January 28, 2013
Last week, attorney Rufus Brown filed a brief on behalf of aggrieved neighbors of the Vinalhaven (ME) wind turbines with Maine Superior Court. The filing represents a summation of the case related to noise from the turbines that has turned the lives of nearby residents upside down.
The full brief is available, here:
Petitioners’ Rule 80C Brief (as filed)
For additional information and background, click this link.
In its December 2012 newsletter to ratepayers, FIW and Fox Islands Electric Cooperative prepared ratepayers … Read the rest of this entry »
Wicked Local Falmouth
December 19, 2012
TAKE OUR POLL: Falmouth resident confronts Gov. Patrick on wind turbines
Options remain on the table
What do you think should happen to the Falmouth wind turbines?
FEBRUARY 09, 2012
The installation of wind turbines too close to houses and personal property is a major headache for the wind power industry, but headache scarcely begins to describe their impact to nearby property owners and neighbors. My property and home are scarcely three quarters of a mile from a three 1.5 megawatt turbine wind farm that went online in November 2009 with blades stretching nearly 400 feet into the air.
Large scale wind turbines represent a tiny and lucrative—thanks to federal tax incentives—corner of the electric power industry. By siting large turbine facilities close to population centers, the industry hopes to minimize the cost of expensive new transmission lines, but it faces a whirlwind of resistance from citizens objecting to the destruction of mountains, seascapes, wilderness areas, and natural quiet.
Opponents argue that wind power is a bad deal for everyone but shareholders who use subsidies to prop up an industry that is otherwise not economically viable. But on Vinalhaven, a small island in Penobscot Bay—where only three turbines are in operation—neighbors have opened up the industry’s Achilles heel: excessive noise.
New permit applications in towns across New England are raising hackles of anyone who pays attention to the way citizen dissent has been throttled in Maine where wind warriors mobilized to breach protective legislative barriers erected by the wind industry.
Vinalhaven is a small port town of only a few thousand residents whose primary business is lobstering. During the project’s planning phase in the early 2000’s I understood that my viewscape would change. My neighbors and I wanted to believe the promise of the promoters that our lives would otherwise be unaffected.
As an environmentalist who has often been on the receiving end of the NIMBY argument—opposing ill-advised developments that threaten the Everglades and water quality in Florida—I didn’t want to be part of a movement against wind. Environmentalists can’t wait to jettison hydrocarbons driving our economy, but the lessons of the past three years have tempered my perspective. Wind power is the easiest to seize the popular imagination. It is also the breeziest. There are massive obstacles to bring wind power technology to useful grid scale. Wind is intermittent. Storage of electricity when winds fall is highly problematic. Homeowners and businesses skeptical about noise impacts of wind turbines should revisit sitting on the proverbial fence: if the Maine experience is any guide, NIMBY means that the “next idiot might be you.”
The wind power industry and its local advocates on Vinalhaven insist that turbine noise is an inevitable cost supported by the public. On Vinalhaven, they trumpet that the vote to approve wind turbines was 380 in favor and only 5 against.
Neighbors have spent three years trying to get the State of Maine to enforce its own inadequate noise standards. As a veteran of wars against water pollution, I never expected that a place of solace and respite would prove the point that government can be its own worst scofflaw. It would be one thing if the small size of our community, fad or preference for local control over state or federal mandates, brought closer to resolution a problem that needs to be fixed. Instead of equity and fairness, neighbors are buried in procedural curliques tied to proving violations of state noise standards. We might as well be hog-tied to those spinning wind turbine blades.
Proving noise pollution is no trivial matter. On Vinalhaven, George Baker, a former Harvard Business School professor and executive of the local wind power facility, claims that the noise of the wind turbines is masked by the wind in the trees.
On a summer morning, there is scarcely a whisper of wind in the trees. The sky is blue and the early morning light casts long shadows in anticipation of day. Twenty five years ago I bought my property for its peace and quiet. In the background, the turbines churn like a rotating drum powered by Blakean bellows. What is so distracting is that the quality of sound varies from moment to moment. This is not the noise of a highway, a factory, an airport, or even the noise scape of a city. Turbine noise is as variable as the shifting wind, cementing one’s attention to intermittency like the rotating lights on a police cruiser. That is on the good days.
Neighbors can be woken in the middle of the night with an unidentifiable pounding; it is either in one’s head or chest or the walls of one’s house. From aural flickering to a constant disturbance: either way; having to spend significant time, energy and money to prove the point compounds the despair.
The worst are the hours shrouded in fog that I treasured. They now pulse with turbine noise. The Maine fog associates with a weather pattern—wind shear– that the wind turbine promoters knew about but ignored. They knew because in 2008 their experts told them so. It can be dead still on the ground and hundreds of feet in the air, the wind is howling. Not only did the project supporters omit informing neighbors of wind shear during the permitting phase of the Vinalhaven project, they obstructed discovery of the consultant report and, now, are spending ratepayer resources to contest a legal challenge in state superior court. Their objection: that neighbors do not have a judicial line of appeal. It is incorporated, they say, in a 2008 state energy law that few legislators read much less questioned before passing.
If wind power isn’t economically viable because wind is intermittent by nature, the costs to my life and property are continuous. There is not a single regulation against excessive noise– at the state, local or federal level– to enforce and protect. Given the level of controversy and impact, one would think that industrial wind turbine noise is a public threat where the nation’s environmental agency, the US EPA, ought to engage. But the sole staffer of the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement retired years ago.
A 2010 petition to the EPA by Maine residents —triggered by the Vinalhaven controversy—implored the agency to involve itself in regulating wind turbine noise. It was rejected by EPA and an administrator who referred petitioners back to the same state regulator in Maine who subsequently resigned after the regulatory effort to tame turbine noise was thwarted by political meddling.
Dead still. So quiet that a conversation can carry a mile. Hundreds of feet above the island, wind shear picks up the turbine blades and hurls them around (The sardonic anthem of turbine advocates on Vinalhaven is “Spin, baby, spin”.) casting sound pulses through moisture heavy air. At other times, sound from the turbines skips like a rock on the surface of a cove.
Think of the sounds from a wind turbine as of a thunderstorm. The noise metric, called the dbA scale, captures the peal of thunderbolts. It fails to capture the low rumble of the storm; the vibration and hum of the turbines. Most wind noise controversies are framed around the dbA level because that is how the industry established the metric for sound in the 1990’s. At nighttime in Maine, for instance, the upper limit is set at 45dbA. For ordinary homeowners, though, to prove 45dbA is more complicated than pointing an acoustic measurement instrument and registering its results. Our neighbor group has chased in the middle of the night, in the middle of the freezing cold, pointing microphones and instrumentation at the pitch black sky in an effort to provide statistics and samples that state-hired consultants will accept. You can’t pick up the phone and complain. You have to pay for tests to prove your complaint. On that playing field, ie. what constitutes a verifiable and legitimate complaint, the goal posts keep moving. So far as low frequency noise is concerned, the goal posts that citizens are trying to reach might as well be on the other side of the world.
Various terms have been used to describe the low frequency sound output of wind turbines: a droning noise or the dreaded thump that alternates or morphs into and out of a woosh. Sometimes, it is like the low sonic end of a spinning dryer. Depending on the wind and direction, the thrum quickens or slows. It can change from the whine of a jet engine to a pulse in the space of seconds. For unfortunate homeowners who live even closer to wind turbines, the effects are mind-blowing. Those who live closest—within half a mile– report their entire dwelling can throb and pulse in time with the swoosh of the turbine blades.
For neighbors in Vinalhaven, learning how to provide data deemed valid by state regulators, including its own consultant, to prove violations by the wind turbine operator (whose shareholders are soundly sleeping, tucked away in their quiet quarters) required learning, spending and acquiring a level of acoustic expertise no homeowner should be required to produce under any circumstances simply to protect themselves. But that is not how it works with industrial pollution.
All neighbors wanted was peace and quiet, and all neighbors have are data files of acoustics measuring turbine noise in the gigabytes. All neighbors wanted was quiet, and all neighbors have is the enmity, indifference, or silence of those who know an injustice was done on Vinalhaven but feel powerless to solve it. The fact that local electric rates on Vinalhaven have significantly increased in recent years while the cost of merchant power in the region has remained stable is an embarrassment of someone else’s riches.
The industry understands that chasing citizens around the dbA scale is a fool’s errand. The Vinalhaven neighbors pursued Maine state regulators up the regulatory ladder from the bottom only to find at the top, that lobbyists pressured the governor’s office to intervene against neighbors on their behalf. There ought to be a law, and indeed there should. It is not exactly an insight to point out that polluters are expert at erecting high legal hurdles to keep citizens at bay. It is a good regulation, in other words, so long as it is one they wrote. The wind industry spends in states where those “should’s” are likely to change the playing field.
Every large law firm in the state is under restrictive agreements with the wind industry. Well-placed lobbyists and shareholders rotate in and out of government office and appointments. The state environmental agency’s top regulator, Patty Aho, is a former lobbyist for the law firm representing the wind turbine utility on Vinalhaven. Aho “did what she was told” by throttling provisions that might have offered hope to Vinalhaven neighbors in future compliance measurement and enforcement. At a July 2011 public hearing at the state capitol on revisions to the state noise regulation—ostensibly to stiffen them to protect people—Aho affirmed that the purpose of regulatory review was to assist industry.
A former governor, Angus King, is a large shareholder of a wind turbine company, First Wind. He wrote in a Maine business publication that he spent last July 4th on Vinalhaven and didn’t meet a single opponent of the wind turbines. He also didn’t seek the neighbors out. A recent single-question poll by First Wind claimed to measure public support for wind power. A similar poll question, limited to a single question, might solicit the opinion of neighbors who live within three miles of industrial scale wind turbines.
The public is ill-informed about wind turbine noise for a variety of reasons. Usually, a gag order accompanies payment when homeowners are bought out—often after a exhausting, protracted struggle. The industry counters with arguments; wind noise disturbs different people in different ways. The inference is that if you object to noise, you are a complainer in the great scheme of freeing energy tied to oil. In small communities like Vinalhaven, these formulas can be used to great effect, dividing the local population.
In the early phase of permitting the Vinalhaven project, a sound consultant to the project developers wrote tellingly that the site chosen for the wind turbines was likely to generate noise complaints from nearby homeowners and residents. Instead of dealing with property owners up front as the consultant recommended, the wind turbine operator buried the report and hired another consultant. In doing so, Mr. Baker, the former Harvard Business School professor and chief executive of the Vinalhaven turbine operation, made an implicit decision that pit islanders against each other. The result imposed a significant cost on the turbine neighbors; let them fight the state.
Divide and conquer is not the last refuge of polluters but it certainly is a popular one. At a public hearing last July when citizens battled industry on the outline of regulatory reform, a neighbor of a wind turbine installation in another part of the state despaired to me privately– she would not be quoted– that her livestock fences had been cut and garbage dumped in her rural driveway when she spoke out against the turbines in the permitting phase. Now that the turbines roar, her children can’t play in their backyard. The noise is so relentless in her home, another mother testified, that when her children go to bed she asks every night: “Did you brush your teeth, say your prayers, and take your sleeping pills?”
On Vinalhaven, supporters of the wind farm project—goaded by the local utility board and executives—posted a drawing of goat heads in a bucket of blood on a Facebook page, wishing the worst for neighbors who subsequently moved—for health and safety reasons. There are nights when the lobsterman Arthur Farnham, whose home is only seven hundred feet from the nearest turbine, turns his television volume to high, the fans on, and still can’t drown out the noise. It is worst in the winter. But the Harvard Business School professor and turbine operator insisted and the state acquiesced so that wind noise for compliance would only be measured in summer months on Vinalhaven.
Unless you have had something of deep value stripped from you, you don’t understand what the noise does to a fine summer morning on Long Cove or a deep winter night when the noise is roaring in your head or in your house.
The solutions are expensive to polluters. 1) Require fair market price buy-outs or property value guarantees for property owners within two and a half miles of turbines, 2) apply 35 dbA limits to nighttime operations immediately, 3) require the wind turbine industry to pay for the costs of noise monitoring and make all data available through web sites in real time, and 4) develop metrics that capture and regulations that protect against low frequency noise.
As stories pile up of citizens driven from their homes by turbine noise—sometimes health and property values ruined —the absence of effective wind turbine noise standards reflects the quest of polluters and their shareholders to demonize regulations. Shifting the costs of noise pollution has created a new caste of politically connected entrepreneurs who in turn have hired consultants, attorneys and lobbyists to obscure the wind power industry’s most inconvenient truth.
In its brutal outline, regulating noise from wind turbines illustrates the struggle of our times: whether government regulation can protect public health, or, whether private industry should be left alone to do a better job, whether or not it can demonstrate the results. Industry responds by hiding in the deep weeds of “complexity” and “disagreement with interpreting facts”. They buy time for an industry desperate to keep federal subsidies flowing; subsidies set to expire at the end of 2012. The wind power industry hopes Congress and the White House will ignore the fact that people, property values, and natural quiet are collateral damage to popular enthusiasms whose economics have failed to pan out.
We used to say with pride, “this couldn’t happen in the United States”. But wherever the costs of pollution are unallocated, it happens every day the wind blows.
“Why I Turned Against ‘Green’ Windpower” <<http://www.masterresource.org/2012/01/turned-against-windpower>>.
More reports about greed energy economics:
“Electricity Costs - The Folly of Wind power” <<http://www.civitas.org.uk/economy/electricitycosts2012.pdf>>.
A superior three part series about the economic (and otherwise) foolishness of wind and solar <<http://www.aei.org/policy/energy-and-the-environment/alternative-energy/>>.
A good commentary about the foolishness of wind subsidies <<http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/maritanoon/2012/02/05/toppling_tax_dollars_for_turbines/page/full/>>.
“We need wind subsidies like we need VHS subsidies” is on the mark <<http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/02/we-need-wind-subsidies-like-we-need-vhs-subsidies/>>.
Taxpayers take a hit subsidizing renewables <<http://nlpc.org/stories/2012/01/26/layoffs-bankruptcies-epidemic-gov%E2%80%99t-subsidies-industry-aka-renewables>>.
A wonderful, must read article about wind energy <<http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/01/20/against-the-wind-the-pursuit-of-clean-energy-has-relegated-ordinary-people-to-the-status-of-collateral-damage/>>.
Redefining green jobs <<http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/24/opinion/contributors/time-to-redefine-green-jobs-in-community-context/>>.
Over 100 British lawmakers formally object to wind energy <<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9061997/101-Tories-revolt-over-wind-farms.html>>. Here is there letter (of course it actually applies even more to offshore, which is far more expensive) <<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9061554/Full-letter-from-MPs-to-David-Cameron-on-wind-power-subsidies.html>>.
India To End a Tax Break for Wind Energy <<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-17/india-may-end-tax-break-for-wind-farms-this-year-official-says.html>>.
Bonneville Power agrees to pay wind developers for electricity not received <<http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/02/bonneville_power_administratio_3.html>>.
If Germany goes through with their foolish plan to phase out nuclear energy, this independent report concludes that it will cost them over Two Trillion dollars <<http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/17/us-siemens-energy-idUSTRE80G10920120117>>. Speaking of nuclear, please read this three part series (written by high school students!) <<http://www.gonuclear.net/blog/01062012-1042pm/lifting-veil-nuclear-paranoia-part-3>>.
More reports about turbine health matters:
Superior article about the origins of turbine setbacks <<http://www.masterresource.org/2012/01/wind-ordinance-offset-debate/>>.
A good film with Dr. McMurty re turbine health consequences <<http://www.windtaskforce.org/video/video/show?id=4401701%3AVideo%3A35891&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_video>>.
Misc energy reports:
A massive critique of Germany’s failing energy policies by a PhD insider <<http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/Bilder_Dateien/Keil_Energiewende_gescheitert/2012_01_09_EIKE_Germa_energy_turnaround_english.pdf>>.
Vestas reports on massive layoffs <<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-12/vestas-to-cut-2-335-jobs-worldwide-more-at-risk-in-u-s-this-year.html>>.
“Could Nuclear Power Solve Global Warming: the Affirmative Case” is an interesting technical paper in a peer-reviewed journal <<http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/01/14/nuclear-solve-greenhouse/>>.
This was written to supplement another good paper (different author) “Could Renewables Solve Global Warming: the Negative Case” <<http://www.notechmagazine.com/2011/05/can-renewables-power-consumer-societies.html>>
“Charles Manson Energy Butchery” (about turbine wildlife kills) <<http://www.masterresource.org/2012/01/killer-energy-wind/>>.
“Environmental Radicals: Go Home” <<http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathryn-marshall/joe-oliver-letter_b_1195805.html>>. This is an interesting dustup where a government official is taking on environmentalists <<http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/1/3520>>.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture speaks out againts wind energy <<http://www.ofa.on.ca/uploads/userfiles/files/ofa%20position%20statement%20on%20industrial%20wind%20turbines.pdf>>.
A fine article about an Australian wind project <<http://papundits.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/wind-power-australia-the-musselroe-wind-farm-travesty-in-tasmania/>>.
“EPA’s Sustainability Gambit “ <<http://dddusmma.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/epas-sustainability-gambit/>>.
Three good new reviews about WindFall, including one by Roger Ebert <<http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120201/REVIEWS/120209994>>, <<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/j-michael-welton/windfall-documentary-laura-israel_b_1246824.html>> and <<http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-02-01/film/windfall-film-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+articles%2Ffilm+%28Village+Voice+Film%29>>.
A good article about ABC’s position on turbine bird kills <<http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/110202.html>>.
America is getting close to energy independence, and it has nothing to do with wind energy <<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-07/americans-gaining-energy-independence-with-u-s-as-top-producer.html>>.
“Offshore turbines ‘will pose a threat to nuclear subs fleet’” <<http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/offshore_turbines_will_pose_a_threat_to_nuclear_subs_fleet_1_2099457>>
Some recent global warming articles of interest —
“How Green Zealots Are Destroying the Planet” <<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2096277/Global-warming-James-Delingpole-claims-green-zealots-destroying-planet.html>>.
Germany’s top environmentalist turns skeptic is a significant development. See <<http://thegwpf.org/best-of-blogs/4867-germanys-top-environmentalist-turns-climate-sceptic.html>> and <<http://tinyurl.com/76nc5wn>>.
“Global Warming? No Natural Predictable Change” <<http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/01/10/global-warming-no-natural-predictable-climate-change/>>.
“How To Think Seriously About The Planet “ <<http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/green-philosophy-how-to-think-seriously-about-the-planet-by-roger-scruton-6288591.html?printService=print>>.
Some superior testimony from experts about AGW <<http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=612>>.
Global Warming — here is the take by 16 scientists <<http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop>>.
Please pass this information on to other open-minded, science-oriented people. If anyone would like to be added to or removed from the email list, please let me know.
Thank you for your support.
john droz, jr.
physicist & environmental advocate
Fellow: American Tradition Institute (<<http://www.atinstitute.org/>>)
Mr. Richard Sullivan, Jr.
Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
State of Massachusetts
Mr. Mark Sylvia
Department of Energy Resources
Mr. Kenneth Kimmell
Department of Environmental Protection
February 8, 2012
Evaluation of Probable Detriments to "Community Morale" from Wind Turbine Noise from the New Generation Wind Project in Bourne
Conclusion: Wind Turbines Improve Morale Among Developers: Residents and Communities Sue
State of Massachussetts Officials to Residents Living in Close Proximity to Wind Turbines (including Bourne): "The beatings will continue until morale improves!"
Dear Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Sylvia and Mr. Kimmell,
As you know, the three of you are all signatories -- in your official capacities -- to a letter to the Cape Cod Commission in which you insist that there is no basis for concern about any "Probable Detriments" from the project, including any detrimental impact to "Community Morale."
As you are also aware, it is your official position that there is "no evidence" of harm from wind turbine noise, notwithstanding the recent halt in operations for two wind turbines (smaller models than those contemplated by NGW) in Falmouth, MA, the Town that Does Not Exist.
But I wondered if you were aware that there are various lawsuits raging around the country -- and around the world -- in which residents in locations too numerous to count -- the plaintiffs -- have expressed their extreme distress over the installation of industrial wind turbines in their own communities.
As proof, I invite you to perform the same internet search that I just conducted to investigate this phenomenon. Open your browser and type in the words "wind turbine lawsuit." This simple exercise returned 1,530,000 results when I performed it.
Let me spell that out for you: ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND results to the query: "wind turbine lawsuits."
Here are just a few entries for your consideration, appended to this letter, which you may wish to add to your file marked "Not Evidence of Harm from Wind Turbine Noise."
I apologize, in advance, for not having provided you with all one million five hundred thousand examples of the soaring "community morale" of residents worldwide when the wind turbines were installed in their home towns. I was afraid of overwhelming your prodigious file of "Not Evidence of Harm" -- even though it seems to have an infinite capacity for "not evidence."
This site may harm your computer.
Oct 25, 2010 – Big “Wind Turbine Syndrome” lawsuit (Michigan). “In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege . . . physical harm and adverse health effects, including the ...
Nov 24, 2011 – A mid-December court date in a lawsuit that aims to stop the construction of a massive wind farm in Osage County will be for a trial on the merits ...
3 posts - Nov 15, 2011
FAIRHAVEN — Neighbors opposed to the siting of two 262-foot wind turbines off Arsene Street vowed Monday to file suit to stop the project.
Jun 26, 2010 – Environmental groups filed suit Friday in federal district court arguing that the nation's first offshore wind energy project violates the Endangered ...
Sep 21, 2011 – TORONTO - A southwestern Ontario family is suing over a wind farm they claim is damaging their health.The Michaud family of Thamesville ...
Dec 18, 2011 – A large number of eagles are active around the footprint of a controversial wind farm under development in Goodhue County, according to a ...
Jan 11, 2012 – CEDAR RAPIDS - A man injured in a 60-foot fall while working on a wind turbine in November 2009 in.
|www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtdNxlOiawcSep 17, 2010 - 9 min - Uploaded by windactionontario
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Ian Hanna explains his legal challenge against the Ontario Government to a large group in Clinton, Ontario ...
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(Smallwood, 2010,. Fatality Rates in the. Altamont Pass Wind. Turbine Resource continued on page 3. Settlement of Altamont Pass. Wind Turbines Lawsuit. P h ...
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A New Port Richey man's efforts to go green have some seeing red.
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for Biological Diversity had sued the wind farm operators and not the state officials who permitted the project, the court affirmed the suit's dismissal. Id. 4.
I have wasted a perfectly good day reading the Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel January 2012, prepared for the state departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health.
I have to start by questioning the very title. Only two of the members have any experience with wind turbines. The two (Manwell and Mills) that have wind experience are both pre-disposed to find against adverse health effects. Mills has already testified in 2009 that according to previous literature searches she performed while employed as a public health official of Maine, she found no link to adverse health affects with turbines. So we know she didn't have an open mind.
Manwell runs the UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center, which studies and promotes the use of wind turbines. So he is also pre-disposed to find no problems with wind turbines. His academic reputation and funding depend on the wind industry and funding from the state. Hmm.
We all know what this is called: Stacking the deck.
I did notice with interest that the panel included in the bibliography the Philips article from the August 2011 Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. I know they must not have had too much time to read it, because the Philips article argues convincingly that the omission of thousands upon thousands of adverse event reports from citizens affected by proximity to wind turbines is not only indefensible scientifically but dishonest and immoral to boot.
Adverse event reporting is how new diseases become identified. So ruling out first-hand self-reported health, social and economic events that occur after the arrival of wind turbines in communities across the world, basically prevents any true investigation from taking place.
You notice I use the term "true" investigation. That's the next problem. No one in most local governments and certainly not the wind developers have created and carried out such a study, despite problems being reported by ordinary citizens all over the world.
So if I understand this whole situation correctly, the report from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts did not look at or include adverse citizen reports of symptoms from Falmouth, and then found no evidence of adverse health effects because they didn't include the data that would form the basis of any claim to the contrary.
That doesn't seem right to me.
What if we had collected the evidence from Falmouth residents? Why didn't the panel gather the event reports, interview and perform tests such as EKG's and EEG's from Falmouth residents while they were experiencing symptoms in their homes. Those results could have been correlated with the results of turbine and wind speeds, noise levels and infrasound data. That's what the citizens of Falmouth asked for from the town, the developers and the state.
Instead, the state picked a secret panel that met a total of three times. They only reviewed literature and further seem to have been pretty selective about what they reviewed. The Philips article is just one of the articles in the August 2011 Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, yet the entire issue is devoted to the problems with wind turbines, noise (including infrasound), public health and social justice. But for some reason they only looked at the Philips article. Why not also look at the articles written by Bronzaft, Krogh, Shain or Thorne?
Not once was the suggestion ever made that perhaps the evidence of adverse health effects could and should be looked at in a cumulative way. Yes, perhaps one study has its limitations, but put that study in context of other studies and, well, just think if the "study" had included adverse health events and testimony from the good citizens of Falmouth; it might have been hard for the panel to come to the conclusions it did.
I think we should be clear that we are asking a small part of the Fairhaven community to bear the potential health, economic and social costs for the presumed, although as yet also unproven, good of the greater Fairhaven community. I don't think that's fair. Shouldn't the state and wind industry be required to prove that wind turbines are not harmful to neighbors, not demanding that neighbors prove to DEP and DPH that they are being harmed, as in the case in Falmouth? They should also be required to indemnify neighbors to turbines from health harm, property value loss, safety concerns, etc., and guarantee to compensate neighbors should anything adverse happen to them from the turbines.
And I certainly don't think this report proves anything. All this report has done has insulted the intelligence of anyone who has done their homework, and the integrity of anyone who has reported health symptoms from proximity to wind turbines. I guess that's why citizens from Falmouth went to the Statehouse this week to complain about the so-called "study". I wish I had gone with them.
Because Wind Energy require massive tower that require lots of maintenance in an open enviroment....the logical result of this are deaths. Where you might have one require power plant...wind requires 500 turbines that all require climbing hundreds of feet in the air in remote unsupervised location. As owners aren't too proud of these deaths they rarely make it to the news.
Family, friends mourn wind farm worker killed in collapse
12:36 PM PDT on Wednesday, August 29, 2007
By KGW Staff
The Sherman County wind farm where one man was killed and another injured Saturday when a wind turbine collapsed was cited for two violations just a few months ago, officials said Monday. Courtesy SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW Chadd Mitchell
Chadd Bryce Mitchell, 35, was killed in the accident. Mitchell was a father of three who had been working at the farm since July 10th. Slideshow: Collapsed turbine
Blog: Profound sadness “He was the myth, the man, the legend. The leader of the family. He was the most respectful
human in the world, never did anything but help other people. His family loves him more than anything in the world,” said brother Bradd Mitchell. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two minor citations to Klondike
Wind Farms in May. One was regarding the farm's lack of a formal safety committee. The other citation had to do with stairs that were too high. Mitchell and another man had been working on a non-operational turbine at the Klondike Wind Farms east of Wasco, Oregon. Officials said Mitchell, who was at the top of the turbine, was killed when it buckled. The second man had to be rescued from the barrel of the collapsed structure. He was taken to an area hospital where his condition was unknown. OSHA was investigating the cause of the collapse. A team of engineers from Finland was expected to investigate the site.
Wind turbine worker hurt in fall remains hospitalized
· By Sarah Kleiner Varble
· Posted April 21, 2008 at 9:49 p.m.
The man who fell 50 to 60 feet inside the shaft of a wind turbine last week is still recovering at
University Medical Center in Lubbock. Christian Mendoza seems to be improving, but he still needs a lot of care, said George Bunting, general manager of Global Windpower Services, Mendoza's employer. Global Windpower Services contracts with GE to perform wind turbine maintenance. GE contracts with FPL Energy, the company that owns the Horse Hollow wind farm where the accident occurred. GE is conducting an investigation into the accident, so it is still not clear how Mendoza fell
inside the tower, Bunting said. "We're all just devastated that it happened," Bunting said, adding that Mendoza was a popular
employee. "The thing we're thankful for is that he was given such rapid medical attention" and it appears he
is going to recover. Global Windpower Services has never had an accident like this, Bunting said.
The industry is safety-conscious and ensures all employees know how to properly use protective
equipment, such as harnesses, steel-toed boots, hats and glasses, Bunting said. Mendoza had
been through all the training and was very experienced.
Maintenance worker killed in wind farm accident
Sep 16 2009
A MAN has died in an accident while carrying out maintenance at a wind farm today. It is understood the man was working high up on one of the turbines but did not fall. Police were called at around 9.15am to the Causeymire Wind Farm, south of Spittal, near the A9 in Caithness.
A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said: "Police inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the death are ongoing and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in due course. "The Health and Safety Executive has been made aware of the incident. "No details of the deceased will be issued until all next of kin have been informed." Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said it was called at 9.11am today with a report that a man was unconscious and stuck on a turbine. Three fire engines were sent to the wind farm but left the scene when it was confirmed the worker had died at 10.25am. RWE npower renewables owns the wind farm. In a statement, a spokeswoman said: "RWE npower renewables has regretfully been informed of
a fatality at one of its operating wind farms today. "The incident involved a contractor at Causeymire Wind Farm in Thurso, Scotland. "Our thoughts at this time are very much with the individual's family. "The cause of the incident is being investigated by RWE npower renewables and we will be fully co-operating with the Health and Safety Executive."
Minnesota FACE Investigation 94MN01301
Construction Worker Dies After Falling From a Wind Turbine Tower
A 29-year-old male rigger (victim) died after falling between 20-40 feet during wind turbine tower construction. He was wearing, but not using, a safety belt and lanyard at the time of the incident. The tubular, slightly tapered, turbine tower consisted of two vertical sections which were being bolted together. The bottom tower section had been set and the victim and two coworkers were attaching the top section. They were working from a pre-installed factory manufactured work platform inside the bottom section, at approximately 50 feet. Access to the platform was by way of a pre-installed metal ladder, attached to the wall with heavy steel supports. Tower section interiors were cleared of snow and ice prior to setting; except for ice on the bolt flange which was removed, the tower's top section appeared clear. After attaching four bolts, the workers noticed additional ice and snow inside the top tower section. They decided there was insufficient accumulation to warrant its removal for further cleaning, and one coworker climbed up the ladder and began to dislodge it. A large chunk of ice fell to the platform and struck the other coworker's head. As the victim and injured coworker began descending the ladder to exit the tower, more ice fell from the sides of the top section, through the platform's ladder opening, and onto the men on the ladder. The victim was knocked from the ladder by the falling ice. As he fell, his head struck a steel ladder support and he sustained instant, fatal, head injuries. MN FACE investigators concluded that, in order to prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
· ensure workers use fall protection, even in emergency situations, when ascending/descending fixed ladders;
· cap wind turbine tower sections exposed to inclement weather to avoid ice build- up inside; and
· provide employees with adequate training to ensure that they can recognize potential hazardous exposures.
MN FACE was notified of a March 2, 1994, work-related death of a rigger on March 3, 1994. MN OSHA, the county coroner, and the county sheriff were contacted and releasable information was taken. Copies of the sheriff's report and photos were obtained. A site investigation was conducted on March 4, 1994. The victim worked as a rigger for a construction company erecting wind turbine equipment. The company had been on the 73-tower site for five months, working throughout the fall and winter months. Rigging began four months prior to the incident. The victim had been provided on-the job training by his employer. The incident occurred about 10:00 a.m.
A 29-year-old male rigger (victim) died from injuries incurred after falling from a ladder inside a wind turbine tower under construction. He and two coworkers (Coworker 1 and Coworker 2) were bolting two tower sections together when the incident occurred. All were equipped with hard hats and safety belts with lanyards. The 120-foot tall tubular, tapered tower consisted of a
bottom and top section, 56 and 64 feet tall, respectively. The bottom section, already bolted to a base concrete pad, was 11 feet in diameter. It tapered to 9 feet at the top, where the two sections were connected using 36 bolts. A door at the base of the bottom section allowed access to the inside of the tubular structure. Inside, a pre-installed metal ladder, secured with heavy steel supports at 12-inch intervals, ran along one side of the section. Workers climbed the ladder with the wall at their backs and the steel supports at their sides. During construction, fall protection for riggers consisted of a safety belt and two lanyards equipped with clips to tie/clip off to the ladder rungs as they ascended or descended it. A cable climbing kit for self-retracting lifelines had not yet been installed behind the ladder as permanent fall protection. The ladder led to a preinstalled work platform at about 50 feet, where workers stood while bolting the tower sections together. See Figure 1. The platform's ladder opening, about 3-foot square, could be covered with a hinged metal cover after the platform was gained. Figure 1.; Interior of bottom section of tower. Not to scale. Tower construction began in the fall and proceeded throughout the winter. Before erection,
sections were stored lying horizontally, open-ended, and unprotected on the ground. Tower erection protocol called for the dislodging of any snow or ice accumulation on or inside tower sections before sections were set by rapping on its outside walls with 3 lb. rubber mallets until the snow/ice was cleared out. Snow removal took place while the sections were held in a vertical
position by a crane. Except for ice on the bolt flange, which was removed, the tower's top section appeared clear. The
top section was lifted into position, and the workers on the platform began bolting it into place. Four bolts were connected when the workers noticed more ice in the top section. They decided there was insufficient accumulation to warrant its removal; Coworker 1 climbed up its preinstalled ladder to dislodge it instead. A large chunk of ice fell to the platform and struck
Coworker 2 on the head, knocking his hard hat off. Coworker 2 complained of feeling dizzy and the victim, also on the platform, notified crew on the ground that he and injured Coworker 2 were coming down; Coworker 2 descended the ladder first. Apparently, neither worker clipped off to ladder rungs during their descent. More large pieces of ice, estimated to be up to 1 foot
square and 6 inches thick, suddenly let loose from the sides of the top section and fell through the platform's ladder opening onto the men on the ladder. The victim, above Coworker 2 on the ladder at between 20-40 feet, was struck by the ice and knocked from the ladder. As he fell, his head struck a steel ladder support and he sustained instant, fatal, head injuries. Other workers on site placed a 911 call immediately after the incident The victim's falling body had knocked Coworker 2 off the ladder and landed on top of him; he required hospitalization for several days. Coworker 1 managed to avoid the falling ice and escaped major njury. No resuscitation was attempted on the victim after the incident.
CAUSE OF DEATH
The cause of death reported by the county coroner was severe head injuries.
Recommendation #1: Ensure workers use fall protection, even in emergency situations, when ascending/descending fixed ladders. Discussion: Because of the height of the fixed ladders in the towers, workers were required to use fall protection (safety belts equipped with lanyards) during ascent and descent. During project start-up, in fact, it had been necessary to equip lanyards with larger clips to accommodate the towers' ladder rung size. In addition to making any necessary mechanical adjustments during start-up, and as part of fall protection training, employers should address appropriate procedures to use in emergency situations. The urgency of this situation demanded that the workers leave the tower as quickly as possible, but both the injured coworker and the victim should have used the supplied fall protection as they descended the ladder. In addition to the falling ice hazard, the injured coworker, feeling weak and dizzy, could have lost consciousness and fallen.
Recommendation #2: Cap wind turbine tower sections exposed to inclement weather to avoid ice build-up inside.
Discussion: Tower sections were stored lying horizontally, open-ended, and unprotected on the ground prior to erection. Open ends could be securely capped with a tarpaulin or similar covering to prevent snow from entering during winter months. This procedure, in addition to eliminating the hazard which caused this incident, may actually save time during tower erection.
Recommendation #3: Provide employees with adequate training to ensure that they can recognize potential hazardous exposures. This recommendation is in accordance with CFR 1926.21(b)(2).
Discussion: Employers should provide employees with adequate training to ensure that they can recognize potential hazardous exposures. The interior of tower sections were painted white, and snow and ice accumulation may have been difficult to see and/or assess, especially when they were hanging in a vertical position. Training should, therefore, emphasize that dislodging ice
above workers who may be in the tower is always hazardous and should be avoided. When new company procedures or guidelines are developed or existing ones are modified, employers should ensure that workers are provided with appropriate supplemental training. REFERENCES 1. Office of the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, Labor, 29 CFR Part
1926.21(b)(2), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C., July 1, 1992.
Sioux Falls utility worker dies in fall from Minnesota wind tower Man, 26, installing turbine before fire broke out; 2 others injured From Staff & Wire Reports Article Published: 11/12/05 CHANDLER, Minn. - A Sioux Falls man was killed after falling more than 200 feet from a wind tower after it caught fire Friday morning near Chandler, authorities said. Benjamin James Thovson, 26, died at the scene after falling about 210 feet, Murray County (Minn.) sheriff's deputy Randy Donahue said. The victim was installing a Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. wind turbine, according to a statement released Friday evening by Suzlon and another company, Gary, S.D.-based Energy Maintenance Service. The workers were replacing a bolt when the fire started, the Associated Press reported. Two other employees of the Gary firm were injured and treated at a local hospital, according to the statement. They were able to climb down and escape. The sheriff's office had received a call just before 10 a.m. reporting the fire, and that one person had fallen. When help arrived, Donahue said, "the wind generator was engulfed in flames." Names of the injured workers and details on the extent of their injuries were not released Friday. The tower is owned by Dean DeGreeff of Chandler, who is part of an eight-person private ownership group called East Ridge Wind Farm. Energy Maintenance Service and Suzlon officials said they were cooperating with federal, state and local authorities in the investigation. "Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of our co-worker, and to all employees of Energy Maintenance Service, LLC., and Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation," according to the statement. "This is a difficult time for all of us," it stated. "As is the case when workplace tragedies happen, Energy Maintenance Service and Suzlon will provide grief counseling services to employees as needed."
According to Suzlon's Web site, the company's Minnesota Project includes about a dozen wind farms in the southwestern part of the state. The firm supplies wind turbines for farms. The power produced is sold to Northern States Power Co., a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, and to Great River Energy, according to Suzlon.
Video Link: Senate President Therese Murray Declares Her Opposition to WESRA
Senate President Murray backs turbine choice
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff,
Posted: 12/01/2011 12:05:43 AM EST
-- State Senate President Therese Murray said on Wednesday that she would not support a moratorium on wind turbines in Massachusetts because all options need to be considered to satisfy the state’s future energy needs.
"There are places where you can put them where they are not harmful to people," Murray said, while answering questions at a Berkshire Chamber of Commerce function at the Country Club of Pittsfield.
As examples, the Plymouth Democrat referred to two projects in her home district: A windmill going up on a landfill in Kingston and a similar facility that supplies power for dormitories at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne.
"You can’t just cut everything out of the mix," Murray said. "Everything has to be done correctly and they have to be placed in the right place."
Murray, who attended the event with state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, fielded several questions about wind power, broadband, and the proposed Wind Energy Siting Reform Act from Berkshire residents Jonas Dovydenas, Terry Flynn, Eleanor Tillinghast and Harley Keisch. Keisch is a member of Preserve Lenox Mountain, an advocacy group that opposes the siting of industrial-scale wind turbines on Berkshire ridges.
Flynn said he was in favor of declaring a state moratorium on wind energy because of concern for environmental damage the construction of wind turbines would cause, the higher fees that ratepayers would be assessed, and the increasing concerns that surround wind power.
"We need to do more research," he said.
Noting that state funding for tourism in the Berkshires increased this year, Keisch said wind turbines on ridges would be "devastating to property values" in the county, would cause utility rates to go "up instead of down," and are not a reliable source of energy.
"You say that they should be part of the mix, but I think until we really understand the scientific basis for it, there are other alternatives," Keisch said.
"Putting [wind turbines] on a ridge, that’s your issue out here," Murray responded. "I get that. I certainly can hear you on that. But taking them out of other places where they do fit, I don’t agree with. It does fit in some places. It may not be right for your ridge. But it has to be part of the mix."
Dovydenas asked Murray for her opinion on the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act, which would shift the responsibility for siting wind turbines to an unelected board that would have the power to override local government decisions. Murray said some towns in her district, notably Falmouth, have had problems with the siting of wind facilities on municipal property.
"I think wind power has to be part of the solution for our energy fixes," Murray said, "but I don’t believe losing local control is the way to go. So I would have to support my towns that don’t support the siting bill."
Her comments were met with applause.
Downing, who chairs the joint Committee on Telecommunications and Energy, invited those interested in the siting bill to attend an energy forum that he will hold on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the Berkshire South Community Center in Great Barrington.
"Please come there because we’re going to be talking about that issue and others as well," he said, "and I really want it to be a dialogue."
Referring to state energy issues in general, Downing said, "I don’t think anybody can dispute that there are complex issues around all of it."
"There’s a lot of programs out there that aren’t getting into communities, into neighborhoods," he said. "I think there’s more work to be done around any number of different energy issues."
Pine Tree facility in the Tehachapi Mountains faces scrutiny over the deaths of at least six golden eagles, which are protected under federal law. Prosecution would be a major blow to the booming industry.
Federal authorities are investigating the deaths of at least six golden eagles at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's Pine Tree Wind Project in the Tehachapi Mountains, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday.
So far, no wind-energy company has been prosecuted by federal wildlife authorities in connection with the death of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. A prosecution in the Pine Tree case could cause some rethinking and redesigning of this booming alternative energy source. Facilities elsewhere also have been under scrutiny, according to a federal official familiar with the investigations.
"Wind farms have been killing birds for decades and law enforcement has done nothing about it, so this investigation is long overdue," said Shawn Smallwood, an expert on raptor ecology and wind farms. "It's going to ruffle wind industry feathers across the country."
Wildlife Service spokeswoman Lois Grunwald declined to comment on what she described as "an ongoing law enforcement investigation regarding Pine Tree."
Joe Ramallo, a DWP spokesman, said, "We are very concerned about golden eagle mortalities that have occurred at Pine Tree. We have been working cooperatively and collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game to investigate these incidents.
"We have also actively and promptly self-reported raptor mortalities to both authorities," he said. "Moving forward, we will be ramping up further our extensive field monitoring and will work with the agencies to develop an eagle conservation plan as part of more proactive efforts to monitor avian activities in the Pine Tree area."
An internal DWP bird and bat mortality report for the year ending June 2010 indicated that compared to 45 other wind facilities nationwide, bird fatality rates were "relatively high" at Pine Tree, which has 90 towers generating 120 megawatts on 8,000 acres.
Golden eagles weigh about 14 pounds and stand up to 40 inches tall. Their flight behavior and size make it difficult for them to maneuver through forests of wind turbine blades spinning as fast as 200 mph — especially when they are distracted by the sight of prey such as squirrels and rabbits.
DWP officials acknowledged that at least six golden eagles have been struck dead by wind turbine blades at the two-year-old Kern County facility, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, which was designed to contribute to the city's renewable energy goal of 35% by 2020.
Although the total deaths at Pine Tree pale in comparison with the 67 golden eagles that die each year in Northern California's Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, the annual death rate per turbine is three times higher at the DWP facility. The Altamont Pass facility has 5,000 wind turbines — 55 times as many as Pine Tree.
Nationwide, about 440,000 birds are killed at wind farms each year, according to the Wildlife Service. The American Wind Energy Assn., an industry lobbying group, points out that far more birds are killed by collisions with radio towers, tall buildings, airplanes and vehicles, and encounters with household cats.
Attorney Allan Marks, who specializes in renewable energy projects, called the Pine Tree deaths "an isolated case. If their golden eagle mortality rate is above average, it means the industry as a whole is in compliance."
About 1,595 birds, mostly migratory songbirds and medium-sized species such as California quail and western meadowlark, die each year at Pine Tree, according to the bird mortality report prepared for the DWP last year by Ojai-based BioResource Consultants.
BioResource spokesman Peter Cantle suggested that those bird deaths may be unrelated to Pine Tree's wind turbines.
"It's hard to tease out those numbers," he said. "Basically, we walked around the site to find bird mortalities, which could have been attributable to a number of things including natural mortality and predators."
The death count worries environmentalists because the $425-million Pine Tree facility is in a region viewed as a burgeoning hot spot for wind energy production.
"We believe this problem must be dealt with immediately because Pine Tree is only one of several industrial energy developments proposed for that area over the next five to 10 years," said Los Angeles Audubon President Travis Longcore. "Combined, they have the potential to wipe this large, long-lived species out of the sky."
By SHARON PELL
Published on Tuesday 15 March 2011 07:45
ALL eyes will be on Deeping St Nicholas this summer when a landmark case on noise created by wind turbines reaches the High Court.
A date has finally been set for Jane and Julian Davis to have their say on turbines which they claim have forced them out of their home.
Their legal bid, which is thought to be one of the first private nuisance cases brought against a wind farm, will be heard in the High Court from July 4 and has been scheduled to run for ten days.
Mrs Davis said: “We have done our witness statements, which run into many thousands of words, the rest of the witness statements have been put together and there are a lot of experts looking at the noise issues.
“It would be nice to think we could get some kind of outcome where they stop the noise so we can go home.”
Mr and Mrs Davis’ farm is just 1,000 metres from the wind farm which went “live” in 2006.
The couple claim they were left unable to sleep from the noise coming from eight 100-metre turbines and they were forced to move into rented accomodation in Spalding.
Mrs Davis has previously described the noise as a constant low humming during the day and says the turbines make the sound of a helicopter landing during high winds or when the air pressure changes due to cooling in the evening.
However, the couple have insisted they are not against wind turbines in principle.
Mrs Davis says she is “cautiously optimistic” about their ongoing battle being used as a test case for other campaigners across the country.
The Deeping St Nicholas site will also become the focus of an international audience next month.
A four-day conference is taking place in Rome next month where delegates will be discussing issues surrounding wind turbine noise.
“About 100 academic papers are being presented to that conference,” said Mrs Davis. “Experts have used our case for 27 of them. They will be discussing knowledge gained at Deeping St Nicholas.”
Mrs Davis estimates there will be about 300 people attending the conference.
She said many visitors still call at the farm, where her husband still works on a daily basis.
Comment: You think Europeans with lots of experience with Wind Turbines would lov’em…Think again! And these are going to ONE MILE Away!!!!
“But if the Dutch can't learn to love wind power, what hope is there for the world to adopt it as a major energy source?”
By ARTHUR MAX
The Associated Press
Monday, February 14, 2011; 5:36 AM
URK, Netherlands -- On an outcrop near this town's lighthouse, a woman in stone perpetually scans the horizon for the fishing fleet returning home. To the dismay of townspeople, her view may soon be obscured by some of the world's tallest wind turbines.
In this eco-friendly nation where windmills are embedded in the culture, it may seem strange that a spat over wind power threatens to land in the country's highest court.
But these turbines are a far cry from the squat four-bladed mills used for centuries to drain the swamps and create new land from the sea. They are giants, with gray metallic blades that will scrape the clouds at 650 feet (about 200 meters) - and residents say they'll destroy a way of life.
"They are the highest buildings in Holland," says Leen van Loosen, Urk's undertaker who is campaigning to stop the project. "It's just crazy."
As wind turbines sprout up across Europe - and increasingly off its coastlines - tussles between energy developers and local opponents are increasingly common. In the United States, too, wind farm proposals often face determined defiance, most famously the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod that took 10 years to win approval.
But with oil prices again toying with $100 a barrel and global concerns mounting over climate change, electricity from wind, solar, biogas and other renewables is seen by many as the long-term answer to energy security, pollution and curbing greenhouse gases.
Among those emerging resources, wind is the cheapest and its technology well developed.
Last year alone nearly 10,000 megawatts of wind power capacity was installed in the European Union, lifting the EU's total to 84,000 megawatts, or nearly 10 percent of the EU's power generation, the European Wind Energy Association said in a report this month. Worldwide, wind capacity grew by nearly 36,000 megawatts last year, or 22.5 percent - nearly half of it in China, said the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council.
But if the Dutch can't learn to love wind power, what hope is there for the world to adopt it as a major energy source?
"In Holland, there's hardly any project that doesn't get delayed," said Michiel Muller, the wind unit manager of Ecofys, a research and consultancy firm on sustainable energy, who is not connected with the Urk project.
Across Europe, each installation faces a slew of hurdles, starting from the required Environmental Impact Assessment to regulatory approvals by often more than a dozen authorities. It takes an average of 55 months to wade through the bureaucratic tangle before work can begin, the wind energy association said.
Of some 200 wind energy projects studied in 2007-8 in Europe, 40 percent were ensnared in lawsuits, and 30 percent more faced slowdowns because of local resistance or questioning from nonprofit environmental groups, the association said. It had no figures on how many projects were killed before they got started.
With 430 megawatts of capacity, the wind park near Urk, population 18,000, would provide enough electricity for 400,000 homes and rank among Europe's largest. It would help the Netherlands as it races to catch up with the stiff target set by the European Union to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The Dutch now have a capacity of 2,237 megawatts from wind - far short of its 12,000 megawatt national target for 2020.
The 86 turbines are to be erected in three rows, 38 on land and 48 off shore. The first will be one mile (1.6 kilometers) from the statue of the fisherman's wife, a 1986 monument on the north side of town that is encircled by plaques with the names of hundreds of Urk's fishermen lost at sea since 1717.
Residents cite a long litany of dangers from the wind park. Fishing and tourism will suffer, they say. The tranquil panorama of the local lake will be disrupted, the town will tremble with the constant rumbling noise of blades, birds will be traumatized, and the whole project could undermine a dike slated to host turbines.
"We are all for green energy," says Van Loosen, "but this is out of proportion."
Advocates dismiss such concerns as misinformation, saying the turbines will be far enough from the town that they will not be heard and barely will be seen. One of their leaders says the modern mills simply follow a hallowed Dutch tradition.
"Windmills belong to the Netherlands," says Janneke Wijnia-Lemstra, who represents the farmers behind the privately-financed euro1 billion project. Government subsidies will guarantee a competitive price for the energy produced.
While the focus today is turbines, they're not the only target of Dutch resistance to environmental projects. Hostility by the citizens of Barendrecht killed a proposal in 2009 to bury carbon dioxide under their town that is siphoned from a Royal Dutch Shell refinery in nearby Rotterdam.
Instead, the plan for the experimental project was shifted to the more sparsely populated north of the country, but it has now run into equally fierce protests from villagers there. The government has said it will decide in a few weeks whether to go ahead.
Economics Minister Maxime Verhagen says the wind project, set to go up 55 miles (90 kms) northeast of Amsterdam, fits with the energy mix that the Netherlands needs, and that every energy source has a down side.
"You could say 'no' to wind energy because it will spoil the view. You can say 'no' to nuclear energy because of the waste. And you can say 'no' to coal as well - leaving us with no energy at all in the Netherlands," he told Dutch television when asked about Urk's revolt.
After eliminating seven turbines from the plan, the government signed off on the wind farm last month - 12 years after it was first proposed. The town says it won't back down unless another 15 turbines are ditched, and vows to appeal to the Council of State, the country's highest court, and possibly to European courts.
The farmland where the turbines are to be built is under the authority of the municipality of Noordoostpolder, Urk's neighbor. Noordoostpolder's council decreed against more windmills being erected on individual farms, partly because the scattered turbines would be too unsightly. That's when it was decided to concentrate them in a large park along the coast.
Urk has been inhabited for some 1,000 years. Nearly all the town's revenue derives from fishing or the tourists who come to see the harbor and the old quayside cottages.
Until the 1940s it was an island, and residents are still resentful that they were not consulted before a dike was built that created the North East polder - land reclaimed from the sea - connecting the mainland to their rocky knoll. Ironically, it's just behind this dike that nearly half the turbines will rise.
"It's an island culture and history," says Urk Mayor Jaap Kroon.
To accusations of indulging a not-in-my-back-yard attitude, the mayor retorts:
"This is not our back yard. It's our front yard."
From: McCann Appraisal, LLC
To: The OttawaCitizen.com
My expertise is not in health issues, but there is a direct relationship between those impacts and my proffesional studies of real estate impacts.
For example, numerous families have been forced to abandon their homes due to the factual impacts to health, sleep disturbances and the like, which the Canadian Wind Energy Associationand the American Wind Energy Association prefer to dismiss as “concerns.” Many others have been unable to sell their homes due to the presence of nearby turbines, and which a growing list of realtors and estate agents report as being the deciding factor in would-be buyer’s decisions to look elsewhere.
There is a measurable and significant loss of values within 2 to 3 miles, and noise impacts have been broadcast as far as 5 miles or more, in some instances, with 1 to 2 miles being commonplace. Value losses have been measured at 20% to 40%, with a total loss of equity in some instances.
Wind developers have been known to buy out the most vocal neighbors who refuse to roll over and play dead when they are initially ignored, and then turn around and sell those same homes for 60% to 80% below the appraised value—thus confirming value losses by their own actions.
Other developers have avoided future liability by bulldozing the purchased homes.
In fact, wind developers and the existing Canadian setback are even inadequate to protect neighbors from ice throw or from sections of turbine blades, which are documented as occurring up to half a mile from the turbines, and I have personally heard of a blade throw (piece) that went about 1 mile.
Regardless of these facts, the wind industry often tries to convince the siting decision makers that safety issues are satisfied by setbacks of 1.1 X the height of turbines (550 meters in Canada), as if preventing a toppling turbine from landing on a neighbors house is the correct standard.
It is obvious what is happening here: The wind industry is playing a numbers game, under the assumption or actuarial calculations that it is less costly for them to fight a number of lawsuits from citizens who do not have deep pockets, than it is to buy out the property they need to create huge projects.
The solution is simple, also: Mandate that all property they seek to encompass with industrial overlays be purchased outright, so people have an option as to whether they choose to live in a large, noisy industrial setting.
I am quite certain any of your staff can confirm my factual comments by simply driving to any number of projects and counting the abandned and for sale homes, talking with a few remaining neighbors, etc. Maybe start with the Clear Creek project, where a dozen homes are reported abandoned, due to proximity of about 3 dozen turbines. The list will grow as large as time devoted to research of this issue will allow.
Like most other people, I initially assumed that wind energy would be a good trend. Unlike most people, I have expended something on the order of 2,000 hours looking into it, and my findings are quite contrary to the “positions” of the wind industry and their lobbyists. However, even the wind industry’s counterpart to my profession, Mr. Ben Hoen, has now gone on record saying that Property Value Guarantees should be used for nearby homeowners, and that “if wind developers won’t guarantee that, then they really don’t have a leg to stand on.”
Your publication can do much to bring the truth to public view, and I am available to answer any questions you may have. Also, you have my permission to publish this letter as you see fit.
Incidentally, if you Google my name + Adams County, Illinois, you will find a lengthier report which provides more details of property value impacts, along with public documents on buyouts made by Canadian Hydro of turbine neighbors homes.
Michael S. McCann
McCann Appraisal, LLC
500 North Michigan Avenue, Suite # 300
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Real Estate Appraisal & Consulting
Fax: (312) 644-9244
Cell: (312) 961-1601
Robert Rand, a sound engineer from Brunswick displayed a series of graphs showing how sound levels from turbines could affect people living at various distances from a turbine. He also played a recording of two turbines he said was made one mile from the turbines. He was eventually asked to turn off the sound
RUMFORD - Panelists at a wind energy forum Wednesday night lambasted the state for not conducting more studies on the potential impact of wind farms and Dr. Dora Ann Mills, the state's chief medical officer, for not pursuing possible health issues related to them.
The panelists warned that wind energy would be both more expensive and result in greater pollution.
About 50 people turned out for the decidedly one-sided presentation on potential wind farm development in Rumford and other locations in Western Maine.
The forum, sponsored by the River Valley Wind Education Committee, was held about a month before Rumford and Dixfield voters will decide whether to adopt wind energy ordinances.
Panelist J Dwight, an economist from Wilton and one of the four panelists, said using electricity generated from wind turbines would likely double utility bills by 2020.
"We have enough power already," he said.
He said later during the forum that First Wind LLC of...
The protected golden eagle has grounded the first wind farm in Wasco County, and is throwing another in Gilliam County into doubt.
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that theOregon Department of Energy allow wind turbines no closer than 6 miles to a golden eagle nest. The letter concerned the Summit Ridge wind farm in Wasco County, being developed by LotusWorks of Vancouver, Wash.
Studies detected federally protected gold eagles, as well as bald eagles, in the area, and asked LotusWorks to prepare a protection plan for the species.
The letter prompted Portland General Electric to back off its push to buy development rights for a massive new wind farm near Arlington in Gilliam County.
The utility withdrew a request to regulators to waive normal competitive bidding requirements that apply to acquisition of new power plants. PGE originally said it needed to act fast to secure rights to one of the dwindling number of good development sites on the mid Columbia.
The utility said Wednesday that Rock Creek could still prove a feasible project, but it was no longer necessary to step outside the normal process on a project that could be affected by similar wildlife concerns.