Renewable energy: Where’s the jobs?

The bigger they are, the more LFN (Denmark)

—Henrik Møller & Christian Sejer Pedersen (click here for PDF of the article)

“Low-frequency noise from large wind turbines,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 129, no. 6, June 2011, pp. 3727-3744.


As wind turbines get larger, worries have emerged that the turbine noise would move down in frequency and that the low-frequency noise would cause annoyance for the neighbors. The noise emission from 48 wind turbines with nominal electric power up to 3.6 MW is analyzed and discussed.

The relative amount of low-frequency noise is higher for large turbines (2.3–3.6 MW) than for small turbines (2 MW), and the difference is statistically significant. The difference can also be expressed as a downward shift of the spectrum of approximately one-third of an octave.

A further shift of similar size is suggested for future turbines in the 10 MW range.

Due to the air absorption, the higher low-frequency content becomes even more pronounced when sound pressure levels in relevant neighbor distances are considered.

Even when A-weighted levels are considered, a substantial part of the noise is at low frequencies and, for several of the investigated large turbines, the one-third octave band with the highest level is at or below 250 Hz.

It is thus beyond any doubt that the low-frequency part of the spectrum plays an important role in the noise at the neighbors.

Editor’s note:  A close reading of this article shows that it invokes some outdated assumptions to reach its conclusions—rendering those conclusions flawed.  As with the following:

The turbines do emit infrasound (sound below 20 Hz), but levels are low when human sensitivity to these frequencies is accounted for. Even close to the turbines, the infrasonic sound pressure level is much below the normal hearing threshold, and infrasound is thus not considered as a problem with turbines of the investigated size and construction.

In the main, however, Møller and Pedersen are to be commended for heading in the right direction.

Senate Committee whitewashes Wind Turbine Syndrome (Australia)

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

The Australian Senate Committee, which spent weeks listening to testimony on wind turbines and health, has issued its final report.  (Click here to read it and here for the source.)

Let’s restate that.  The Australian Senate Committee, which spent weeks of taxpayer money listening to testimony on wind turbines and health, wasted everyone’s time.  Including their own.

Many of us suspected it would be a farce from the outset:  a pretense of weighty deliberation on the health impacts of wind turbines—obviously placed too damn close to people’s homes, for Chrissakes!

Our hunch was prophetic; it was in fact a farce.  A political football game coached by Big Wind.  It’s a game which the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) continues to play in its own craven way.

Bottom line:  Despite much official posturing and expense and time, rural Australians will continue to suffer from Wind Turbine Syndrome.  There will be no relief.

Our advice to Australians (and others around the world) regarding future “government” hearings into the matter of WTS?  Don’t participate.  Boycott!  It’s a hoax.  A hoax for suckers.

“There is a problem!” Textbook Wind Turbine Syndrome (Australia)

Joza Krupka, “Weeping Woman”

Berni Janssen (6/7/11)

I’d like to thank the (Australian) National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for organising this scientific forum and for inviting affected people to contribute—to tell their story. This is an important step in furthering our knowledge and understanding of an ongoing problem.

Be in no doubt that I am standing here because there is a problem, not because I am a flat earth, climate change denying, technophobic, anti-windfarm, luddite, NIMBY, and that any one of anger, fear, greed, jealousy, or the holy grail of compensation is a contributing factor to the adverse health we are experiencing. Nor am I an anxious, fearmongering, psychosomatic, hypochondriac. Nor disempowered. Neither is my partner. Nor the people I know in my local community who are experiencing adverse health effects since the Waubra Wind Farm commenced operation. A sweeping statement, I know, but I wanted to get the labelling out of the way.

There are several points regarding the proliferation of these labels:

  • I find it very disappointing that the people who have proposed these theories regarding motivations and causes have not tested their hypotheses by interviewing affected people and conducting psychological or sociological studies. Well not to my knowledge anyway. Whilst these are theories about what has and is occurring, we need robust research, rather than continued hypothesizing. Especially since it is in the context of a sensitive emotionally charged political issue.
  • It does not promote logical inquiry. These theories propose answers that suit certain agendas, and so have hindered the necessary questioning, probing.
  • It has contributed to the development of a toxic culture of put-down, ridicule and abuse.
  • People feel that their experience has been dismissed and they are being negated. It has also caused much distress and hurt for people who are already vulnerable.

I just wanted to get that out of the way, so that what you will hear is not framed by preconceptions.

I live in Evansford, with Gunther, my partner. We purposely built our home and studios using sustainable principles and materials, to create an environment we need to fulfil our philosophical bent and to pursue our creative work. We are situated on 6o acres of bushland on a hill on the northern edge of the Waubra Wind Farm, 3.385 kilometres from the nearest cluster of turbines. There are another thirty straddling the valley and hills, to our south, southwest. And the rest of the windfarm beyond that.

We did not object to the Waubra Wind Farm. We thought it would be good for farmers, the local and broader community and the environment. We believed what we had been told.

I have had good health all my life (taken an approach of prevention rather than cure, so have been attentive to diet, exercise etc. I have rarely had need to visit a doctor except more recently for the annual tests. Gunther, likewise, has had good health. He has had the same GP for 25 years, so a well documented record over that time.

The Waubra Windfarm commenced operation roll-out in February 2009 on the southern side and was fully operational by late June 2009.

In May/June 2009 I woke in the night with a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest. I had never experienced that before. It occurred several times over the course of the following month. I did not associate it with the wind turbines at that time. In July I visited my General Practitioner (GP), who noted that my blood pressure was elevated, so I was immediately sent to a cardiologist. Over the next three months all the tests were done—electrocardiogram, halter monitor, exercise stress test, and echo-cardiogram.  Results:  heart is in good health and functioning normally.

Some of the symptoms noted are: sleep disruption, headaches, ear and head pressure, tinnitus, muscular/joint aches, pain; body vibration—tingling, fizzy, prickly feeling—hypertension, cognitive impairment, emotional volatility, depression, amongst others. Myself, my partner and at least thirty people that I can confirm, and quite a few that I have heard of, are experiencing similar health issues, commencing around the same time in mid-2009. They live up to over 4 kilometres from the turbines. Not everyone has exactly the same set of symptoms, nor are they experienced with the same intensity.

Mostly, people did not initially associate their health issues with the turbines. It was only through conversations that we began to realise that something odd was going on—so many people experiencing similar health issues, starting around the same time. We heard about the Deans moving out of their home, began looking on the Internet, and found that there were people all over the world living near windfarms experiencing similar problems. We were introduced to the Deans (and here) and the Godfreys who were very badly affected. We began to keep a health journal, in an effort to see what was happening, check on whether this was what was really happening. We initially jotted down health issues and then documented wind direction, weather conditions and most lately have been noting blood pressure.

I don’t experience all of the symptoms, nor all of the time. It depends on the conjunction of turbines operating, weather conditions and wind direction. Most people have noted that the symptoms do not occur when they are away from the area or when the turbines are not operating, but return when they are in the windfarm area and the turbines are operating. Again, people have noted that the symptoms now, in comparison to when they first started, do not diminish as rapidly, and on return, the onset is quicker and intensity has increased (emphasis added).

Many people locally have noted the effect on their cognitive function.  Some say they feel as if their mind is foggy, vague.  Others that their memory has deteriorated. Certainly I feel as if concentration and focus, my ability to find a word, form a sentence, communicate clearly, my ability to plan, execute and multitask has seriously diminished (emphasis added).

Words, communication and my ability to organise and be organised are the tools of my trade. As a freelance cultural worker I have mostly managed multiple projects simultaneously for over twenty five years. Now there are days that I would be lucky and very happy if I could achieve any one of those tasks. I have had to change the way I work, like many people locally. I have to allow much more time to ensure that I meet a deadline, because I cannot reliably predict when I will be able to work efficiently and effectively.

I continue to experience rapid heartbeat, waking me from sleep, or it occurs at my desk or while gardening. It can last for varying amounts of time. Until recently, the symptoms had not occurred when I was away from the wind farm. However in just the last two months I have had the same experience in the city, both times when I was in very close proximity to air conditioning ducting in a shopping centre and a motor room opposite the room I was staying in a hotel—a very low industrial hum that triggered vibration, accelerated heart rate, tightness in the chest.

Over the two years I have noted, I have become more sensitive to noise.  I have difficulty in distinguishing words in conversations when more than one conversation is occurring. Sinusitis and a cough recur frequently, now, and I seem more prone to colds and viruses in general. Most days I feel exhausted, and all that means for your sense of well-being and simple enjoyment of life.

Gunther has similar issues.

Dr. Rimas Lubinas, our General Practitioner, stated:

It’s unusual, the manner of presentation of symptoms with regard to the timing of new hypertension, sleep disturbance, muscle pain, aches, cognitive dysfunction, for two individuals. Both individuals noticed reduction in these symptoms when away from windfarm area. These symptoms returned when back in the area.

“If synonymous with other’s experience, it is worth further investigation.”

We know that our experience is synonymous with others, locally, in Australia and across the world. The effects on some people are so severe it has driven them out of their homes. No one abandons their home without good reason. The Deans, Godfreys, Stepnells have moved out because of the huge impact on their health and their lives. It continues to be an emotional, physical and financial burden. Other people should not have to experience what we have.

All we know is that there are serious health problems associated with wind farms and there needs to be a range of independent studies conducted. That is what we have been, and continue to ask for—thorough, independent research.

Ah, the genius of wind energy! (Cartoon)


(With appreciation to Cartoons by Josh.)

Pierpont & Laurie discuss Wind Turbine Syndrome (Cape Cod, Mass.)

Click here for a Webinar with Drs. Pierpont and Laurie, 6/14/11, put on by Windwise~Cape Cod.

Editor’s note
:  In her book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome,” Pierpont ended her discussion of peer review with the following:

In the case of this book, a variety of scientists and physicians, all professors at medical schools or university departments of biology, read and commented on the manuscript and recommended it as an important contribution to knowledge and conforming to the canons of clinical and scientific research.   Moreover, they did in fact suggest revisions, even substantial revisions and additions, all of which I made. Some gave me written reports to include in the book itself. See “Referee Reports.” Others offered to review the book after it was published.

That said, the litmus test of scientific validity is not peer review, which, after all, is not infallible, as the history of science amply demonstrates. Peer review is an important first step in judging scientific or scholarly merit. Still, the ultimate test is whether other scientists can follow the author’s research protocol and get the same results, or if different lines of research point to the same conclusions.

That, of course, remains to be seen with this report.

I am happy to report that confirmation no longer “remains to be seen.”  Dr. Sarah Laurie’s research in Australia is daily confirming Pierpont’s case for Wind Turbine Syndrome.  (Click here for a PDF of Dr. Laurie’s Cape Cod PowerPoint presentation.)

Soul of Wolfe Island destroyed (Ontario)

“This is the sound they told us did not exist”

See “86 hands, 86 turbines” (Wolfe Is., Ontario)

—“Windmills Blow” (7/11/09)

It’s not yet midnight. The sky is clear, except for a few small clouds moving across the sky.

I am standing on my back deck and I am in awe of the ominous, deep rumblings of the closest windmill.

It is a kilometre away. This is the sound they told us did not exist.

Just like the ones I saw in Lowville, the turbines sound like a jet—too high to be seen, but close enough to hear.

The difference is, the jet passes over, and the silence of the night resumes.

In the case of the turbines, the noise continues into the night, and then into the day.

When I went back into the house and went to bed, I could still here the noise coming through my open window. What was it that made the noise particularly thunderous last night? There was a soft breeze, the air was clear, atmospheric conditions.  Who knows? My hearing isn’t always the best, so I know I’m I am not overly sensitive.

Many years ago, I originally came to Wolfe Island to escape the sounds of the city. On my first night sleeping here, I was amazed at the silence. I relished the sounds of nature, frogs, crickets, and the intermittent howl of coyotes. After decades of listening to sirens, drunks, and screaming tires, the peacefulness of Wolfe Island was heavenly.

Residents who opposed the placement of turbines on Wolfe Island were assured that there would be no noise, which to me made no sense.  Everyone knows that when a stick, a whip, a skipping rope is lashed, there is a distinct whooshing sound. Cap’n Mike laughed at our concerns, telling us that one could stand right under a turbine and not hear a sound.  (Of course, standing under a windmill is like standing under a gigantic speaker—the noise radiates out.  Underneath is probably the quietest place to stand.)

We were even told that quite often, people like to picnic under them! Yes indeed Mr. Jablonicky, and we are all idiots!

I do not feel that I should change my way of living in order to block out the sound of the turbines. I do not want to close my windows at night; I do not want to run something that makes white noise to mask the noise; I do not want to move.

What I want is an apology, an admission from the corporations that they did in fact lie. I want to launch a class action suit against them.

I want everyone who was so eager to put a windmill on their property to go crazy from the noise and the guilt that were it not for their greed to get money from nothing, Wolfe Island would still be a peaceful oasis in a world of noise and confusion.


Wind turbines: “Not here! Not anywhere!” (USA & Canada)

Wind Turbine Syndrome, yet again (Ontario)

Finally, a govt. has the balls to shut down loud (infrasonic) windfarm! (Scotland)

Local government shuts down windfarm after neighbors’ noise complaints to windfarm operator are routinely ignored

—Caroline McMorran, The Northern Times (6/9/11)

The local authority has forced Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to shut down a Sutherland wind farm after the company breached planning controls by failing to deal with excessive noise from the development.

People living close to the Achany wind farm near Rosehall are claiming their lives are being made a misery by the constant noise, and are angry that their complaints are being ignored.

Editor’s note:  We interrupt this newspaper story to present the following screenshot from Scottish and Southern Energy’s website, trumpeting their principles (misspelled “principals”) of something they call “corporate responsibility.”

No kidding!  They actually wrote this down and posted it!  You couldn’t make this stuff up!

In an unprecedented move, Highland Council issued a temporary stop notice on the 23-turbine wind farm at 3pm on Monday.

The turbine blades at the £55 million, 40MW windfarm, which came on stream in July last year, stopped turning that night.

The stop notice will remain in place for a month, until July 4, with the shut down representing a huge financial loss to the power company.

Highland Council’s principal planner Gordon Moonie confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that it was the first time the authority had issued a notice of this type.

He said he was unaware of any other council taking similar action.

“This temporary stop notice was introduced under a 2006 Act and it hasn’t been used very often, but it is quite an effective way of dealing with a breach of planning control. In a sense it affects the company where it hurts—in their pocket,” he said.

Mr Moonie revealed that the problems with Achany had been ongoing for about a year, with constant complaints to planners about noise.

“We were getting complaints from the local people and the community and we weren’t getting any action from SSE, so we decided that the best way forward was to serve this temporary stop notice,” he said.

“It means that the windfarm has to cease operating and we can then get round the table and agree a way forward that is in everyone’s interest.”

According to the stop notice, SSE breached planning controls by failing to provide a scheme for mitigating noise levels prior to the development coming on stream.

They also failed to comply with a request to measure noise levels at two local properties—Rosehall Cottage and a home at Durcha—when specifically asked to do so following complaints from the householders.

The Durcha property is just 2km away from some of the turbines.

The company has further breached planning controls by failing to notify the local authority of the date the development first supplied electricity to the National Grid.

Local resident Andy Simpson is the chairman of Kyle of Sutherland Against Braemore (KoSAB), the group protesting against a proposed wind farm at Braemore, near Lairg.

He told the Northern Times: “The householder at Durcha has been complaining bitterly about the noise in certain weather conditions and said it has made life unbearable at times.

“Therefore, I’m really pleased that Highland Council have done the right thing.

“However, it gives me grave concern that a developer appears to have dismissed a genuine noise complaint once a wind farm has been constructed.

“This surely shows scant care or empathy for local communities from these large corporates.”

He added: “An even greater cause for concern is the proposal for Braemore windfarm which KoSAB estimate is within 2km of 83 houses.”

Rosehall resident Colin Gilmour, who chaired the Achany Windfarm Liaison Group said: “When Achany became operational in July 2010, we closed the liaison group down because in effect we did not really have any more to do with the development and we were not aware at the time that SSE had not met these conditions.

“However, the issue of noise from Achany has come up at the liaison group set up for the Rosehall Hill wind farm which is being constructed by E.ON.

“There is now a worry that houses at Durcha could be affected by noise from both wind farms and that one operator will blame the other.

“They need to sort out the Achany issue before Rosehall Hill wind farm becomes operational.”

Mr Gilmour continued: “The householder at Durcha is particularly affected when the wind is coming from the north-east or in certain weather conditions. But he will be even closer to some of the Rosehall Hill turbines.

“Highland Council became a bit exasperated in the end with SSE over Achany because they just didn’t meet the conditions.”

When asked for a comment, a spokesman for SSE yesterday (Thursday) responded: “Following a request from the Higland Council, we have temporarily suspended generation at our Achany wind farm, near Lairg. We are working closely with council officials and will be meeting representatives later today. We are confident that we can reach an agreement with the council very quickly.”

National health institute hears testimony on Wind Turbine Syndrome (Australia)

I’m standing here because there is a problem,” Ms Bernie Janssen told the seminar.  Ms Janssen says she didn’t object to the wind farm at Waubra, in Victoria in 2009, until she began feeling unwell.

“In May-June 2009 I woke in the night with rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath. I didn’t associate it then with wind turbines. In July, my General Practitioner noticed that my blood pressure was elevated.”  She says she’s also felt body vibration, hypertension, tinitus, cognitive depression, sleep disruption, ear and head pressure.

She found out 37 people living up to 4 km away from turbines began experiencing symptoms at about the same time.


(This image was not used in the article, below)

—Sarina Locker, ABC Rural (6/9/11)

“I’m standing here because there is a problem,” Ms Bernie Janssen told the seminar.

Ms Janssen says she didn’t object to the wind farm at Waubra, in Victoria in 2009, until she began feeling unwell.

“In May-June 2009 I woke in the night with rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath. I didn’t associate it then with wind turbines. In July, my GP noticed that my blood pressure was elevated.”

She says she’s also felt body vibration, hypertension, tinitus, cognitive depression, sleep disruption, ear and head pressure.

She found out 37 people living up to 4km away from turbines began experiencing symptoms at about the same time.

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) hearing comes just one week before the Senate Inquiry in the impacts of windfarms is tabled in Parliament.

Many studies on so-called wind turbine syndrome have been based on interviewing sufferers.

But a Portuguese environmental scientist is studying the physical effects of low frequency noise on the body.

Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira, PhD

Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira of Lusofona University in Portugal has been studying vibroacoustics [Vibro-Acoustic Disease = VAD].  [Editor’s note:  Click here for Dr. Nina Pierpont’s clarification of the difference between Vibro-Acoustic Disease and Wind Turbine Syndrome.]

“We assess the effects of noise based on medical tests, so they’re objective medical tests.

“If we go in what we’ll do is get echo-cardiograms, we’ll do brain studies.”

Dr Alves-Pereira has degrees in physics, biomedical engineering and a PhD environmental science.

She bases her research on her earlier work on aircraft workers, dating back to the 1980s who’ve been exposed to high levels of noise, up to 200Hz.

“Noise in the aeronautical industry is very rich in low frequency components,” she says.

She found a specific set of symptoms associated with people exposed to low frequency noise, but says these levels are much lower than the levels of low frequency noise in houses near windfarms.

She says they studied one family and their horses near a windfarm, and the biological response of their tissues which she says relates to exposure to low frequency noise.

Geoff Leventhall, PhD

UK-based noise and vibration consultant Dr Geoff Leventhall says the media has been running scare stories about infrasound since the 1970s.

He cites NASA’s research with Apollo space program found no impact.

“The sort of energy exposure from the NASA work over 24 years would take a few thousand years to get from wind farms at the low levels that they have.”

He rejects the theory of a direct physiological effect of infrasound.  He says it’s an assumption.  [Editor’s note:  Leventhall is a physicist, not a physician or clinician of any sort. Moreover, he regularly consults for the wind industry, and has done so for years.  You can get a sense of the man’s grasp of WTS from this correspondence, along with this article and this and this and this.]

He says what annoys people is the audible swish of the blades not infrasound.

Renowned anti-smoking campaigner, public health Professor Dr Simon Chapman has entered the debate and says it’s a noisy minority who say they suffer from the noise.

Dr Chapman argues compensation from wind turbines situated on your farm could be the antitode.

“People who move to the country, often will feel [they] don’t want their environment disturbed . . . and they’re annoyed to see wind farms unless they’re benefitting economically from them.”

He doesn’t see the need for more research, because it might hold up development of wind power.

Despite the scepticism, Australia’s peak body supporting health research the NHMRC will conduct another review of the evidence over the next 12 months.


“We’re the unwilling guinea pigs in your experiment with wind energy” (Mass.)

It’s improper turbine siting,” she said. “It’s not how they work, it’s where they are.”

Hobart asserted that wind turbine syndrome was a real phenomenon.

“Every time we go away, we get better,” she said. “It’s a disease, we’ve been given it, and we can cure it—by going away.”

Hobart accused town officials of allowing “politics, money, and self-interest” to interfere with protecting the health and safety of Falmouth citizens, and said firms like Vestas “hide behind the big green picture.”

—Conor Powers-Smith, Falmouth Patch (6/7/11)

At a special meeting on Monday night, held at the auditorium of the Morse Pond School to accommodate what was expected to be a large crowd, the Board of Selectmen heard from scientists, engineers, state legislators and their representatives, and Falmouth citizens concerning the contentious issue of wind turbines, specifically the Wind 1 and Wind 2 turbines located at the town’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Moderated by Nancy Farrell, the meeting played out before a packed room, which included many of the turbines’ residential abutters—a number of whom who have complained of a variety of health and quality of life issues since the first turbine went into operation.

The first speaker, Steven Clark of the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, appeared representing the Deval Patrick administration. Clark voiced Governor Patrick’s commitment to wind and other alternative energy sources, and said Falmouth’s approach was “right in line” with the administration’s policy, and promised that “the state will continue to be involved and provide leadership as needed going forward.”

The board next heard from Gail Harkness, chairman of the Board of Health, who summarized the suite of health issues cited by abutters of the turbines. Among many such issues, which some have collectively called “wind turbine syndrome,” are headaches, vertigo, anxiety, sleeplessness, and nausea.

Harkness presented the steps the Board of Health had taken in response to the complaints, including the establishment of an online database of articles dealing with turbine-related health concerns from around the world, the creation of a complaint/comment form used to gather information from residents about their health issues, and repeated visits to the area in varying weather conditions.

Christopher Menge, an engineer with Harris Miller Miller and Hanson Inc., the firm Falmouth hired to conduct a study of noise at the turbine site, summarized that report’s findings. The sound samples, taken over the course of 10 days in June 2010, were measured against the background noise in the area, as is standard in determining whether a particular source of sound exceeds the maximum allowable levels set by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

That threshold is 10 decibels over background noise, and Menge said the study had found that the turbine noise could approach or exceed that limit late at night or early in the morning, when the lack of cars, singing birds, and other activity means that background noise is at its lowest. Menge insisted that the greatest problems would occur when wind speeds were low, and unable to mask the sound of the turbine.

Those findings were directly contradicted by the next speaker, Todd Drummey, who lives on Blacksmith Shop Road near the site of the turbines. Like most nearby residents, Drummey maintained that the disturbance was greatest at just the opposite extreme.

“It’s annoying at low speeds,” Drummey said. “It’s intolerable at high speeds. It drives people out of their houses.”

Drummey went on to call the HMMH report into question, saying that artificially low wind shear variables had been used, invalidating the model. He also said that the study had been conducted during nights of low wind, and no data from times of higher winds had been gathered.

Michael Bahtiarian of Noise Control Engineering, Inc., the firm contracted privately by a group of abutters, presented his own findings concerning what he called “aerodynamic amplitude modulation,” which he defined as “the swishing noise” the turbines are known for. Bahtiarian said that, while MassDEP regulations are based on hourly averages, within a single minute the noise from the turbines can fluctuate widely, often exceeding the 10-decibel allowance. Also, the fluctuation itself could be an irritant.

“It’s not only the level, it’s the fluctuation of the sound,” he said.

Asked by Selectman Frietag whether sound barriers similar to those used alongside busy highways could mitigate the noise from the turbines, Bahtiarian said, “Your barriers would need to be nearly as high as your turbine, or nearly as high as your house.”

Representatives of Weston & Sampson and Vestas, the consulting and engineering firms which sited and built the turbines, said there was no evidence that the devices’ noise exceeded allowable levels, and urged the board to consider the revenue lost by curtailing the turbines’ use. Currently, the Wind 1 turbine is shut down in wind speeds in excess of 10 meters per second.

Thomas Mills of Vestas said this was exactly the opposite strategy the town should be pursuing, and recommended shutting down the turbines in lower wind conditions, in line with the HMMH study’s findings that this is when their noise rises highest above background levels.

Malcolm Donald, another resident, showed videos depicting light flicker, the strobe-like effect caused by the continuous blocking and unblocking of sunlight.

“The inside of the house looks like a disco in the mornings,” he said.

Donald went on to assert that the town had originally approached General Electric to construct the turbines, but that the company had turned those plans down due to its safety guidelines, which call for a significantly larger setback area than those of Vestas. Due to the possibilities of the turbines flinging shards of ice in cold conditions, and of the blades themselves flying away from the turbines in the event of a catastrophic mechanical failure, said Donald, GE considered many of the homes around the facility, a stretch of Route 28, and the wastewater plant itself, to fall inside the minimum safe distance.

Susan Hobart, another resident of the area, blamed Vestas’, and the town’s, shorter setback-distance standards for the problems with the turbines.

“It’s improper turbine siting,” she said. “It’s not how they work, it’s where they are.”

Hobart asserted that wind turbine syndrome was a real phenomenon.

“Every time we go away, we get better,” she said. “It’s a disease, we’ve been given it, and we can cure it, by going away.”

Hobart accused town officials of allowing “politics, money, and self-interest” to interfere with protecting the health and safety of Falmouth citizens, and said firms like Vestas “hide behind the big green picture.”

More abutters came forward to tell the board about their experiences with the turbines. Opinion was strongly and universally against the machines as currently sited.

Barry Funfar said, “I can no longer stand even the sight of these out-of-place monoliths,” and urged the town to “take the things down while you can still resell them.”

Terri Drummey referred to the turbine issues as “the so-called Falmouth Effect,” and described the difficulty sleeping and concentrating which she said had led to her 10-year-old son’s declining grades, as well as her daughter’s headaches, and the ringing in her husband’s ears.

“We are the unwilling guinea pigs in your experiment with wind energy,” she said.

The board is scheduled to hear further testimony from those affected by the turbines at its July 11 meeting.

“I can hear the turbines through my pillow at night” (United Kingdom)

—Andy Keeble, North Devon Gazette (6/8/11)

A Torrington couple are selling their home and business following the erection of a wind farm in a field opposite their bungalow.

Patricia and Arthur Poulton say they are being kept awake at night by the noise from a trio of giant turbines less than 500 metres from their home at Higher Darracott.

The couple, who have operated their Deepmoor Metal Processors scrap metal business from the site for the last 21 years, said they now had no option but to sell up and move on.

“I can hear the turbines through my pillow at night,” said Mrs Paulton, 70.

One of the three wind turbines at Higher Darracott, near Torrington.

“It’s a droning whooshing sound and as the blade passes the upright, the windier it gets, the noisier it gets. I have to close the window but you can still just about hear it through the double glazing.

“When they were first put up we had a long spell of really nice weather and they weren’t working at all. But since we’ve had the wind and the recent spell of bad weather the noise is unbearable of a night time.”

“It’s unbelievable the noise they make sometimes,” said Mr Paulton, 68.

“They are supposed to be no more than five decibels above background noise but when the wind blows across the bungalow it’s surprising how far it travels.”

The 240ft turbines were constructed by FIM Services Ltd in March and became operational in April. Planning consent was originally refused by Torridge District Council in May 2004 but later granted by a Government Inspector following a High Court appeal by land owners.

When the Gazette visited the couple on Wednesday, heavy blobs of white and grey cloud blotted out all but a few snatches of blue sky. On the hillside overlooking Torrington, two of the three turbines turned in a stiff breeze.

On the approaches to the town, the first of 22 ESB Wind Development UK turbines can be seen being built at Fullabrook Down on the other side of the Taw Estuary.

When the sun does shine here—especially towards the end of the day—the couple say the blades produce a “flicker shadow” over their bungalow.

“The sun goes down right behind the turbines and you get this strobe effect,” said Mrs Paulton, who suffers from Ménière’s disease—a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance.

“They also produce a low frequency noise that you can’t hear but can cause dizziness, nausea and headaches. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but I’d not been ill for about five months but as soon as the turbines started I was sick for two weeks and have had to take the medication.

“We had a couple of break-ins at the yard last year and were thinking of selling up, but this has been the final straw.”

The couple have been in contact with Torridge District Council and have been asked to fill in forms to record their disturbance.

A spokesperson for the council said an official investigation had already started.

A statement from the council said: “The necessary forms have been sent to the complainants and our environmental protection team is awaiting the return of the paperwork with a diary of noise disturbances to see whether or not further investigation is required.”

Regarding shadow flicker, it said: “In the planning permission the inspector stipulated that a report should be submitted on shadow flicker which concluded that there would be very little chance of it happening. However, should it occur, effective steps should be taken to stop it.”

The couple were keen to point out that they were not concerned about the turbines’ impact on the landscape.

“We’re not bothered about how they look,” said Mrs Paulton.

The Gazette contacted FIM Service but a spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

June 6, 2011, 6:45 pm (NY City time)

Editor’s note:  June 6th, 6:45 pm (New York City time), turn on your computer and click here.  This will take you to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) website, where you can listen to a live-streamed webcast of the following symposium.

We recommend Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira (one of the principal researchers on Vibro-Acoustic Disease, including VAD from wind turbines), Dr. Bob Thorne (an acoustician who has studied wind turbine noise), and Dr. Sarah Laurie (the Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, dedicated to researching and addressing Wind Turbine Syndrome in Australia).

The other speakers?  They’re worth listening to, as well, although they may make your blood boil.

All the speakers’ scientific and professional credentials are listed and more or less explained in this document.

For Nina Pierpont’s scathing review of the NHMRC’s report on Wind Turbine Syndrome, click here.

My guess is that this symposium is a fig leaf designed to cover the NHMRC’s backside for its scandalously stupid report.  Yes, they invited some outstanding speakers—but will they be taken seriously?  Were I a betting man, I’d say they won’t.  My guess is the NHMRC will pretend to deliberate on the evidence, then announce they can find nothing “scientifically” sound about Wind Turbine Syndrome.  And wind energy companies will be permitted to charge ahead with their projects—with the blessing of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Dr. Laurie disagrees with me; she’s convinced the symposium isn’t a sham.

I hope she’s right.

“The biggest regret I’ve ever experienced” (Wisconsin)

Editor’s note:  Wisconsin farmer, Gary Steinich, recently sent this letter to Better Plan, Wisconsin, asking that it be published.  We reprint it here with appreciation to both Mr. Steinich and Better Plan, Wisconsin.

From one farmer to another . . .

—Gary Steinich, Steinich Farms, Inc. (Cambria, Wisconsin)
June, 2011 ·

This is an open letter to Wisconsin farmers who are considering signing a wind lease to host turbines on your land. Before you sign, I’d like to tell you about what happened to our family farm after we signed a contract with a wind developer.

In 2002, a wind developer approached my father about signing a lease agreement to place a MET (meteorological) tower on our land. My father was in his 70’s at the time. The developer did a good job of befriending him and gaining his trust.

He assured my father that the project wasn’t a done deal and was a long way off. They first had to put up the MET tower to measure the wind for awhile.

He told my father that if the project went forward there would be plenty of time to decide if we wanted to host turbines on our farm. There would be lots of details to work out and paperwork to sign well before the turbines would be built. The developer said my father could decide later on if he wanted to stay in the contract.

In 2003 the developer contacted us again. This time he wanted us to sign a contract to host turbines on our land. We were unsure about it, so we visited the closest wind project we knew of at the time. It was in Montfort, WI.

The Monfort project consists of 20 turbines that are about 300 feet tall and arranged in a straight line, taking up very little farmland with the turbine bases and access roads. The landowners seemed very satisfied with the turbines. But we were still unsure about making the commitment.

We were soon contacted again by the developer, and we told him we were undecided. Then he really started to put pressure on us to sign.

This was in March of 2004, a time of $1.60 corn and $1200 an acre land. It seemed worth it have to work around a couple of turbines for the extra cash. We were told the turbines would be in a straight line and only take up a little bit of land like the ones in Monfort.

And we were also told that we were the ones holding up the project. That all of our neighbors had signed, and we were the last hold-outs. It persuaded us.

What we didn’t know then was the developer was not being truthful. We were not the “last hold-out” at all. In later discussions with our neighbors we found out that in fact we were the very first farmers to sign up. I have since found out this kind of falsehood is a common tactic of wind developers.

My father read through the contract. He said he thought it was okay. I briefly skimmed through it, found the language confusing, but trusted my father’s judgment. We didn’t hire a lawyer to read it through with us. We didn’t feel the need to. The developer had explained what was in it.

The wind contract and easement on our farm was for 20 years. By then my dad was 75. He figured time was against him for dealing with this contract in the future so we agreed I should sign it. A few months later, my father died suddenly on Father’s Day, June 20th, 2004

After that, we didn’t hear a whole lot about the wind farm for a couple years. There was talk that the project was dead. And then in 2007 we were told the developer sold the rights to the project. A Wisconsin utility bought it.

After that everything changed. The contract I signed had an option that allowed it to be extended for an additional 10 years. The utility used it.

The turbines planned for the project wouldn’t be like the ones in Monfort. They were going to be much larger, 400 feet tall. And there were going to be 90 of them.

They weren’t going to be in a straight row. They’d be sited in the spots the developer felt were best for his needs, including in middle of fields, with access roads sometimes cutting diagonally across good farm land. Landowners could have an opinion about turbine placement but they would not have final say as to where the turbines and access roads would be placed. It was all in the contract.

Nothing was the way we thought it was going to be. We didn’t know how much land would be taken out of production by the access roads alone. And we didn’t understand how much the wind company could do to our land because of what was in the contract..

In 2008 I had the first of many disputes with the utility, and soon realized that according to the contract I had little to no say about anything. This became painfully clear to me once the actual construction phase began in 2010 and the trucks and equipment came to our farm and started tearing up the field.

In October of 2010 a representative of the utility contacted me to ask if a pile of soil could be removed from my farm. It was near the base of one of the turbines they were putting on my land. I said no, that no soil is to be removed from my farm.

The rep said that the pile was actually my neighbor’s soil, that the company was storing it on my land with plans to move it to another property.

Shortly afterwards I noticed the pile of subsoil was gone.

In November of 2011 I saw several trucks loading up a second pile of soil on my land and watched them exiting down the road. I followed them and then called the Columbia County Sheriff. Reps from the company were called out. I wanted my soil back.

A few days later the rep admitted they couldn’t give it back to me because my soil was gone. It had been taken and already dispersed on someone else’s land. I was offered 32 truck loads of soil from a stockpile they had. I was not guaranteed that the soil would be of the same quality and composition as the truck loads of soil they took from my farm.

I was informed by the lawyer for the utility that I had until April 30, 2011 to decide to take the soil. There would be no other offer. Take it or leave it.

I contacted the Public Service Commission for help. The PSC approved the terms of project and I believed the utility was violating those terms. The PSC responded by telling me they could do nothing because the issue involved a private contract between myself and the utility.

They told me my only option was to sue the utility.

My father and I both worked those fields. Watching the way they’ve been ripped apart would sicken any farmer. But what farmer has the time and money it would take to sue a Wisconsin utility?

By signing that contract I signed away the control of the family farm, and it’s the biggest regret I have ever experienced and will ever experience. I have only myself to blame for not paying close enough attention to what I was signing.

We had a peaceful community here before the developer showed up, but no more. Now it’s neighbor against neighbor, family members not speaking to one another and there is no ease in conversation like in the old days. Everyone is afraid to talk for fear the subject of the wind turbines will come up. The kind of life we enjoyed in our community is gone forever.

I spend a lot of sleepless nights wishing I could turn back the clock and apply what I’ve learned from this experience. Now corn and bean prices are up. The money from the turbines doesn’t balance out our crop loss from land taken out of production. The kind of life we enjoyed on our family farm is gone forever too.

I would not sign that contract today. As I write this, the utility is putting up the towers all around us. In a few months the turbines will be turned on and we’ll have noise and shadow flicker to deal with. If I have trouble with these things, too bad. I’ve signed away my right to complain. These are some of the many problems I knew nothing about when I signed onto the project.

If you are considering signing a wind lease, take the contract to a lawyer. Go over every detail. Find out exactly what can happen to your fields, find out all the developer will be allowed to do to your land. Go through that contract completely, and think hard before make your decision.

I can tell you from first-hand experience, once you sign that contract, you will not have a chance to turn back.

Update:  June 5, 2011, Gary Steinich contacted Better Plan to let us know he and the utility have reached an agreement on his soil restoration.

Turbines “vibrate the walls” (Ontario)

“There’s no garden this year.  My yard is a mess.  I can’t go out more than 20 minutes to do anything.”

Symptoms:  Dizziness, tinnitus, ear pressure and pain, disturbed sleep, vibrations in the house (“vibrates the walls”), headaches, heart palpitations.  None of this experienced before the turbines began operation.

Editor’s note:  Posted with appreciation to Wind Concerns Ontario.

Gag clause

Editor’s note:  The following article is reprinted verbatim from Better Plan, Wisconsin, with appreciation. recommends Better Plan as one of the best, most up-to-date websites on the matter of wind energy.  All praise to Lynda Barry for running the site!

:  What’s black and white and you can’t talk about it for the rest of your life?
Answer:  Sorry. I signed a wind lease. I can’t discuss it.

Better Plan, Wisconsin has been collecting copies of wind leases for the last few years and has yet to find one that didn’t contain a confidentiality agreement—also known as a “gag order.”

Landowners who share wind leases are taking a clear risk, but more are coming forward anyway. One farmer who shared his contract said, “I don’t care anymore. I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

The section below is copied from a wind lease contract recently sent to us. The landowner who signed it agreed to allow noise, vibration, shadow flicker and any other disruption the turbines might cause to take place on his property. If he has problems with these things, he can’t talk about it because the gag order requires that he:

» Not to talk about the contents of lease to anyone.

» Not to talk about the construction or operation of the turbines.

» Not speak to reporters or anyone in the media or issue statements or press releases unless the wind company gives the landowner its written permission.

The landowner also had to agree that the gag order would still apply long after the turbines are gone, because this line, “This section shall survive the termination of expiration of this lease,” means this gag oder is forever.

The landowner can talk to his lawyer or accountant and certain others about the contract, but only after they agree to a gag order too.

Straight from the Contract:


(Landowner) shall maintain in strictest confidence, for the sole benefit of (wind developer), all information pertaining to the terms and conditions of this lease, including, without limitation, the construction and power production of the wind farm.

Without first obtaining written permission from the (wind developer), (the landowner) shall not issue any statements or press releases or respond to any inquires from news media regarding such matters.

(Landowner) shall maintain the strictest confidence, for the sole benefit of the (wind developer), all information pertaining to the terms and conditions of this lease, including, without limitation, the financial terms hereof.

This section shall survive the termination of expiration of this lease.

Nothing in this section shall prohibit sharing or disclosing information with any party’s (lawyer), accountants, or current or prospective investors, purchases, lenders, or as required by law, provided that the party sharing or disclosing such information requires the recipient to maintain the confidentiality of such disclosed information.