are 3,153 working turbines in 283 wind farms across the UK, capable of generating more than 5.2 gigawatts of electricity – enough to power almost three million homes, the wind industry says.

Over the next decade, another 10,000 turbines will go up to meet Europe’s climate change targets. By 2020, the Government says 30 per cent of all Britain’s electricity will be generated by wind.

But at best, turbines work at just 30 to 40 per cent of their capacity. And in cold winter snaps, often caused by vast, slow-moving high-pressure systems over Northern Europe, winds drop to almost nothing.

Helen Chivers, of the Met Office, said cold spells were often accompanied by low winds. ‘It is fairly common in winter to have these high pressure systems that bring cold, still conditions over Britain.’

uring December’s cold snaps, the windfarms’ output repeatedly fell sharply, National Grid data shows.

On the coldest day, December 20, the average temperature was minus 5.6C. But just as demand for electricity to heat homes was rising, the winds failed.

That evening the recorded output from the UK’s wind farms dipped to 59 megawatts.

Wind experts say the National Grid only detects half the output of wind farms and that the real figure was 120MW – still only one-fiftieth of maximum capacity.

The following day, when the average temperature was minus 5.2C, turbines were recorded as generating just 20MW. The real figure was probably around 40MW – the equivalent of just 20 turbines at full capacity – powering fewer than 30,000 homes.

Winds dropped again after Christmas. On December 30, the recorded output from wind turbines fell to 25MW at 6.30pm.

John Constable, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which argues against wind farm expansion, said: ‘When you get a high pressure system at this time of year it can cover most of the UK.

‘The whole of the UK is becalmed just when it gets really cold and when demand for electricity goes up. Regardless of how much wind you have installed you need to have the same amount of conventional stations ready to switch on if the wind fails.’ The wind industry insisted wind was reliable – and that still spells are rare. Nick Medic, of Renewables UK, said if the wind does drop, we can import energy from overseas, or use energy stored in dams.

Yesterday, up to 4in (10cm) of snow fell in some upland areas, Leeds Bradford Airport was closed for several hours and dozens of schools in Yorkshire were shut.

However, a band of rain followed the snow and the Met Office said it was expected to have disappeared by morning. A relatively dry weekend was forecast.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1345233/Its-use-waiting-turbines-warm-snow-returns.html#ixzz1ATgGxCvU




January 8, 2011

Dutch protestors tilt at windmills

When the Dutch start complaining about windmills, you know times have changed. We’re not talking about the picturesque landmarks snapped by hordes of tourists every year, but 86 towering wind turbines that will constitute the Netherlands’ biggest wind farm to date. The government has just given the go-ahead for the plan despite fierce protests from local residents in the scenic fishing village of Urk.

De Telegraaf focuses on those opposed to the plan, with the headline “Urk furious at construction of ‘iron curtain of windmills’”. “It’s an absurd plan,” blusters one campaigner. “It’s a prestige project for the minister and a disaster for Urk’s cultural and historical image.” They plan to take their objections to the highest authority in the land, and the European Court if need be.

De Volkskrant reports that the issue has split the community. A local farmer who wishes to remain nameless reveals: “The people who stand to make money are for and those who stand to lose out are against: it’s as simple as that. ... I used to be good friends with my neighbour, but that friendship’s been damaged beyond repair.”

12/5/10 Bats VS Wind Turbines: Don't bet on the bats AND Here comes Windy-Sue: lawsuits against small towns who say no wind developers AND Wind turbine noise, what's the big deal?



SOURCE: Bath Courier, www.steubencourier.com

December 5 2010

By Mary Perham,

Prattsburgh — An informational meeting Tuesday night on the status of a lawsuit between a wind energy company and the town of Prattsburgh drew sharp lines between a divided town and a divided town board.

Ed Hourihan, the attorney defending the town in the lawsuit filed by wind farm developer Ecogen, told a crowd of 100 residents state Supreme Court Justice Ark has given the two groups time to reach an out-of-court agreement.

He said John Calloway, a representative from Ecogen’s largest shareholder, Pattern Energy, has agreed to talk to representatives from Prattsburgh and the neighboring town of Italy. Italy also is being sued by Ecogen on a related wind farm matter.

Ecogen maintains an agreement reached 3-2 by the outgoing pro-wind Prattsburgh town board in December is binding, despite the fact the new town board rescinded the agreement 4-1 the following January.

The majority of the new board believes the December agreement violates a number of laws, including the right to home rule.

Hourihan said the new board’s action prevented Ecogen from going ahead with its plans to build a 16-turbine wind farm in the town.

He said other court decisions support the new board’s action.

“It’s safe to say had the board not rescinded the settlement you could have turbines in your backyards right now,” Hourihan said.

Preventing the construction didn’t please some residents, who said they had wanted the project to go forward this year.

“You came in and stopped something (a lot of us) wanted,” one woman said.

But the cost of the lawsuit – pegged this year at $49,393 – was the chief concern of the meeting, with some angrily charging other legal costs had been hidden.

Hourihan also privately represented councilmen Chuck Shick and Steve Kula in the fall of 2009, and some residents charged those bills were hidden in the town costs.

However, Hourihan said his bill itemized every action taken on behalf of the town after Jan. 1. Any personal – or town — expenses in 2009 had not been charged to the town, he said.

Hourihan said current town Supervisor Al Wordingham told him the new board was not authorized to pay $35,000 for legal services last year.

“Now, would I like the money? Sure,” Hourihan said. “But I’m not getting it.”

When councilwoman Stacey Bottoni pointed out the town had apparently paid Kula’s and Shick’s final account, they said they would check out the $200 fee, and repay it if a mistake had occurred.

Bottoni, who supports Ecogen, also complained she had been “kept in the dark” about the bills. Hourihan said the information has always been available to here.

But Bottoni said she relied on frequent calls to Ecogen representatives for her information.

“Well, and that concerns me, Stacey,” Hourihan said, adding her contacts with Ecogen seemed to violation of client-attorney confidentiality.”

Other concerns were raised about the proposed talks with Calloway. Prattsburgh officials have suggested the developer use its original 100-site map to find other locations and reduce noise levels.

One resident asked if property owners in those other locations had been contacted to see if they wanted the 400-foot tall turbines on their land.

Kula questioned whether the town government could approach owners, but said it might be possible to form a citizens’ committee.

Bottoni angrily countered Ecogen already has spent millions on the project and doesn’t want to spend more money for new studies.

However, Shick pointed out the basic environmental studies for all the sites have been completed.

Some residents were worried because action on another ruling by Arkhas been put on hold while the parties try to work out a compromise.

Arksupported the town’s request for sworn statements from the previous town board and other officials on the events that led to the December agreement. The deadline for the statements was Nov. 24.

Hourihan said he notified Arkthe sworn statements would be delayed because of the proposed talks.

Hourihan said it would cost the town $25,000 to get the statements – and might be unnecessary if a compromise was reached.

Bottoni told the group the town was trying to prove the town illegally sided with the developer. She said there had been no illegal collusion.

“We wanted it,” she said. “We’ve wanted it for three years.”



 SOURCE: Journal and Courier, www.jconline.com

December 4 2010

By Dorothy Schneider,

As wind energy farms prepare to sprout in Tippecanoe County, some residents are fighting a proposal that would allow for more noise — and they fear nuisance — from the developments.

“This is not just a ‘I can’t stand that mosquito’ kind of noise,” said county resident Julie Peretin. “This is about quality of life.”

Peretin and other concerned neighbors are fighting a move being considered by the Tippecanoe County commissioners that would allow turbine noise to be as loud as 50 decibels any time of day, up from the current 45-decibel limit.

That’s the allowable noise level — about the sound of quiet dishwasher — as measured 25 feet from the dwelling of a non-participating landowner.

A non-participating landowner is one who has not permitted construction of a wind turbine on his or her property and who has not contractually granted rights to a wind farm developer, under the ordinance.

The board was due to vote on the proposal Monday, but the decision is being pushed back to the Dec. 20 meeting while further research is done on the issue. Commissioner Tom Murtaugh said the county is getting additional input from an acoustic consultant out of Chicago.

That extra consideration is one of the steps residents like Peretin have been pushing for.

The commissioners approved an ordinance in August that set the wind turbine noise limit at 45 decibels. Peretin said she and others had wanted the limit set at 35 decibels.

Lobbied for change

After the 45-decibel limit was set in August, representatives of wind energy companies sought the change to 50 decibels. Commissioners said even at 50 decibels the county’s wind ordinance would remain one of the strictest in the state.

Murtaugh hopes the consultant review will help decide if the county’s sound limit is still in an OK range “so we can put this issue to bed.” The commissioner said ordinances often need to be changed after the fact, but he doesn’t expect the county would have to make many substantive changes beyond the ones being considered.

Official plans for Tippecanoe County’s first wind farm were announced in early September.

Carmel-based Performance Services plans to build a 25-turbine wind farm on about 2,500 acres in the northwest part of the county.

In the southwestern part of Tippecanoe County, Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago is planning a wind farm with 133 turbines.

Greg Leuchtmann, development manager for Invenergy’s project, spoke in support of the proposed noise limit changes at last month’s meeting.

Comparable noise

According to Purdue’s audiology department, 50 decibels of sound equates to the noise of soft talking, a washing machine, a quiet air conditioner or an electric toothbrush.

But the sound levels are not the only issue in play, according to Carmen Krogh.

Krogh, a board member with The Society for Wind Vigilance in Canada, is helping collect information from people worldwide who’ve reported adverse health impacts from living close to wind turbines.

Krogh is a retired pharmacist who used to work with a group that monitored symptoms and reports after new drugs were released on the market. Now she’s trying to carry that practice into the study of wind energy developments, which she and others believe merit further scrutiny.

“We’re finding the number one issue (being reported) is sleep disturbance,” Krogh said. “If it’s chronic, that can lead to sleep deprivation, and medically it can lead to a lot of other conditions,” such as anxiety, stress and cognitive issues.

Debra Preitkis-Jones, a spokeswoman with the American Wind Energy Association, said wind plants are generally quiet and that developers try to be good neighbors.

And she pointed to a report from the chief medical officer of health in Ontario — where Krogh and others are collecting information — that found no scientific evidence demonstrating a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.

But Krogh said there’s simply too many unknowns. In the absence of human health studies, she said, companies have been relying on computer models to determine proper setbacks and noise levels.

“We would never put out a new drug without figuring out the impact to the human body,” she said. “Our position (on wind turbines) is we really need to pause and conduct the human health studies that correlate.”

Tippecanoe County officials dismissed a request residents made earlier this year to put a moratorium on wind farm developments here.

But Peretin said she’s still optimistic that the county will work with acoustic professionals through this process to make sure the quality of life for residents is protected.

Want to comment?

The Tippecanoe County commissioners will discuss and vote on the wind energy ordinance when they meet at 10 a.m. on Dec. 20.

The board also will meet at 10 a.m. Monday, and it takes public comment at all commissioners meetings.

The meetings are held in the Tippecanoe Room of the County Office Building, 20 N. Third St. in Lafayette.


Some of the symptoms that have been linked to living in close proximity to wind turbines include:
# Sleep disturbance
# Headache
# Dizziness, vertigo
# Ear pressure or pain
# Memory and concentration deficits
# Irritability, anger
# Fatigue, loss of motivation

Source: Audiology Today

12/4/10 What part of NO don't you understand? Wind farm strong arm tactics continue in spite of local ordinances


SOURCE: Dolan Media Newswires, dailyreporter.com

December 2, 2010

By Arundhati Parmar,

Minneapolis — Despite being rebuffed twice by state regulators, National Wind is not ready to withdraw from its proposed wind project in Goodhue County.

A frustrated executive said the wind development firm will try to get a speedy resolution within 60 days so National Wind can begin its 78-megawatt project next year.

“We are looking for every way possible to move forward,” said Chuck Burdick, senior wind farm developer at Minneapolis-based National Wind, which is developing the project on behalf of AWA Goodhue LLC. “We also are trying to protect the significant investment that has already been put in the project. Between $5 million and $6 million has already been invested.”

Burdick said he is frustrated the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is not holding other wind projects in the state to the same “unreasonable standard” that AWA Goodhue faces.

The project has run into stiff local opposition from residents worried about the negative health effects of living too close to wind turbines. Goodhue County adopted a strict local ordinance in early October requiring that each of the 50 turbines be at a distance of 10 rotor diameters — in this case, 2,700 feet — from the homes of landowners who have not leased land to the project.

“Last week, the PUC approved two site permits with a 1,000-foot setback,” Burdick said. “There’s a level of absurdity at this point.”

That 10-rotor setback would kill the project, lawyers for AWA have told the PUC, appealing to commissioners to ignore the local ordinance and allow construction.

The PUC commissioners referred the case back to the Office of Administrative Hearings, which this summer compiled volumes of information from both sides on the scientific evidence of whether noise and shadow flicker from the rotating turbines have negative health effects.

Once again, the case is pending.

Burdick said company lawyers are trying to get the contested hearing expedited so the matter is resolved in the next 60 days. Burdick said he is open to a compromise with the county and has contacted some commissioners, but the response has not been encouraging.

One of the points of compromise is to relax the 10-rotor requirement in favor of a stronger noise pollution requirement, Burdick said.

In an October meeting, before the ordinance was approved, many residents said the county should adopt a 10-rotor setback because that was the only way to protect them from the effects of large wind turbines.

Many rejected the notion there was a cost-effective way to measure the sound emitted and enforce the noise requirement.

The County Board had considered strengthening the sound requirement to 40 decibels from 50, the state maximum.

But a county resident said that is not acceptable.

“The World Health Organization recommends 35 decibels or less at nighttime,” said Barb Stussy, a Minneola township resident who has opposed the project. “The 40 decibels, as a compromise, does not address the nighttime noise.”



SOURCE: Hays Daily news, www.hdnews.net

December 2010

By Gayle Weber,

More than two dozen landowners in Ellis County and a prospective wind developer have filed a federal lawsuit against the Ellis County Commission over zoning regulations approved in August.

The suit, McClelland et al v. Ellis County Board of Commissioners, was filed Sept. 29 and amended Tuesday. Summonses were issued in the case Tuesday.

The amended complaint alleges the county’s zoning regulations, “if enforced, would prohibit plaintiffs from developing the wind rights on their properties.”

Nearly all of the plaintiffs in the case have entered into agreements to develop wind energy on their properties, according to the lawsuit.

The suit calls the adoption of the regulations “unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.” It also alleges the zoning regulations would deprive landowners of valuable property rights in a potential wind development and violates plaintiffs’ rights as granted in the state and U.S. constitutions.

The plaintiffs, who have requested a jury trial in Wichita, are asking for the U.S. District Court in Wichita to declare the zoning regulations void.

The plaintiffs also have asked for damages of $75,000, but the plaintiff’s attorney declined to clarify this morning if that amount is per plaintiff or a lump sum.

The plaintiffs are being represented by a trio of attorneys at Depew, Gillen, Rathbun and McInteer, Wichita.

The Ellis County Commission adopted new regulations Aug. 30. Those include increased setbacks and notification and protest petition areas in wind developments. A 40-decibel noise limit also was imposed in the wind energy regulations.

Commissioners voted 2-1 to adopt the regulations.

“It wasn’t scientific,” Commission Chairman Perry Henman said in August of setbacks, which were increased from 1,000 feet from residences to 10-times-the-tip-height.

“It was just a compromise of all the stuff that we’ve gone through for two or three years. I thought that would be sufficient for me, the least I could go without having a bunch of noise regulations,” Henman continued.

However, noise regulations were adopted also, and Commissioner Glenn Diehl said he hoped the new regulations would keep Ellis County out of a lawsuit.

“We had a 2,000-foot setback, and we ended up in court,” he said in August. “We already ended up in court. We already know what happens.”

Diehl and Henman voted in favor of the regulations, with Commissioner Dean Haselhorst dissenting.

A group of landowners in Hays Wind LLC’s proposed project southwest of Hays sued Ellis County in district court in 2008 over setbacks in the project. As the result of mediation, setbacks were increased from 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet. The conditions of mediation in the lawsuit were settled earlier this year.

* * *

Plaintiffs named in the new federal suit include:

Thomas and Martha McClelland, Kathleen Staab, T. Warren Hall, Stanley and Katrina Staab, Darrell Schmeidler, Kurt and Janel Staab, Gary Deutscher, Francis Staab, Todd and Jody Staab, Brian and Tonya Staab, and Harold and Virginia Kraus, all of Hays; Ernest Pfeifer, Kathy DeSaire, Verlin and Carol Armbrister, Gene and David Bittel dba Bittel Farms Partnership, Honas Farms LLC, Alvin and Margaret Armbrister, and Steven and Jeri Homburg, all of Ellis; Deanna Miller, Victoria; and Invenergy Wind Development LLC, Chicago.

11/12/10 From open arms to balled up fists: Getting to know the ways of Big Wind

Whitley County Residents Want Time To Debate Wind Farm
SOURCE:Indiana News Center

By Ryan Elijah

November 12, 2010

To St. Louis based Wind Capital Group, the farmland in Southern Whitley County symbolizes new energy opportunities. They have agreements in place with a number of landowners to construct 400-foot wind turbines on their property. The first phase of the plan would reportedly erect over 150 turbines, including 4 within 2500 feet of Jake Sherman's property.

"I'm not necessarily against this, I just want to make sure my family is safe, and that our property values don't go down", said Jake Sherman, Columbia City Resident.

We met with a dozen concerned residents, who didn't know about a public meeting last month. They just found out how the plans would impact their property.

They've organized a petition requesting a 6-month moratorium on plans, saying the community needs to be educated about possible problems including property values, noise and health concerns.

"They're doing a sales pitch and they're not going to tell you the negative. The side effects and health concerns are well documented We're not against the concept, all we want is more time to study it",
said Chad Shearer of Columbia City.

An official with Wind Capital Group told us much of the information on the internet is old. They say with new technology the turbines make very little noise and property values haven't been impacted in other areas. The company did confirm they've entered into agreements with a number of Whitley County landowners.

If approved, the wind farm would bring construction jobs and an estimated one million dollars per year to Whitley County. An owner with a unit on their property would also receive about 5-thousand dollars per year. We found members of a Wisconsin community who say they were misled by another company. Gerry Meyer's home has 4 turbines within 3300 feet and says the noise has changed his life.

A Chicago company called Invenergy owns the Wisconsin wind farm.
Meyer has kept a 2-year diary detailing sleepless nights, not to mention what's called a shadow flicker. The flicker is created at a certain time when the turbine's blades slice through the sunlight. He also took a cortisol test, which measures a stress hormone and the results came back a high level of 254, he was tested again after 21 days of the turbines being turned off and the result was a 35.

"it has completely taken away our quality of life and the life of others around us as well"

Meyer says he's embarrassed he trusted Wisconsin officials to do what was best for his community. Meyer also says a neighbors home took 13 months to sell recently and was sold for nearly $90,000 below its appraised value. He says he can hear a turbine from 3300 feet away, one reason he feels ordinances should require the setback from homes be much longer.

Like many counties, Whitley County doesn't have a wind ordinance and the Plan Commission has been crafting one for a number of months using 18 other community ordinances as a guide. The document is 18 pages and limits the turbines to 1200 feet from property lines and 50 decibels. Executive Director David Sewell says the commission is *not* approving the wind project, but putting regulations in place.
"They still will have to go through public hearings and rezoning.
They'll have an opportunity to present arguments", said Sewell.

If approved Wednesday night, the issue will move to the County Commissioners. Plan Commission member David Schilling is expected to abstain from the vote, since he reportedly has an agreement to place a wind turbine on his property.

Wind Capital says the process takes 3-4 years and the next step for them will be installing meteorological towers to test the wind in the area. It's expected they will receive federal tax dollars for the project.

Wind Capital says the industry setback standard is 1000 feet, that's what Wells County has approved, they hope to start construction of their wind farm in 2013.

SOURCE: The Portland Press Herald, www.pressherald.com
November 12 2010
Cheryl Lindgren


VINALHAVEN – A year ago, Fox Islands Wind began operating wind turbines on Vinalhaven Island. As a result, a community effort that began with eager anticipation is now tarnished.

As a neighbor of the wind turbine farm, this year has been a journey from hope to anger and disgust. Fox Islands Wind continues to misrepresent and mislead our community while using its authority to bully state regulators on the issue of violating noise standards.

Our experience has forced me to look into the deeper issues of industrial wind — the technology, the economics and the politics. It has been an uncomfortable journey that has changed my once honey-eyed vision of easy, green power to a view that industrial wind energy is, at present, bad science, bad economics and bad politics.

I add my voice to the growing number of Mainers who are demanding a moratorium on wind projects all over Maine.

Jonathan Carter, once an advocate for wind power, travels statewide to expose the arrogant destruction of mountaintops. David P. Corrington, a registered Maine Master Guide, has a new website, realwindinfoforme.org, that provides information about grid-scale industrial wind power development nationwide and industrial wind in Maine.

And there are the many voices of the residents of Camden, Montville, Bucksfield, Thorndike, Jackson and Dixmont who have repelled the efforts to locate windmills in their towns.

These voices, and countless others, are shouting truth in response to the half-truths, misrepresentations and distortions of wind developers.

Wind energy proponents continue to demand that we provide them with unprecedented resources and that we waive basic, traditional rights to discussion and debate.

They undermine local autonomy, enjoyment of property, and health and safety. They thumb their noses at environmental compliance and demand that citizens forgo normal, time-honored mechanisms of due process.

So, we must ask a simple question: How many more years will citizens be expected to pay, and what rights will we have to surrender, to benefit an unproven technology and the smoke-and-mirror economics that seem to be the foundation of industrial wind?

George Baker, vice president for community wind at the Island Institute and CEO of Fox Islands Wind, must be held responsible for the damages inflicted on our community. His Island Institute website says, “We will demonstrate how wind projects in the coastal area can be sited without adverse environmental and aesthetic impacts, and provide long-term economic benefits for local residents.”

Their failure to demonstrate success has placed our quiet community on the front pages of the nation’s top newspapers, including The New York Times.

How can the institute’s formula of 70 percent acceptance be deemed a success? What happens to the other 30 percent of us? Dismissed? Excused? Collateral damage?

Where do our neighbors find the money that has been stolen from them in lowered property values that they will never be able to recover? What happens with the increasing medical bills that families must shoulder from the stress of living with days filled with tortuous light flicker and sleepless nights of low-frequency rumblings?

How can the Island Institute justify Fox Islands Wind’s preposterous use of the ridiculous efforts of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, compiling data from summer residents with an experiment that started in October?

How can anyone call this past year a success when Fox Islands Wind refuses to share financial information to show exactly where the purported savings are coming from and what the projections for the next several years might be?

I know that the Baker/Island Institute strategy is to wear the neighbors down. That is not going to happen. It gives us strength to know that, while Baker, the Island Institute and their cronies congratulate themselves in their boardrooms, they should be aware the nation is watching them with a jaundiced eye.

After this long year I can only shake my head and say: Shame on the Island Institute, shame on Fox Islands Wind, shame on all the other wind projects that are changing the face of Maine for the profit of a few ex-governors, ex-public utility chairmen and ex-Harvard professors.

Cheryl Lindgren is a member of Fox Islands Wind Neighbors, a group of concerned residents working toward responsible renewable energy on Vinalhaven.



SOURCE:The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au
November 12 2010


Glenbrae farming couple Carl and Sam Stepnell walked away from their nine-year-old home last week, claiming turbines near their property were making them sick.

Mr Stepnell, 39, said the family had bought a second home in Ballarat, and now return to the property during the day to run the family farm.

“Our parents are in their seventies and live at the other end of the place,” Mr Stepnell said yesterday.

“For Dad to pull over at the shed, come over here and have a cuppa… and his grand kids aren’t here.

“The heart and soul has gone out of our home, which was us and our kids.”

Mrs Stepnell, 37, said she began to suffer symptoms immediately after turbines were turned on near her house 14 months ago.

“I’ve never suffered anything like it before,” she said.

“Instant pressure in the ears and in the head, inability to sleep.

“The trouble is that it is not like a broken arm or leg. You can’t see it.

“Some nights the noise was unbearable. You cannot relax. You can’t get to sleep.”

Mr Stepnell said he suffered symptoms more slowly than his wife, but after eight months he was regularly experiencing heart palpitations, “weird sensations.

“It just didn’t feel right,” he said.

The couple built their home nine years ago on the family farm.

They said they conferred with their doctor but felt there was no other option but to move out.

Mr Stepnell said all symptoms had immediately abated since they stopped sleeping at their Lobbs Road home.

He said they had declined to have wind turbines on their property when the wind farm was being planned because they were aware of alleged health problems.

The Waubra Wind Farm comprises 128 wind turbines, about 35kms north west of Ballarat.

Earlier this year the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council found no published scientific evidence linking wind turbines with illness.



SOURCE The Courier, www.thecourier.com.au

November 12 2010 


Property owners gagged by wind turbine companies will be able to give evidence to a Federal Senate inquiry.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding was in Glenbrae yesterday to encourage locals to make submissions to the inquiry into the social and economic impact of wind farms in rural areas.

Standing against a backdrop of rotating Waubra wind turbines, Senator Fielding said it would be a “real concern” if anyone was gagged from coming forward on the issue.

“Clearly people in this region, in Waubra and beyond, haven’t been heard and this is your chance to have your say,” Senator Fielding told a group of about 20 residents.

“I don’t know of any other country at the federal level having an inquiry like this.

“If a confidential agreement has been made you have to honor that as well, but it would be a shame not to hear views in a way that doesn’t reveal details.”

Under Senate inquiry rules, a person is prohibited from inducing another person to refrain from giving evidence.

Senate inquiries also carry Parliamentary privilege and evidence may be given confidentially.

It is understood further advice is being sought in relation to confidentiality agreements signed with wind farm companies, and Senator Fielding said he will make further investigations into the matter.

The meeting was held at the former home of Carl and Sam Stepnell.

Mr and Mrs Stepnell and their three children relocated to Ballarat last week due to claimed adverse health effects from living in close proximity to turbines.

“We couldn’t handle it any more,” Mr Stepnell said after the meeting. “All the symptoms…”

Mr Stepnell said the house had five turbines located within a kilometre.

Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Council was in Ballarat this week with a report confirming that noise from wind farms does not have any adverse health effects.



SOURCE: http://countylive.ca/blog/?p=7647

November 11, 2010

by Henri Garand,  Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)

The First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Adverse Health Effects, held this past weekend in Picton, brought together American, British and Canadian acousticians, physicists, physicians, and medical researchers. The audience came from across Ontario and the United States and from as far as Australia.

Our understanding of how wind turbines can affect human health is steadily increasing. Since the facts often contradict the Ontario government’s and wind industry’s claims, it may be useful to clarify the current state of knowledge.

1. Claim: Ontario’s regulations are the best in the world.

FACTS: Orville Walsh, CCSAGE chair and APPEC vice president, studied government regulations in every country hosting wind turbines. The standards differ widely and most are based on noise, not setback distances. Ontario’s noise level is 40 dbA, measured outside a home. Countries, like Germany, with lower levels cite either 35 dbA or +3 dbA above ambient sound. Night time ambient sound in a rural area is typically 30 dbA or less. (On the dbA scale, the ear can detect a difference of +/- 2-3 decibels and perceives 10 decibels as a doubling of sound.)

2. Claim: The sounds heard from wind turbines are no louder than whispers or a refrigerator.

FACTS: Dr. John Harrison, a physicist, explained that wind turbine sounds, especially the “swoosh,” are different because of their amplitude and can exceed the 40 dbA regulatory limit because turbine sitings are based on computer models, not live measurements. Moreover, turbine noise is not masked by natural sounds and can sometimes be perceived over great distances. Depending on weather conditions and cloud cover, a large installation of wind turbines, such as those planned for Lake Ontario, could emit over 40 dbA of noise as far as 9-15 km away.

3. Claim: Wind Turbines do not produce low-frequency sound.

FACTS: Acoustician Rick James exhibited spectrograms of the sound coming from land-based wind turbines in which the low-frequency component was substantial and could be measured more than 5 km away. He also compared the symptoms of people suffering from “Wind Turbine Syndrome” to the identical symptoms reported in the 1970’s and 80s by those working in so-called “sick buildings.” The latter problem was eventually identified as due to infra low-frequency sound (ILFN) transmitted through ducting.

4. Claim: People cannot detect infrasound.

FACTS: Dr. Alex Salt, a physiologist, described his recent research findings in which parts of the inner ear reacted visibly to infrasound. His research shows that the ear does respond to low-frequency sound even though we do not perceive it as sound. Further research will be required to understand how these impulses are transmitted to the brain, with possible disturbance and detrimental effects.

5. Claim: Complaints about wind turbine noise indicate annoyance, which is harmless.

FACTS: Dr. Arline Bronzaft, a noise researcher, explained how daytime transit noise near a New York City public school went well beyond annoyance and affected students’ academic achievement. The effects of noise disturbance are not restricted to nighttime, and the effects of noise on children can be profound, impacting development.

6. Claim: Wind turbine noise is harmless.

FACTS: Dr. Christopher Hanning, a specialist in Sleep Medicine, explained how noise can disrupt the sleep patterns necessary for health and how loss of sleep affects memory and thinking, and can lead in the long term to risks of diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Nina Pierpont, a physician and researcher and author of Wind Turbine Syndrome, explained how auditory systems react to sound and the negative effects of wind turbine sound on the patients she has studied.

7. Claim: Wind turbine noise affects few people seriously.

FACTS: Dr. Michael Nissenbaum reported on his studies of people living near wind projects in Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine. Both studies indicate that residents within 2 km and beyond, compared to a control group outside the project areas, suffered serious sleep disturbance and stress.

8. Claim: Wind turbines are safe because no peer-reviewed studies prove otherwise.

FACTS: Dr. Carl Phillips, an epidemiologist, explained that clinical reports around the world are sufficient evidence of adverse health effects and that wind industry denials reflect misunderstanding of the stages of scientific inquiry and the value of peer review.

9. Claim: Wind development serves the public good.

FACTS: Carmen Krogh, board member of the Society for Wind Vigilance, applied the concept of social justice to public health and presented testimonies from Ontario, Germany, and Japan of people suffering from wind projects. Ontario rural residents are dismayed, to put it mildly, that every government agency has ignored their plight.

10. Claim: Ontario’s Green Energy Act is unchallengeable.

FACTS: Lawyer Eric Gillespie outlined the legal actions Ontario residents can take against wind development, including the appeal process for the Ministry of Environment’s Renewable Energy Approval of projects. Appeals, however, must meet a high standard by proving that harm to health is serious or harm to the environment is both serious and irreversible. By contrast, the Ian Hanna case has only to prove scientific uncertainty about the harm to human health.

11. Claim: Wind development saves lives by closing coal-burning electricity plants.

FACTS: Economist Dr. Ross McKitrick reported that Ontario’s air pollution has declined steadily since the 1960s and that, according to data from government measuring stations, coal-related emissions are no more than one part per billion. Statistics of 250 to 9,000 Ontario deaths annually related to coal burning are based on dubious computer models from elsewhere; they are not founded on actual certificates of death. There is simply no problem on which wind energy development could have a positive effect.

12. Claim: Wind Energy Development is a solution to the Need for Electricity.

FACTS: Journalist Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry: The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, described society’s need for reliable electric power, not intermittent, variable wind energy. Since there is no technology for mass storage of electricity, the power produced from wind cannot contribute substantially to electricity supply, let alone replace base load.

Considering the adverse health effects and practical limitations of wind energy, how is it that wind development remains so popular? The answer lies in twenty years of social marketing, environmental fears, and the false economic hope of green jobs. The Symposium should make everyone question what the Ontario government and wind industry would like us to believe.

11/11/10 What $18,000 a year will buy you: a family in turmoil and a community torn apart AND What part of Conflict of Interest don't you understand?


SOURCE: WBAY-TV, www.wbay.com

November 10, 2010 By Jeff Alexander,

It could be months before a decision is reached about a controversial plan to build what would be the state’s largest wind farm in southern Brown County.

Tensions are rising in the communities of Morrison, Hollandtown, and Wrightstown. The battle lines are drawn, and have been for a year now, throughout the farm lands.

“The fight is not over in my mind — or in reality. It’s not over,” Jon Morehouse said.

Morehouse leads a group of more than 200 residents opposing a plan by a Chicago-based company to erect 100 wind turbines.

The state’s Public Service Commission and lawmakers will have the final say, but Morehouse says he was told by several lawmakers Wednesday it could be spring before a decision is made.

But that’s not what Roland Klug is hearing. Klug says he’s already receiving money from a contract he signed to have two turbines on his property.

He says a project engineer told him construction will start soon.

“In the winter they’ll start getting the roads in and things, and I hope by next year this time they should be up,” Klug said.

Late Wednesday afternoon Action 2 News received word from the Public Service Commission that it’s still waiting for the wind farm developer, Invenergy, to complete its application for the project. The PSC says Invenergy withdrew its original application.

While Klug stands to make $18,000 a year for the use of his land, it’s coming at a cost. “My own kids don’t talk to me. It’s really hard.”

The wind turbine debate has become so heated and divisive here in southern Brown County, the principal of Morrison Zion Lutheran School says staff recently imposed a moratorium on students discussing the topic during school.

As residents wait for final word, opinions become stronger and wounds grow deeper.

“I think anything can be healed, but it has to be talked about,” Morehouse said.

But even that hasn’t helped so far.


NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Below, another news story regarding the issue of conflict of interest between members of local government who have the power to push a wind project through and the wind developers who offer them lucrative contracts to help make this happen. This scenario is being played out in communities all over North America, including here in the Badger state.

While creating rules governing the siting of wind turbines, Wisconsin's  Public Service Commission had an opportunity to provide language which would protect communities from such conflicts of interest. The Public Service Commission declined to do so.


SOURCE: Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com

November 11, 2010 

by Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer,

CAPE VINCENT — A Planning Board meeting devolved into physical confrontation between an opponent of industrial wind power projects in the town and Chairman Richard J. Edsall.

At the beginning of the meeting Wednesday night, Mr. Edsall asked for approval of the board’s minutes from a previous meeting.

Hester M. Chase, a community wind project supporter but opponent of the two industrial-scale projects, stood and said the board was not acting legally. The board’s bylaws say public comments “shall be received prior to the conduct of the regular business agenda.”

“We have the right to make comment,” she said. “We’re going to start getting our rights straight.”

The board members turned toward each other and spoke, apparently approving the minutes from Oct. 13. It is unclear whether they also approved minutes from an Oct. 27 meeting with Acciona Wind Energy USA, developer of St. Lawrence Wind Farm. During the Oct. 27 meeting, the board accepted a list of what remained to be done for a complete site plan from the developer.

That meeting was stopped for an hour by wind power opponents protesting action by the board, which has three members who have conflicts of interest with Acciona or BP Alternative Energy, the other wind developer in the town.

Ms. Chase had a different version of the minutes that included the topic of the protest and said the board had proceeded with the meeting while the audience was unaware of its actions.

“They’re so fraudulent that I just felt they should be corrected,” she said after Wednesday’s meeting. “The bylaws permit the public to speak before regular business is conducted and I wanted to correct those minutes.”

Ms. Chase said frustration at having unanswered questions on setbacks on wind farms and what the board will allow the developers to do led to her actions. The Planning Board has decided on rules to govern the approval process that include allowing two public hearings with comments limited to people who live within one-half mile of the project, she said.

“I was just stunned at how cavalierly or arbitrarily they were making things up,” she said. “I had held onto the hope that they were truly going to do right by their community. I see that they seem to be fulfilling loyalty roles to BP and Acciona, I guess.”

On Wednesday night, Mr. Edsall opened a public hearing on a subdivision without addressing Ms. Chase’s concerns.

“Mr. Edsall, you are out of order,” Ms. Chase said.

The public hearing, he said, was for comments on the subdivision only.

“These people have the right to due process,” Mr. Edsall said.

“How can you make decision on anything if the board is corrupt?” asked Michael R. Bell, Cape Vincent.

Mr. Edsall responded, “These people have followed the rules.”

The board held public hearings and voted on two subdivisions. The three members, Mr. Edsall, Andrew R. Binsley and George A. Mingle, did not have maps available to act on a third subdivision.

Mr. Edsall then told wind opponents that if they wanted to talk about wind power development, the earliest the board would hold a meeting on it would be February.

He then asked to adjourn the meeting.

“You cannot do that,” Ms. Chase spoke up. “You are despicable. You approved the minutes, which are totally, totally false.”

She moved toward the dais and began passing papers to the board members.

Mr. Edsall said, “When we have a wind meeting, you can talk about wind.”

Mr. Bell said, “It’s about procedure — this is about procedure.”

Ms. Chase said, “You just lied to the whole community.”

As Mr. Edsall moved off the dais, she stood between the desk and a table. She appeared to bump into him. Mr. Edsall threatened to call the police if she touched him again.

She said he bumped into her.

“Will you get out of my way?” he asked.

She refused, but eventually let him pass. As the board members left, some members of the public berated them for passing the minutes. About a third of the audience consisted of wind power supporters. Some of them told the vocal opponents to back down.