Why is it that supporters of commercial wind power routinely ignore the ever-growing mountain of data demonstrating this technology’s ineffectiveness? And why do they refuse to acknowledge increasing evidence that this kind of development is off the charts with respect to inappropriateness in rural communities?
I believe those who think it’s OK simply don’t understand the true impact of what they’re supporting. Though some have insisted they’ve done the research, it’s hard to comprehend their ultimate conclusions.
The turbines that Invenergy wants to use in Sheldon are almost as tall as Buffalo’s HSBC Bank building. Imagine 86 of these buildings plunked between homes and properties there, 86! And wind turbines don’t just sit quietly. They whir and blink and moan. A lot.
The setbacks that Invenergy is advocating defy all common sense, yet these distances are echoed by wind developers everywhere in order to achieve their goals within residential areas, where industrial development has always been off-limits. Wind developers across New York State are using the inexperience of policymakers and the lack of any guiding precedents to their advantage by telling us they are the experts, and “these” are the numbers to use as our parameters. Ironically, their machines keep growing taller while their “recommended” setbacks continue to shrink.
The only true mitigating factor with regard to proposed commercial-scale wind turbines and existing homes is adequate distance. Acoustic expert Dick Bowdler states that putting such massive machines so close to residents is likely to cause serious problems. He advocates at least 1.25 mile setbacks.
The French Academy of Medicine recommends 1.5 kilometer setbacks based on rising health concerns in that country, and the only peer-reviewed published paper on wind turbine noise states, ” . . . at a distance of 1500 m. (4,900 feet), turbines may in fact be up to 18 dB noisier than the calculated values suggest. A further increase in annoyance may be expected because of the pulse-like character of the wind turbine noise.”
Just this past June, a flicker study done for Horizon Wind Energy demonstrated that shadow-flicker can still be an issue at almost 5,000 feet.
Wind developers insist that their skyscraper-sized steel monsters make good neighbors despite mounting data to the contrary. And because few question their “expert” status, and because towns want to say yes to those pay-outs, the claims are accepted at face value.
The commercial wind industry is making a mockery of environmental and renewable energy advocates who support them. They’re often ruthless in their local activities, and will no doubt disappear long before we can hold them accountable for their indiscretions against us and against the planet. Where, I wonder, will Invenergy and others like them be when society realizes the folly of it all?
Sue Sliwinski of Sardinia is a member of National Wind Watch Inc.