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Shirley wind turbine noise study shows need for EIS 

Author:  | Health, Human rights, Law, Noise, Wisconsin

The Town of Forest requested that we respond to the Supplemental Environmental Assessment’s conclusion of “no significant impact” to the environment based upon the recent Shirley Wind Farm study. It is my opinion that the Shirley Wind Study does show the need for an Environmental Impact Statement for the reasons outlined below …

In summary, the Shirley study added considerably to the knowledge base of why some people leave their homes when mega wind turbines are built nearby and requires an Environmental Impact Study to assess the costs and benefits of such a project. I give this opinion for the following reasons:

First, the Wind Industry has continually denied that wind turbines produce any LFN. This study showed that it does. At R-2 it was measured as clearly as if the turbine had left a fingerprint on the inside of the house.

Second, the Shirley study fully and completely corroborates Falmouth and fills the knowledge gap suggested by the MA study which was a literature review, not a hands-on field study. There is no reason to corroborate it again.

Third, the measurement of ultra low frequencies produced by mega turbines such as those at Shirley and proposed for Highland are the key to avoiding significant impacts to human health from wind turbines. As the Minnesota study concludes, the low frequencies must be studied further as part of the project planning. In the case of Forest, this study of the low frequency isopleths must be a part of an in-depth EIS, or the project must be redesigned with smaller turbines that are not likely to precipitate such severe health problems that people have no choice but to abandon their homes. These are precisely the studies that we recommended in our Shirley report and the EIS is a perfect way to obtain the information before the project is built.

Fourth, the record as a whole in this case as well as the literature and case studies all over the world have suggested that people are leaving their homes because they are being exposed to significant levels of pulsating ultra low frequency sound produced by wind turbines. In addition there is no question that larger turbines produce more infrasound below 1 hertz which increases the likelihood that health problems will occur unless noise limits are dramatically reduced through the use of smaller turbines or lower noise limits are required at each house. To conclude that the Highland project will have no significant impact to the human environment and that no further study is needed in the face of people leaving their homes on an identical project is wishful thinking and in my opinion will be proven to be wrong if the project is built as designed.

Paul Schomer, PhD, PE
Member; Board Certified, Institute of Noise Control

February 8, 2013

To:  Kathleen J. Zuelsdorff
Environmental Analysis and Review Coordinator
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
610 North Whitney Way
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854

Re:  Application of Highland Wind Farm, LLC, for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Construct a 102.5 Megawatt Wind Electric Generation Facility and Associated Electric Facilities, to be Located in the Towns of Forest and Cylon, St. Croix County, Wisconsin.

Docket No. 2535-CE-100; Supplemental Environmental Assessment

Download original document: “Shirley wind turbine noise study shows need for Environmental Impact Statement

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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