On Feb. 13, Brian O’Neil of WLEA AM 1480, Hornell, N.Y., interviewed two Cohocton residents, first a farmer who leases his land to First Wind (formerly UPC) and “tells us that he has a turbine on his property and that there is a wind turbine next door, and because of the turbines [2.5-MW models from Clipper], he has trouble sleeping at night. He says he has asked the wind companies to turn the wind turbine off, and he says they won’t. That wind farmer now describes having a wind turbine as the biggest mistake of his life. His complaint about noise is not uncommon. All over the state where the giant turbines are installed, people complain of the noise as well as the fact that shadows often cause problems. The turbines also tend to ruin any beauty on the countryside.”
The farmer remains anonymous, because the contract includes a gag order. He says he is not the only participating landowner complaining. The closest turbine is about 2,500 feet from his house, another one about 3,000 feet. The company told him that you can’t hear the turbines at all farther than 900 feet from them. He describes the noise as jet engines at full throttle in his back yard or jet planes endlessly circling. Neighbors have described the noise as bulldozers on the hill. Low-frequency noise rattles his windows. It will only be worse as the weather warms and they’ll want to open some windows. He has noticed that the turbines are always quieter when tours visit.
The show continues with David Hunt, a general contractor who was born and raised in Cohocton and who now has six giant wind turbines within a mile of his house, all of which he can hear and the closest being about 2,000 feet away.
Hunt describes the most common noise as a high-pitched whine, and when they’re going strong the noise is a roaring whoosh. The noise is constant (day or night) when the turbines are turning. He says that about 30% of the time the noise is incredibly loud, and about two-thirds of that time it is unbearable. He loses around three nights of sleep per week. He has also lost radio and television reception and notes that many other residents are complaining as well.
The 50-turbine project began operation in early January 2009.