Entries in wind turbine shadow flicker (28)
10/1/11 Property Values and Wind Turbines: How long will the wind industry continue to deny the obvious?
ONTARIO WIND POWER BRINGING DOWN PROPERTY VALUES
By John Nicol and Dave Seglins,
SOURCE: CBC News, www.cbc.ca
October 1, 2011
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.
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 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 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.
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, 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.”
7/2/11 Better Plan is Back in the Saddle: What about the TWO MILE setback in Oregon state? AND What's all this noise about turbine noise in Michigan?
From Oregon State:
THE FUTURE OF WIND DEVLOPMENT
READ ENTIRE STORY AT SOURCE East Oregonian, www.eastoregonian.com
July 1, 2011
By Samantha Tipler,
In the minutes after Umatilla County commissioners made their decision to approve tougher requirements for wind turbines, some people celebrated.
Others proclaimed it would be the end of the wind power business in Umatilla County.
Even the commissioners themselves were split, with Commissioner Bill Hansell voting against the two-mile setback requirement.
Exactly how these changes will affect wind power development has yet to be seen, but wind power advocates say it means the end to development in the county.
John Audley, deputy director from Renewable Northwest Project, a group advocating renewable energy, said he watched Umatilla County’s lawmaking process closely. He was disappointed in the result.
“I read this as the county saying go someplace else,” he said.
He was particularly taken by a map with two-mile setback circles around homes in a portion of Umatilla County. Those circles covered almost all the space on the map.
“There’s no opportunity for development,” Audley said. “My sense is that’s what the county wanted to say. They felt it was important to just say no.”
Elaine Albrich, with Stoel Rives of Portland, said likewise. She was personally at the meetings the county held, advocating for wind companies.
“While we understand the board had a difficult decision to make, we are disappointed in the outcomes and the process,” she said. “The impacts of the code amendment will vary from project to project but overall I can anticipate less economic development in the county from renewable energy development.”
Umatilla County Planning Director Tamra Mabbott said from her perspective, the changes to the laws will not close the door to wind development.
“We have clear objective standards designed to balance the interest of the developers and the interests of folks who will live near the development,” she said. “It’s not at all intended to foreclose development opportunities.”
In the past 15 years, Umatilla County has seen nine wind power operations sited in the county. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have been built, they’ve just passed the paperwork to be allowed to build.
There were three in 2009, two in 2002 and one each in 1997,2001, 2008 and 2011.
The 2011 wind farm — a roughly 100 megawatt project from a company called WKN Chopin LLC — started its paperwork in February, so it will not be subject to the new laws. It is still going through its permitting process, Mabbott said.
Any wind power companies applying after the commissioners made their decision Tuesday would have to go through the new process.
The biggest procedural change, she said, will be in the pre-application process. Rather than just consulting with other agencies, the county, the company and those agencies will have a meeting.
“With the pre-application meeting we get those comments right up front” Mabbott said. “That’s helpful for everybody involved, particularly with a real big project.”
The county regulations only apply to operations 105 megawatts and smaller. Larger operations are sited through the state.
Then it goes through the Energy Facility Siting Council.
Bryan Wolfe, of Hermiston, is chairman of that council, and he and his colleagues have been keeping an eye on the changes happening in Umatilla County.
“I know Umatilla County has done what they feel is necessary for them,” Wolfe said.
The siting council, too, has seen a need to revamp rules at the state level.
The council’s last two meetings bled with frustration over the inadequacy of the current rules.
The last two meetings have dealt with the Helix Wind Power Facility site amendment, doubling the size of the project. Though several members expressed dissatisfaction with that jump in size, the wind company met all the regulations, and the council approved it.
But even as the council members did so, they said things need to change. They’ve been waiting for the Legislature to wrap up before it begins that review.
Those state rules, set by the Legislature, haven’t changed in about a decade, Wolfe said.
“We should, in light of the knowledge we have, we should start updating things,” Wolfe said. “Yes, we are very aware of what the county is doing.”
When the state permits a wind farm application that would be placed in Umatilla County it considers local rules.
“When we site a project within a county,” Wolfe said, “the county has to sign off on their rules. And if the rules are more stringent than ours, then that will come into play in our decision for a state certificate.”
Wolfe was unsure if Umatilla County’s tougher standards, like the two-mile setback or the protection of the Walla Walla Watershed, would set a precedent in other counties.
Planing offices in Morrow, Union and Gilliam Counties said yes, they were aware of what Umatilla County was doing, but they did not know if it would affect them. Gilliam County — which, along with Morrow County, is where the largest wind farm in the world, Shepherds Flat, is planned — said it likely wouldn’t be affected because it is farther away from Umatilla County.
GROUP RECOMMENDS STRICTER NOISE LEVELS FOR MICHIGAN WIND FARMS
SOURCE: MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
June 30, 2011
We believe wind turbines will benefit our state by offering a viable source of alternative energy, but the public must be protected from risks to safety and health."
Specifically, the new report calls for noise levels not to exceed 40 decibels, much lower than the 55 decibels the state recommends now in its 2008 guideline.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — As the call for alternative energy grows louder in Michigan and more communities consider wind farms, a group led by a pair of Michigan State University professors has issued a report calling for stricter regulations on noise levels and providing zoning guidelines for local municipalities.
MSU's Ken Rosenman and Jerry Punch, along with retired Consumers Energy engineer William MacMillan, tackle four main issues in their report on wind turbines: physical safety, shadow flicker (caused by shadows cast when sunlight hits a turbine's turning blades), conflict resolution and the most contentious issue related to turbines: noise levels.
"We strongly recommend the state of Michigan consider our recommendations in revising its 2008 guideline on the placement of onshore wind turbines," said Rosenman, the chief of MSU's Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the College of Human Medicine.
"We believe wind turbines will benefit our state by offering a viable source of alternative energy, but the public must be protected from risks to safety and health."
Specifically, the new report calls for noise levels not to exceed 40 decibels, much lower than the 55 decibels the state recommends now in its 2008 guideline.
"A level of 55 decibels or higher presents unacceptable health risks," said Rosenman, citing research from the World Health Organization that found repeated exposures to a level of 40 decibels at night lead to long-term adverse health effects such as cardiovascular disease, while shorter-term exposures are associated with sleep disturbances.
While the report says published evidence directly linking noise from wind turbines to adverse health effects is based on studies of airport and road traffic noise, "there is no reason to suspect wind turbine noise will have less of a harmful effect than noise from road traffic or airplanes," Rosenman said.
The report also sets guidelines on how to best measure noise levels and includes information on zoning waivers for municipalities.
Additionally, the report calls for a minimum distance from each turbine to the nearest residence or residential property line to provide adequate safety in the event of falling towers, blade failure or ice throw.
"But it can't be assumed that distances that protect against physical safety are adequate to protect against annoyance and sleep disturbance from noise," said Punch, a retired professor of audiology in the MSU's Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders.
The report also sets out the process for municipalities to measure and predict shadow flicker, as well as ways to mitigate the problem.
Finally, Punch said, the report recommends several ways for municipalities to minimize complaints and disputes regarding wind turbines, including a mediation process as an alternative to litigation and "good-neighbor" payments to residents within pre-determined distances of wind turbines.
There currently are only a handful of wind farms operating in the state, but several municipalities are considering adding wind farms in the near future. Rosenman and Punch said they hope municipalities use the group's report as a guideline for zoning issues that arise when turbines are built. The report can be found at http://www.oem.msu.edu/userfiles/file/Resources/WindandHealthReport.pdf.
5/27/11 The making of the BBC's Windfarm Wars AND Miserable because of turbine noise? Tough luck, whiner. Live with it.
FROM THE U.K.
WINDFARM WARS: FILMING THE RENEWABLE ENERGY DEBATE IN DEVON
May 24, 2011
When I convinced the BBC to commission Windfarm Wars, call me naive, but I had no idea it would take seven years of my life to deliver. And doubtless most of the people we've followed with the camera over all those years didn't figure their lives would evolve this way either.
And, over that time, the whole question of how the country best provides for its burgeoning energy needs in a sustainable way has, quite simply, become more and more tortuous. Toxic even.
Windfarms divide opinion like few other topics. They are beautiful to some, eyesores to others.
They are free sustainable energy or expensively inefficient. They desecrate the landscape, or they protect its future existence.
For a filmmaker treading into this minefield, the antagonism between incoming developers and the local residents they seek to convince can be most difficult to negotiate.
It would be sited four-and-a-half miles from the northern edge of Dartmoor National Park, in the shallow valley of Den Brook.
I started as the film's executive producer, largely office-based, but with a director and small team on location.
But, seven years later, I had become the sole production member the budget could still afford to have on location, shooting on my own to see the story through - and the windfarm had still not been built
Early on, we were lucky enough to gain access to all sides of the Den Brook dispute, from developers RES, to landowners and protestors alike, and to the council and council planning committee.
As the story went on, and on, over the years, this access widened to include lawyers and barristers, expert witnesses, and the planning inspectors involved in public inquiries.
Maintaining everyone's commitment and involvement over the long years of the process demanded confidentiality and tact.
Each side had to trust that we would not tell the other things that only we knew.
Windfarm Wars was originally commissioned as a single film - an observational documentary. We would follow whatever happened, wherever developments took us.
By the time the commission fell into place and the director of the first film, Olly Lambert, arrived in Devon, RES had already held their introductory exhibitions, where they showed the residents of the nearby villages what the windfarm might look like and where it would be situated, and answered their interests and concerns.
Feelings for and against the windfarm were already running high.
It's difficult to gauge the true feelings of a whole community. One of the ways is to go by those who have bothered to write letters to the council.
When the closing date came, the council had 402 letters and 3,000 questionnaires in objection and 31 letters in support.
We roughly assembled the material as we went along but each time a viewing with the BBC had come due, it was apparent that a chapter may have finished - but the big story was still unresolved.
Luckily they had the vision to keep running with it. Eventually it became a four-part series. BBC channel controllers have come and gone while waiting for it to materialise.
At times, as long waits for the next part of the planning or legal process had to be endured, it was tempting to wrap up the project, but I wanted everyone involved in the whole process to know it was being documented very publicly, and that it would be seen through to the end.
And, as concerns about global warming, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and the security of energy supplies became more and more acute over the years, the project gained in significance, and just had to be seen through.
What emerged is what I hope some people will see as a unique social record of how one of the nation's key dilemmas has unfolded in the early 21st century.
The four films unravel as a narrative story, and while viewers think they may know where they stand initially, a fair few may well change along the way.
Windfarm Wars will no doubt raise tempers, and for some of the many people who've taken part it will be difficult viewing - not least to see how we've all aged through the process.
Perhaps it will be difficult too, because all sides may need to confront and acknowledge mistakes, to review how they could have done things better.
For many, it's clearly been a journey that's taken courage, commitment and faith in the search for what each perceive to be the truth - the best way forward for the good of all. There may be regrets.
I hope, though, that the end product of the process of documentation has been usefully revealing and thought provoking, and that it will, in time, repay the commitment that many gave to the project. We'll see - soon enough.
Jeremy Gibson started as executive producer and also worked as series producer of Windfarm Wars.
WIND TURBINE NOISE ANNOYING 'FACT OF LIFE' PROVINCIAL LAWYER SAYS
READ ENTIRE STORY AT THE SOURCE: Postmedia News, www.ottawacitizen.com
May 27, 2011
By Lee Greenberg
A government lawyer fighting off a major challenge to wind energy in Ontario says the foremost health impact complained about by detractors is not a medical condition at all, but a “fact of life.”
Frederika Rotter cast aspersions on the term “annoyance,” which opponents describe as a critical health condition caused by giant wind turbines, which emit noise that, they say, causes a number of other physiological effects, including sleep disturbance, headache, irritability, problems with concentration and depression.
“Annoyance doesn’t equal ‘serious harm to human health,’ ” Rotter told an Environmental Review Tribunal panel Thursday. “You could be annoyed by your neighbour’s screaming. Everyone suffers from annoyance.”
Eric Gillespie, a lawyer for an antiwind group hoping to keep industrial wind farms out of the province, argued Thursday that the government didn’t adequately consider the adverse effects of wind turbines on human health.
The hearing is an attempt by Gillespie and the grassroots anti-wind organization he represents to appeal an eight-turbine wind farm run by Suncor Energy Services Inc. in southwestern Ontario known as Kent Breeze. The project in Chatham-Kent is to be the first under Ontario’s Green Energy Act, the 2009 legislation designed to encourage wind, solar and other renewable energy projects in the province.
The legislation is lauded by environmentalists but has stirred controversy in rural communities, which, under the new law, have lost the power to determine where the massive turbines will be placed.
While wind energy is generally supported from afar, it generates substantial opposition in host communities. The Green Energy Act was designed to combat that NIMBYism by centralizing the decision-making process.
A large group of angry rural residents joined together in response and funded the current case against Kent Breeze.
While Gillespie, the group’s lawyer, couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the health effects of turbines -saying it could be low-frequency noise, infrasound (not audible to humans) or even visual appearance -he compared the situation to a restaurant serving contaminated food.
The restaurant would be closed, he said, before health authorities determined whether it was “the tomatoes or the fish” that caused the food poisoning.
“We don’t wait,” he said. “We act.” Rotter accused Gillespie of building a spurious, scattergun case against turbines. “The bulk of his evidence is speculation and fearmongering,” she said.
The government lawyer said many of the anti-wind group’s “experts” were in fact advocates.
They include Dr. Robert Mc-Murtry, a notable orthopedic surgeon and former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario who became interested in turbines when an installation was proposed near his residence in Prince Edward County.
Rotter said McMurtry and two other physicians relied upon by Gillespie were members of local wind opposition groups as well as an international group that opposes wind turbines.
The research the doctors conducted was not in their field of expertise and was based on “biased and selective evidence,” she said.
“It was done to prove a thesis they already had in pursuit of making their case.”
Gillespie concluded his submissions by stating the Chatham-Kent wind farm, if allowed to go ahead, “will cause serious harm to human health.”
Rotter disagreed, playing down the impact the turbines will have on its neighbours.
“Noise is noise,” she said. “We all live with it. It’s not harmful at the volumes that will be generated at Kent Breeze. Whether you’re annoyed by it is another story.”
The panel will decide on the case by July 18.
4/2/11: Arrogance, a 'metaphorical Kalashnikov' and a wind lobbyist's royal 'We'-- Is it We the People or We Energies? AND Wind developers deny there is a problem while wind project residents describe their misery: Same story told with an Australian Accent AND with a Midwestern Accent AND Malfunction at the Junction: New Jersey halts approval of on-land turbines after blades fall off wind turbine
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Stereotyping isn't new to those of us who have expressed concerns about the wind industry's impact on people, wildlife, property values and the environment. The terms used in the following article include the usual 'NIMBY' along with 'rabid', 'shrill,' 'emotional, and divisive.'
A wind lobbyist well known for his bizarre metaphors and dismissive attitude toward people he deems 'anti-wind' adds a few more choice phrases here, this time using the pronoun "we" instead of "I"--
Describing the JCRAR's recent suspension of the Public Service Commission's wind rules, he says,
"That was a political hit job. We refer to that committee as the firing squad"
"We're kind of enjoying this momentary lull because we've been in a shooting war, metaphorically, with Gov. Walker since January 3. So it's nice to be able to put down the metaphorical Kalashikov and talk about strategy."
Who is 'we' in this instance? The 'business members' who pay this fellow include power giants Alliant Energy, American Transmission Company, We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, along with big names in the wind business like Invenergy, enXco, and Horizon. Yet he's not identified as a lobbyist in this piece. Did the reporter not know?
One thing that distinguishes this article is the reporter's rare inclusion of the voices of two Fond du Lac County wind project residents who have been experiencing trouble since the turbines went on line near their homes.
Read what they have to say about their experience and decide for yourself who sounds 'shrill, rabid, emotional and divisive' in this article.
EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION: Does 'full disclosure' apply to paid lobbyists making public statements? Should lobbyists identify themselves as such to a reporter? Or should it be up to the reporter to find out by doing their homework?
AND THE WIND CRIES....UNCLE
Week of April 1, 2011
By Jim Lundstrom
Before the 1936 Rural Electrification Act brought electricity to the boonies, wind was the chief source of power for many country folk. Eventually, the windmills that once dotted the rural landscape were replaced by many forests’ worth of utility poles and probably millions of miles of cable.
It’s been lost to us how those farmers felt about their vistas being ruined and the rural nature of their property being destroyed by the ugly electrification program. Or was the prospect of entering the 20th century with the flick of a switch a salve to their bruised souls?
Wind energy never really went away, but it did go into deep hibernation for most of the rest of the 20th century, only roused from sleep by nervous consumers during the fossil fuel energy crises of the 1970s.
Ironically, the oily state of Texas is a leader in wind farms, with a generating capacity of 10,085 MW. Naturally, it boasts the world’s largest in the Roscoe Wind Farm, with 627 wind turbines covering 100,000 acres and capable of generating 781.5 megawatts, enough to power a quarter of a million homes.
Iowa has the second largest capacity with 3,675 MW, followed by California (3,177 MW), Minnesota (2,192 MW) and Washington (2,104 MW). Wisconsin produces less than 500 MW with wind power.
For all the wind in Wisconsin – it ranks 16th in the nation for quality of wind – wind supplies only 1.7% of the state’s electricity, according to the Institute for Energy Research. Coal is tops for electricity generation, providing 62.5% of the state’s power. Nuclear energy from the state’s two nuke plants accounts for 20.7% Next is natural gas with a 9.1% share, followed by hydroelectric with 2.6%, and just below wind are wood/wood-derived products and petroleum, both supplying 1.2% each of the state’s power supply.
One of the best spots in the state to generate power from wind is on the high dolomite ledge on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. From County A in Neenah you can see the ghostly image of the northern Fond du Lac County wind turbines, close enough to Calumet County to put the wind up folks who don’t want wind turbines in their back yard.
Fond du Lac County is home to 166 wind turbines, including the 88 in the WE Energies Blue Sky Green Field Project, which has been the largest in the state since it went online in 2008. Those are the turbines you can see across Lake Winnebago.
Fond du Lac County reaped $625,000 in revenue from the various utilities who own the wind farms for 2010. We Energies gave landowners who host the turbines in the Blue Sky Green Fields project and the townships they are in a total of $440,000.
Blue Sky Green Field is currently the largest wind farm project in the state, but owner WE Energies will surpass that next year when Glacial Hills Wind Farm goes online with 90 turbines.
The uncertainty about wind in Wisconsin and the absence of regulatory stability were cited by Invenergy on March 21 when it asked the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to terminate its application process for the proposed 150MW Ledge Wind Energy Center in southern Brown County.
With utilities required to generate 10% of their power with renewable energy by 2015, wind seems to be a good investment, just not in Wisconsin right now after the Republican-heavy Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules suspended the Public Service Commission’s wind siting rule on the eve it was to take effect. And not with the emotional and divisive opposition to wind from the likes of former Republican state senator Robert Welch
Welch now serves as a well-dressed hired gun for groups that oppose wind energy, including Calumet County Citizens for Responsible Energy, a group that formed when wind farms were being proposed for Brothertown and other areas in Calumet County. The group has since assisted in efforts to oppose wind development in other parts of the state.
Welch reportedly was a member of Scott Walker’s “kitchen cabinet” during his successful campaign for governor, which goes a long way in explaining why the long debated and analyzed Wisconsin Public Service Commission wind siting ruling – known as PSC 128 – was suspended by a Republican-dominated legislative committee the day before it was to go into effect on March 1.
“That was a political hit job. We refer to that committee as the firing squad,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of Renew Wisconsin and one of the 11 members of the PSC Wind Siting Council that crafted PSC 128.
“We are actually trying to implement the state’s own policies. The state actually prefers native renewable energy over importing coal. It’s in the statutes,” Vickerman said, but adds it has been a Sisyphean task given the rabid opposition to wind in Wisconsin. “We think we’re advancing the public interest of the state. To come across this opposition can be bewildering. Four years of policy work and lobbying and negotiating, and now we’re back to 2007.”
Appearing at a March 2 public hearing on Calumet County’s proposed wind siting ordinance, which essentially mirrored PSC 128 (by law, a local ordinance could not be more restrictive than the state rules), Welch said it was the 1,250-foot setback from a non-participating landowner’s residence that killed PSC 128. He and his paying constituents have long advocated an 1,800-foot setback from a non-participating property line rather than residence.
“The proposed 1,800-foot from property line setback, that is a very strategically designed number. It systematically destroys wind power in Wisconsin,” said Jeff Carlson, who does wind siting analysis and mapping for wind projects. He said with all the other buffer zones and inherent setbacks for public roads and power lines, the 1,800-foot rule makes it virtually impossible to put all the pieces of a wind farm puzzle together.
Welch told the assembled audience that the “wholesale change in the Legislature” means that all the “hoopla” surrounding green energy mandates and global warming has “sort of gone away.”
Not gone, Vickerman said, but in a temporary holding pattern.
“We’re kind of enjoying this momentary lull because we’ve been in a shooting war, metaphorically, with Gov. Walker since Jan. 3. So it’s nice to be able to put down the metaphorical Kalashnikov and talk about strategy,” he said. “What the legislative panel did was a suspension. If the legislature wants to repeal the siting rule, it would have to do so, it has to pass both houses. We have a shot, some chance; we might succeed in stopping such a bill from clearing the legislature. If we don’t the rule does go back under a new rulemaking procedure with more hoops, the biggest one being the governor has to sign off, which wasn’t the case before.”
What’s wrong with wind farms?
Opponents of wind energy have a long list of complaints that include public subsidies for wind, aesthetics, property rights of non-participants, drop in property values, noise levels, shadow flicker, bird and bat mortality around turbines, disruption of radio and TV signals, and a host of physical complaints that a minority of wind turbine neighbors have expressed. And, of course, there are the ever-present NIMBYs who might not actually oppose wind energy, but they don’t want to look at wind turbines from their property.
The most specious argument is public subsidies of wind. Yes, there is a 10-year federal tax credit that provides 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour produced (that credit includes solar, geothermal and “closed-loop” bioenergy systems), but wind advocates point out that all forms of energy are subsidized in some way by we the people, and some in far more shameful examples of public policy than a 10-year federal tax credit. Think of all the body bags and human misery that have subsidized fossil fuel and coal. Nuclear power, anyone?
“There’s a shrill nature to the opposition to wind, whether it’s political or whatever,” said Jeff Carlson, the wind-siting analyst. “When you’re going to defend the oil supply as one of your energies, there are a whole lot of costs that are never discussed.”
More disturbing are the various problems experienced by some who live within a wind farm project.
“I can’t stand them,” said Jim Vollmer, who in November 2002 bought a home in a small valley in the Town of Marshfield in northern Fond du Lac County.
Vollmer, a mechanic by trade, also raises chickens for meat and show. Both he and his chickens have suffered medical problems he attributes to the arrival of a Blue Sky Green Field turbine 1,600 feet from his home. He says it is a combination of noise, shadow flicker and vibration that have caused him and his chickens a host of medical problems and chronic sleeplessness.
“I’ve got sound and vibration here. Headaches. Migraines. Earaches. Memory loss. Shadow. Sometimes it feels like your vision is all blurred, you can’t see straight sometimes,” he said. “My birds are the biggest thing I’m concerned with. I’ve been raising them for 22 years, showing at fairs and things. I was growing meat birds, all of a sudden the shadow started showing. With the shadow in the barn, the birds think it’s a hawk or something overhead and they’re scared to hell. They quit laying or start rampaging. They start eating eggs and then I have a hell of a time to get them to stop eating them. Low hatch rates. Ones that did hatch had all kinds of birth defects on them. I gave up on the meat birds. Tried to get compensation for the chickens, but nothing.”
In the mitigation process, WE Energies outfitted Vollmer and his neighbors with satellite TV and radio to overcome transmission problems caused by the turbines, and they installed double-thick blinds to stop the shadow flicker from entering his home. That stopped the inside flicker, but the blinds also make it dark as a tomb inside.
“It’s so dark you have to turn lights on,” he said. “I told them I had shadow in the barn, and they won’t do nothing about that. They were supposed to do shadow mitigation.”
Vollmer feels he has exhausted all his options in resolving the problems. He has been to town board meetings. He has complained to WE Energies, the PSC, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, various law firms, and to state Sen. Joe Liebham, one of the six Republicans on the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules.
“I haven’t gotten anywhere. They all dropped the ball,” he said.
He believes his only remaining option is to sell his home and move away, but after two years on the market, “I haven’t had anyone bite on the thing yet,” he said. “I’ve had a couple people, but that was almost two years ago when I first listed it. I called another realtor up this year. I’ve had it on the market with him since Feb. 2. I dropped the price by $40,000. What really angsts me, I dropped it that much with a new realtor and that guy says we haven’t had anyone call or want to come and look at it. He said that’s not normal.”
Vollmer suggested that WE Energies buy his home.
“I told them straight up, buy the place, turn around and sell it for as much as you can get. And let me move on,” he said.
Kathy Weber runs the Pipe Meat Market in beautiful downtown Pipe. Just down County W she built a home in 2006. In 2008 a Blue Sky Green Field wind turbine was erected 850 feet from her back door.
“They built the tower too close to my house. I informed them at the time that it was too close and they put it up anyway. They are disputing the fact, saying that they had a contract before my house went up,” she said. “I told them my son has juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. I’m not saying it’s going to affect him, but I don’t want to find out. I took them at their word. The project manager for the wind farm told me after I mentioned it was too close to my house, he told me we will check the survey and get back to me. Being the country bumpkin I am, I went along with him. I came home from work one day and it was three-quarters up.”
While wind turbines as epilepsy triggers is often used as a reason against wind farms, there is little evidence to support the claim that turbines cause epileptic fits in those susceptible to them. Weber’s son, however, did have trouble concentrating, and in December moved to Fond du Lac.
Weber said she has experienced sleeping and ear problems since the turbine arrived.
“I’m 62. I never had trouble in my life with my ears,” she said.
She also learned that shadow flicker is not just a daytime problem.
“You get moon shadowing at night,” she said. “Yup, the full moon. I went to bed and I thought, ‘Oh no, don’t tell me’.”
Weber said there are times when the turbine physically makes its presence known through sound and motion.
“You can feel the difference when you’re outside and they’re moving,” she said. “People in Marytown, which is five miles away, can hear them. It’s a constant whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. In the summertime when I’m outside a lot, this may sound weird, but I start rhyming words to them, stupid words .”
Weber said WE Energies offered to lease the land from her house to the wind tower for $1,500 a year, “but I said no. I want it moved.”
But for all this, Weber is not against wind energy. She just doesn’t want a giant wind turbine literally in her back yard.
“They should not be near residential areas. They should be all together somewhere far away from residential,” she said.
“It’s not uncommon if people don’t get the resolution they expect or feel they deserve, they feel they’re not being listened to, but I can assure you we did extensive outreach efforts both prior to, during and even after in the community and with neighbors, to the extent of going door to door with participating landowners and non-participating landowners,” said Barry McNulty of WE Energies. “We’ve certainly done things to mitigate issues, too. You can’t satisfy everyone, but we’ve gone a long way to try to do so.”
“We’re not here to tell you that there are no impacts at all. There are,” said Michael Vickerman. “They tend to be localized. They don’t really have an affect on the state or the planetary environment. But when you look at the history of wind systems in this country, especially the older ones, they become accepted over time. It may take a couple of years. The howls of protest you hear now, they die off.”
Click on the image above to watch wind project residents in Australia describe life with turbines. Then click on the image below to hear what wind turbines sound like near a home in DeKalb Illinois. These are the same turbines mentioned in the following article. Read more about this wind project family's experience here: Our Life With DeKalb Wind Turbines
WIND TURBINES STILL CENTER OF DEBATE
SOURCE: Daily Chronicle, www.daily-chronicle.com
April 1, 2011
By Caitlin Mullen,
SHABBONA – Jim and Donna Nilles would like to sell their house on Leland Road.
But the Nilleses – who live within 1,800 feet of wind turbines that are part of the wind farm operated by NextEra Energy that went up in four townships in DeKalb County in late 2009 – don’t expect they’ll be able to sell their home anytime soon. Part of that is because of current economic conditions, they said, but they don’t think the wind turbines help, either.
“The main gripe we have right now is nobody listens to us,” Jim Nilles said. “Nobody comes out here.”
They are among a group of DeKalb County residents who have asked county officials – most recently at a county board meeting – to look into noise and multiple other issues related to the wind farm. One of the more recent complaints came two weeks ago when a wind turbine’s blade shattered.
But the company and the county’s planning and zoning director say NextEra has remained compliant with the terms of its permit conditions.
“We have met all of our permit conditions, and we are communicating regularly with the county as outlined in those conditions,” NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel said.
There has been strong opposition to the wind farm since it was first proposed.
The DeKalb County Board voted in June 2009 to grant NextEra permission to build and operate 119 wind turbines in Afton, Clinton, Milan and Shabbona townships. It’s part of a larger wind farm that included 145 total turbines in DeKalb and Lee counties. Before board approval, several hearings – including one that lasted 19 hours – were held on the proposal that brought out hundreds of people.
That opposition has continued since the farm became operational in late 2009. Mel Hass, spokesman for Citizens for Open Government – a group of local residents opposed to the wind farm and that is suing to have it shut down – said he has found many board members aren’t aware of problems with the turbines.
Residents say there are numerous issues with the turbines, including loudness, shadow flickers and interference with TV reception. Shadow flickers happen when sunlight catches the rotating blades at an angle that creates a moving shadow through windows.
Hass said many residents have called a NextEra hotline to complain about these and other issues, but he said any response from the company comes several days later, if at all.
“I don’t know what else we can do to prove our point,” Hass said. “What’s left for me and my neighbors but for us to try to resolve this on our own?”
The shattering of a turbine blade two weeks ago at Shabbona Road between Keslinger and Gurler roads is one of the recent concerns. Residents expressed concern that the shattered turbine blade and its debris could have hit a horse or a car driving near the turbine.
“Their good-neighbor policy went out the door the day the DeKalb County Board gave them those special-use permits, as far as we’re concerned,” said Beth Einsele, who claims NextEra has ignored repeated calls to respond to problems.
Stengel said the shattered blade is unusual and is under investigation. One of the wind turbines in the wind farm also experienced a broken blade in May.
“We have not experienced that anywhere else in our fleet,” Stengel said. “The cause of that is under investigation.”
Stengel said the hotline is manned during normal business hours. An answering service picks up calls that come in at other times and forwards those to the site leader, Stengel said. If someone calls to report a problem, the company is obligated to investigate it.
Stengel said the vast majority of calls have come from people who are suing the company. He said he believes those who have problems with the wind farm are in the minority. He said the facility has performed exceptionally well; there have been no injuries at the site and equipment has been well-maintained.
“I think the things that we said, I think that those things have come to be true,” Stengel said. “There is a group of individuals that are not happy with the wind farm. Those are the same individuals that are suing us in court.”
And not all residents near the wind farm have issues with the turbines. Elizabeth Armenta said she moved to her home on McGirr Road last year and isn’t bothered by the wind turbines. She doesn’t live close enough to experience shadow flickers, and she said she can’t hear the turbines unless it’s very quiet.
Kit Tjelle, who lives on Lee Road, said she and her husband Kevin feared the worst before the turbines were installed, but she said they’ve been pleasantly surprised to find they appreciate their beauty and clean design. A few turbines stand just beyond their backyard.
“They don’t bug us at all. At all,” Tjelle said. “They’ve kind of become part of our landscape.”
Paul Miller, the county’s director of planning and zoning, said the county monitors and follows up on the 36 conditions that were part of the county’s approval of the wind farm, including things like setbacks from structures and property lines, and a property value guarantee.
“To date, we have not found them in violation of any of those conditions,” Miller said.
Lawsuit still pending
Citizens for Open Government filed a lawsuit in July 2009 that was dismissed later that year because it lacked factual evidence. The group filed an amended complaint in January 2010, asking that the wind farm be shut down and the turbines dismantled. In June 2010, a judge rejected NextEra’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names NextEra Energy, the county board and the nearly 100 landowners who allowed turbines to be installed on their property. The lawsuit alleges that the county board overstepped its zoning authority when it authorized the special-use zoning permits for agricultural land. County officials have said the project is allowed under a special-use clause that permits “essential service structures.”
John Farrell, who manages the civil division of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the case has been pending for a while, but it’s too early to say where it’s going.
STATE SHUTES DOWN ON SHORE WIND TURBINE PROGRAM AFTER MAJOR MALFUNCTION
March 25, 2011
by Tom Johnson
The state has shut down its on-land wind turbine program for the time being after an incident earlier this month when three blades suddenly came off a turbine at a farm and residence in Forked River.
The incident, which is under investigation, led the state Office of Clean Energy, to halt temporarily accepting applications for its Renewable Energy Incentive Program (REIP) wind project until authorities can determine how the blades became disengaged, according to Greg Reinert, a spokesman for the Board of Public Utilities (BPU).
The problem occurred on March 2 when a still unexplained major malfunction on a recently installed wind turbine caused all three blades to break loose, Reinert said.
On March 8, the clean energy office staff directed the program coordinator to issue a notice to stakeholders advising that "Effective immediately, there is a temporary hold on all new REIP wind applications and wind rebate processing until further notice."
Ellen Carey, a spokeswoman with the American Wind Energy Association, said she had never heard of this type of accident. "I would say it is an abnormal occurrence," she said
Land and Sea
The state’s efforts to develop wind energy on land have been dwarfed by its goals to build a vibrant offshore wind industry, an ambition that aims to develop 3,000 megawatts of wind farms off the coast of New Jersey.
Four developers have announced plans to build offshore wind farms from 3 miles to about 16 miles out in the ocean.
In comparison, the onshore wind efforts are much less ambitious, in part, because the wind resources pale in comparison to what is available offshore. Still, the Office of Clean Energy had overseen the installation of 38 wind systems, eligible for up to $5 million in rebates and grants, according to Reinert. The total installed capacity is 8.0291 megawatts.
In addition, there are another 37 wind projects approved as of March 18, with a total capacity of 4.64 megawatts and eligible for up to $3.5 million in state incentives..
It is uncertain when the office will begin accepting applications again. Like last year, the clean energy office has seen its funds diverted to help balance the state budget. Under Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, $52.5 million from the Clean Energy Fund will be set aside.
PART 3: THE FALMOUTH EXPERIENCE:
March 9, 2011
Residents in the town of Falmouth say that a nearly 400-foot wind turbine has severely impacted their quality of life.
They talk about noise issues, ringing in their ears and changes in pressure when they are outside.
But sound isn’t the only thing generating discontent.
As Sean Corcoran reports in the third part of our series, The Falmouth Experience: The Trouble with One Town’s Turbine, there also are complaints about a phenomenon called shadow flicker.
Malcom Donald sits in his kitchen, near some of the extra windows he and his wife installed last year. He says a light-flicker caused by the turbine’s blades have degraded his quality of life.
FALMOUTH, Mass. — It’s just after 8 in the morning, and as a light show begins in the kitchen, Malcolm Donald goes over to his computer and fiddles with its music player.
“Well, is it time to put on Dancing Queen?” he asks. “You have to do something to make it a little more tolerable, and I’ve been putting on a little disco music.”
What just a few minutes ago was a well-lit kitchen now is filled with flashing light.
The reason stands some 1,900 feet away in the form of a 400-foot wind turbine at the town’s waste water treatment plant called Wind One. Some neighbors allege the noise from the turbine is making them sick. Donald feels fine. But what he does have is this “shadow flicker,” which creates a strobe light effect on the neighborhood as the sun rises behind the moving blades.
Filmed by Malcom Donald in his kitchen
“I don’t know why we should have to be exposed to this. Somebody’s put up a machine, we lived here 20 years, and now all of a sudden we have flashing lights in the morning,” said Donald.
The intense flashing can make reading, watching television and even having a conversation a challenge. A good analogy might be to imagine trying to read a book in a moving car as the sun flashes through the trees. Donald says that this time of year the flashing continues for about 30 minutes.
Two years ago, that wouldn’t have been too much of a problem. But last year Donald and his wife installed a half-dozen new windows in the rear of the house in an effort to eat breakfast with the sunlight.
“We’ve just done major renovations, taken out some walls so we can live here and enjoy the sunshine. And now the sunshine is flashing at us,” Donald said.
Shadow flicker outside the Donald home
Opponents of wind turbines typically give a wide range of reasons for opposing it. There’s talk about alleged human and animal health effects, questions about connecting to the electricity grid, and concerns about cost, industrial accidents, property values and general noise.
David McGlinchey of the non-partisan Manomet Center for Conservation Studies in Plymouth says shadow flicker often is another source of concern, but more of an annoyance.
“As far as we know, there are no health affects related to flicker. On the other hand, if that’s your house and it’s occurring when you want to eat breakfast, it’s an impact. It’s a nuisance,” explains McGlinchey.
In recent wind debates on Cape Cod, there’s been confusion about shadow flicker. Some speakers have said it can cause health effects. And it’s not uncommon to hear claims that the flashing light can cause epileptic seizures. Heather Goldstone says that’s unlikely to be a problem in Falmouth.
“I’ve seen two studies that directly address whether shadow flicker from wind turbines can cause seizures and they both conclude that the only risk comes from small turbines that turn quickly enough to cause shadows to flicker at least three times per second. At their fastest, the blades on Falmouth’s Wind 1 interrupt the sunlight once every second and a half. It’s just not fast enough to be a risk,” Goldstone said.
The primary reason Malcolm Donald opposes Falmouth’s wind turbines is because his neighbors say sound from Wind One is making them sick. But even flicker, he says, is reason enough to stop wind projects near neighborhoods. To his aggravation, when he makes such a suggestion, the reaction he often gets from wind advocates is skepticism and indifference.
“‘You know, ‘Get over it. You’ll get used to it.’ It’s maddening. A certain small segment of the population shouldn’t have to sacrifice for the good of the entire community,” Donald argues.
Unlike noise complaints, the source and scope of which are highly debated, shadow flicker is an impact turbine developers say can be predicted by computer modeling, and often avoided or at least mitigated.
But so far, Donald says he’s received little comfort from being advised to cover his windows, grow more trees in his yard and to keep his lights on in order to reduce the flicker.
More from this series:
YOU CAN'T BE FORCING THIS ON PEOPLE
Source: WGBH Boston
March 8, 2011
In Part One of his series, The Falmouth Experience: The Trouble With One Town’s Wind Turbine, WGBH radio reporter Sean Corcoran spoke to Neil Anderson, a Falmouth resident who says the nearby wind turbine has had catastrophic effects on his health. Here’s more of their conversation, plus a series of photos of the log Anderson and his wife keep of the noise and its effects on them.
Neil Anderson: We knew there was a turbine going over there, we were not notified of any meetings or any type of concerns. In other words, there was no input from this residence.
I am an energy conservationist, I’ve had my own passive solar building company for 35 years. I was actually looking forward to that turbine being erected there. Although when it went up it was quite astounding the size of it.
I was proud looking at it from this viewpoint until it started turning. And it is dangerous, Sean. Headaches. Loss of sleep. And the ringing in my ears is constant. Never goes away. That started probably in May. It’s a constant reminder of that thing. I can look at it all day long, and it does not bother me. It’s quite majestic. But it’s way too close.
Sean Corcoran: How long after it started to spin did you start feeling some sort of symptoms?
Myself, it took me about a month and a half, maybe two months, to manifest all the symptoms. First it was the pressure in the head. The ears popping for no reason at all. Trying to get the water out of your ears and there was no water there. My wife, the first day, she feels it and notices it, and she feels it and notices it every day.
People talk about the noise, it gets loud. It gets jet-engine loud from this point right here. But the noise is the minimum component of that turbine. There is a pressure involved that gets into your ear, like you’re climbing at altitude in an airplane and your ears pop.
And there is a low-frequency pulse that particularly drives me crazy and some of the neighbors around here. It is a once-per-second low-frequency pulse, and it messes up your vestibular organs in your inner ear. And gives you a sense of off-balance and vertigo.
We both have signs of these symptoms. Headaches. My wife gets headaches three or four times a week, she wakes up with a headaches. She’s actually sleeping in a back bedroom right now with earplugs and a white noise machine trying to mask the sound. But it is really not doing any good because the sound just comes right through the windows, right through the insulation, right through the earplugs. And the pulse is right there.
Can you hear it right now?
You don’t hear it. It’s inaudible. There’s testimony from all over the country of the same thing, people complaining about the turbines. Denmark, Australia, Canada, the United States. But there is really no peer-reviewed medical info, which I hear all the time. Prove it, they’re saying. Prove it. Come down here and hear it yourself if you want.
And do you take that as people calling you a liar or people calling you a fool?
I’m not sure. I think they just don’t want to believe it. It’s so ironic, here I have to try to get that thing knocked down. Basically it’s a good principle, anything that can wean us off the number-two fuel, heating oil, and that type of thing is good for us, but it has to be done correctly. In this case it certainly wasn’t.
They look at us as being the bad aspect of this. But the people in the wind industry, you cannot turn a blind eye to this. You know about it.
I’m sorry we don’t have doctors that have come to prove it. I welcome anybody to come down here with their testing equipment and test what this thing does, but I will tell you, it does hurt the wind industry. And I know there are properly-sited wind projects out there that are getting knocked down because of this. But that’s okay too.
I think everybody should just stop for awhile and figure this out. You can’t just be forcing these on people.
The Andersons decided to keep a calendar to document the turbine’s noise and its effects on them. They let us photograph parts of their log: