Even though the facts tell a different story, people who stand to profit from industrial wind turbines continue to insist there is no problem with the noise and other troubles associated with living too close to a machine that is 40 stories tall with spinning blades that span wider than a Boeing 747. They tell us there is no proof that living 1000 feet from an industrial wind turbine is bad for you in any way. There is plenty of proof.
We’re reminded of the recent assertion of the tanning bed industry that there is no connection between tanning bed use and skin cancer despite the growing medical evidence that indeed there is big trouble. Even The U.S. government’s National Cancer institute states “Women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.”
Yet even now, even with the knowledge that they are hurting people, the tanning bed salesmen and the owners of tanning salons continue to insist that tanning beds are safe.
We’re told living 1000 feet from industrial wind turbines is safe, too. Even with the known noise issues, known trouble with shadow flicker and other troubles, we’re still being told it’s is safe by the well-paid wind developers and by the land owners who will profit by hosting the turbines.
They say it’s safe and there are no problems, but people who are actually living in the shadows of these turbines right now have a different story for us. Last month two residents from the town of Byron, Fond Du Lac county drove all the way to Evansville to testify at the public hearing about what it’s been like to live amid the turbines that went on line in their area just this last March. They came because they said they didn’t want anyone else to have to live with what has happened to their families, their homes, and their communities.
Money talks and talks and talks.
Facts are facts.
At the last public hearing in the town of Union some of these facts were presented in the following testimony. We thank the un-paid citizen who did this research and took the time to bring it to the rest of us and make it part of the public record.
In spite of what you may have been told, the same noise concerns in reference to wind turbine siting exist throughout the world, even Germany and Denmark. If you’ve heard the saying- where there’s smoke there’s fire, you might have to believe that -if there are common noise issues concerning wind turbines worldwide, there must be some truth in what people are saying.
After hundreds of hours of reading hundreds of reports from scientists, audiologists, doctors and physicists I’ve come to a conclusion. The so called new technology we’ve been hearing about has not reduced the noise.
The second international “Wind Turbine Noise Conference 2007” was held in France in September. Quote: “The conference aims to bring together the latest information on noise and vibration from wind turbines to give an unbiased framework from which future developments can be accessed”. The conference is chaired by Geoff Levanthall. I’ll just touch on a few of last year’s accepted papers.
“Noise Pollution From Wind Turbines- Living with amplitude modulation, lower frequency emissions and sleep deprivation”, by Julian Davis and Jane Davis a registered nurse. This paper was written by a family in the UK who kept a diary about their life 3060 feet from the nearest wind turbine. The paper describes the nature of the noise with its pulsating character, the vibrations felt by the body and it’s intrusiveness, as well as the impact of the noise on them physically and psychologically. Most serious is the sleep deprivation and the ensuing adverse effects, and the inability to pursue or sustain normal family and social functions. Eventually after 7 months of sleeping at friends houses, they abandoned their home.
Another accepted paper, “Wind Farm Noise Regulations in the Eastern United States”, by Soysal and Soysal Department of Physics and Engineering, Frostburg State University Frostburg, MD. Conclusions; Sound generated by wind turbines has particular characteristics and it creates a different type of nuisance compared to usual urban, industrial or commercial noise. The interaction of the blades with air turbulences around the towers creates low frequency and infrasound components which modulate the broadband noise which create fluctuations of sound level. The low frequency fluctuations of the noise is described as “swishing” or “whooshing” sound, creating an additional disturbance due to the periodic and rhythmic characteristic”.
“Auralization and Assessments of Annoyance from Wind Turbines”, by Soren Vase Legarth, DELTA, Denmark. “The development of wind turbines moves toward maximizing the produced power by increasing size. In general- larger often means louder- and that gives rise to concern for people living near places for new wind turbine projects. Therefore focus also is kept on minimizing the emitted sound to make wind turbines more acceptable for the people living near them. Two primary attributes related to annoyance in wind turbine sounds are tonal components and the swishing sound from the rotating blades. The annoyance should be the key parameter when deciding where to build any new wind turbine park. Earlier studies have addressed this issue and identified perceptive attributes of the wind turbine sound that contributes to the overall annoyance.
“Uncloaking the Nature of Wind Turbines Using the Science of Meteorology”, William K.G. Palmer, Canada. Conclusions: To prevent noise excesses from wind turbines being a constant irritant, calculation of the sound power levels for a wind turbine must consider the wind shear changes from day to night and from season from season. Wind turbine proponents must recognize that evidence does not support the widely made, but inaccurate claim that as turbine output goes up ambient noise caused by ground level winds prevents annoyance.
People’s testimonies in the US and all over the world in many cases living 1/2 mile or more from a wind turbine have reported that their family’s lives have been turned upside down. These people were surprised by the reality of not just the loudness by sound decibel levels but also the content of the noise from a wind turbine. They were led to believe the same thing you’ve been led to believe that, quote: “thanks to improvements in technology, noise is no longer the issue it was”. While a dBA limit is part of the sound limit for a setback from a residence, it’s only a guideline and necessary for regulatory purposes. A one size fits all average noise limit with a built in allowance for masking has everything to do with a certification test and quantity siting and nothing to do with Public Health and Safety. Recent studies have proven that the “tallness” of the modern wind turbines presents a new set of issues. Trust the cumulative reports of the French Academy of Medicine, the UK Noise Association, Dr. Amanda Harry, Frey and Hadden, G.P. van den Berg, Pedersen and Waye, Dr. Soysal, Rick James and George Kamperman who have actual data from operating windfarms, including the Fond du Lac project and who have studied the effects on people living with wind turbines. Please respect their findings and support setbacks of at least 1/2 mile or more [e.g., 2 km, as recommended by Dr. Nina Pierpont in her upcoming study Wind Turbine Syndrome  – Ed.].