Entries in windfarmthemovie (2)
9/12/10 Same stories, different locations: Why are people complaining about living near wind turbines? AND How a documentary about rural town facing wind developers is opening eyes
Wind Turbine Sounds Spur Health Complaints, Force Residents to Move
The spread of wind turbines into quiet rural areas is leading to increasing complaints that they make more noise than residents were led to believe.
While simple annoyance and sleep disturbance are the most common effects, in some cases, nearby residents are reporting health problems that they associate with the presence of the turbines, leading some to move from their homes.
Not long after wind turbines began to spin in March near Gerry Meyer’s home in Wisconsin, his son Robert, 13, and wife, Cheryl, complained of headaches.
Cheryl also sometimes feels a fluttering in her chest, while Gerry is sometimes nauseated and hears crackling.
The nearest turbine is 1,560 feet from Meyer’s house. His dismay over an energy source he once thought was benign has made the retired mailman, 59, an activist. He travels the state warning communities considering wind farms to be wary.
“I don’t think anyone should have to put up with this,” says Meyer, who compares the sound to a helicopter or a jet taking off.
In Canada, Helen and Bill Fraser initially supported the nearby wind farm in Melancthon, Ont. One turbine sat close to the Fraser’s kitchen window. “We thought, more green energy, this is great,” Helen told CTV News. However, Helen says she developed headaches, body aches and she had trouble sleeping. The dog began wetting the floor at night.
“There were nights I was lying in bed and my heart would beat to the pulse of the turbine. It was an uneasy feeling,” Helen said.
Ernie Marshall at first supported the wind farm that was placed near his home near Goderich, Ont. However, he also says that once the turbines got rolling, his health began to suffer.
“I had problems with my heart, with my eyes, my digestive system,” Marshall told CTV News. “It traumatizes your whole body.”
Some affected residents can only sell their homes and move away. The Frasers left their home of 32 years and moved to nearby Shelburne, Ont. They say their symptoms have, for the most part, vanished.
Ernie Marshall moved to the town of Seaforth, Ont., which is several kilometers away from the turbines near his former home. “I had to get out or I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you,” Marshall said.
Dr. Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician in upstate New York, has interviewed dozens of people who live near windmills in Canada, the United States and Europe. Her [recently] released book, Wind Turbine Syndrome, documents the litany of health problems experienced by some people who have wind farms near their homes.
Some early findings suggest that wind turbines create a high intensity, low frequency sound that may have an effect on the body. Not only can the sound potentially cause debilitating illness.
Some researchers believe that the vibrations the sound causes in the inner ear may lead to vibro-acoustic disease, which can cause dizziness, nausea and sleep disturbances. However, officials with the Canadian Wind Energy Association point to a handful of studies they say prove that windmills lead to few, if any, adverse health effects.
“We know there have been complaints about health impacts of wind turbines,” Sean Whittaker of the Canadian Wind Energy Association told CTV News. “On the other hand, we know there are some 10,000 turbines installed across North America and complaints have been relatively few.”
The issue has not just put experts at odds. Communities across North America are divided between residents who say local windmills have made them sick and their neighbors who don’t believe them.
“Everyone was calling me a liar,” Ernie Marshall said. “It don’t matter who you talk to. You bring ‘em out here and they’ll say that noise don’t bother us. Sit there for a week under that and listen to it and see what it does to your body.”
The inconsistencies in the early research, coupled with the fact that some residents who live near wind turbines complain of such a wide array of symptoms, are evidence that further study is needed to determine if Wind Turbine Syndrome is a problem, how big of one and what should be done, experts say.
“Depending on your distance you’ll have 30, 40, 50 per cent of people who are troubled, but not 100 per cent,” Dr. Robert McMurtry of the University of Western Ontario told CTV News. “That’s why it’s important to do these studies to see just how many are troubled and how real it is.”
“Then I started to meet some people from Meredith. A lot of them—artists, writers—go up there to be alone. This topic pulled them out of their shells to work together.”
So began Israel’s foray into directing, Windfall, an excellent documentary–a real discovery in Toronto–which is as much a study of a small rural community torn asunder as it is of the pros and cons of the massive turbines which energy salesmen were pitching to the locals.
For a price, the residents could agree to let them build the massive structures on their land. In a town with no zoning, the reps from an energy outfit in Ireland anticipated huge profits.
Even though Delaware County is one of the five poorest in New York State, other towns were not as easily seduced as some of the homeowners in Meredith, who signed contracts for a relative pittance.
Most of those who agreed had been born there, former dairy farmers hard it by the economy and changes in agrarian commerce. Most of the opposition was comprised of former or current residents of New York City, whom the lifetimers, according to Israel, call “flatlanders.”
The feud became bitter, culminating in a new slate of candidates vying in a coming municipal election for the offices long held by lifers. The lines were drawn; the debate became more and more bitter.
“I don’t think it was like that before the subject came up,” says Israel. “There are no chi-chi boutiques there; it’s not that kind of town. It seemed like everyone got along. This subject pushed people into corners.” The lead-up to the election gives the film rhythmic, suspenseful momentum.
Israel interviews her subjects outdoors, capturing a natural, unforced bucolic backdrop enriched by a plucky, country-tinged score.
Most of them have interesting back stories that provide digressive texture. Stop-motion animator Dean Modino brings alive maps, photographs, and, building up over the course of the film’s running time, the wind turbines themselves, already cinematic by design.
As one relative newcomer to Meredith says, “These are not the 50’ windmills of Don Quixote. These are 400’ high.” Each blade is 130’ long, weighs seven tons, and moves at 150 miles per hour. The whishing noise is non-stop, and much worse when it rains.
The well-informed interviewees who stood against the turbines articulate their positions, as do several environmentalists and energy experts.
When erected too near peoples’ homes, the turbines wreak emotional and psychological havoc on the residents. Tug Hill, in Lowville, New York, is one place where 400 of them were built, and the townspeople have found them oppressive.
One subject says that to be built and maintained, they require fossil fuels, and it is questionable if the amount that they put back into the grid is worth the effort. Green and wind energy may be mutually exclusive terms.
Israel is the first to say she does not offer definitive answers. “I’m just asking people to look into it more. I know there’s a lot going on in Europe, even in Denmark. People there are asking if there really is that much power coming from the wind turbines.
“We want desperately to have easy answers. Then all you have to do is send in some money and someone else can take care of it.”
9/9/10 Just like in the movies: Documentary "Windfall" gets right down to the real nitty-gritty of what happens to a Town when wind developers move in
WINDFALL DOCUMENTARY EXPLORES THE PERILS OF WIND POWER
Click on the image above to watch the trailer from "Windfall"
SOURCE:Wall Street Journal
September 9, 2010
By Anthony Kaufman
“Windfall,” a new documentary that premieres Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival, could take the sails out of wind power. The film observes the deeply divided residents of Meredith, New York — an Upstate farm community in decline — as they debate the pros and cons of allowing wind turbines on their land. Local proponents champion the promise of green energy and monetary compensation, while detractors question the efficiency of wind-generated energy and the drawbacks of living among 400-foot tall towers with gigantic rotating blades.
First-time director Laura Israel, who has a log cabin in Meredith, first became aware of the town’s wind energy debate when she read stories in the local newspaper about the potential dangers of turbines to the bird population (bats are also at risk). “I went through the same process myself as they did in the film,” says Israel. “First, I thought, maybe I’d like to get a wind turbine, but then I started going on the Internet and realized there was more to the story.”
Israel videotaped in Meredith for about a year, documenting contentious board meetings and interviewing residents, and also visiting other areas in New York, such as Lewis County, where wind turbines have already taken hold. The film offers few experts on either side of the debate; rather, it allows local townspeople to discuss their own research, experiences and fears, such as the wind turbine’s “flicker effect,” as the machines pass across the sun and cast immense shadows, as well as the dangers of their low frequency hum.
Robert Bryce, author of “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future,” and a frequent critic of the wind industry (in the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal), says the “infrasound” issue is the most problematic for the wind industry. “They want to dismiss it out of hand, but the low frequency noise is very disturbing,” he explains. “I interviewed people all over, and they all complained with identical words and descriptions about the problems they were feeling from the noise.”
Because of wind energy’s massive expansion — the five-year average growth rate is up 39%, according to the American Wind Energy Association — Bryce suggests that the kinds of conflicts depicted in the film “are going to be much more common if it’s allowed to grow as fast as it could,” he says. “There’s a lot of pissed off people out there.”
Israel doesn’t want her film to be used as an advocacy prop for anti-wind advocates, however. She just wants people to be informed. “What I would want people to do is research it and look at it critically.” Invoking the words of Gordon Yancey, an outspoken wind critic from Tug Hill, NY who appears in the film, Israel advises, “Do your homework.”
Or as Bryce adds, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch and it’s the same with wind energy.”
WIND TURBINES IN THE NEWS
Vestas Wind Tumbles After Reporting That Blade Broke on Turbine Prototype
By Sep 9, 2010-
Vestas Wind Systems A/S fell to its lowest in almost two years in Copenhagen trading after the world’s largest wind turbine maker said a blade snapped on a prototype and Danske Bank A/S downgraded the stock.
A six- to seven-meter (20 to 23 feet) portion came off the blade of the test V112 wind turbine late yesterday in Lem, western Denmark, Michael Holm, a Vestas spokesman, said today from Randers, Denmark. “We’re looking into the root cause. We don’t see this as a design error.”
THE POWER OF PICTURES TO FOOL PEOPLE
SOURCE: Jefferson's Leaning Left, www.jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com
September 9 2010
Over the weekend I put a post here where I mentioned I had just finished reviewing the current September 2010 edition of the leading wind industry business journal, “North American Wind Power.”
I warned that the editorial message of that journal, written for industry insiders, was to keep pushing for a national standard imposed from Washington requiring utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from wind — and to hell with all the adverse consequences of that, including your pocketbook.