It was such a beautiful day today, I decided to take a drive out to the three wind turbines near Westchester on Higgins Mountain.
You can see them from quite a distance. Indeed, you can see them from South Pugwash some 30km away.
After a rather muddy last few kilometres I got to the first turbine which was just put into operation a week or so ago. The tower (nacelle) is 69m and the rotors are each 31m. At a total of 100m in height, it is HUGE.
When I first got out of the car, I wondered what the noise was. I was looking around for the large plane that was coming in for a landing, but it was the turbine. I was expecting some noise, but this was much worse than I had expected. These turbines are supposed to be the “quiet kind”, with a direct drive. Then there is the swoosh, swoosh, swooch of the rotors. Very noisy. Today there was hardly any wind, but if it did change direction or speed at all, there was an alarming change in the noise coming from the turbine.
I took a couple of photos and short video on my little digital camera. I would have taken more but this turbine was making me feel nervous. I found its size and noise very oppressive, intimidating and rather scary and felt too uncomfortable to stay long. I might have driven a couple more kilometres to the next two turbines, but the road is very muddy and badly rutted.
I retreated down the mountain back towards Westchester and stopped to talk to the nearest neighbour who was working in his back yard. As the crow flies they are about 600m from the closest turbine and are finding themselves really bothered by the noise of this newest turbine. The degree of noise depends on wind direction. While we were talking, the turbine noise came and went. Very annoying. The owner grew up in the area and when he bought his current property he thought he was going to get peace and quiet – along with a stupendous view of northern Cumberland County, the Strait and, on a clear day, Confederation Bridge. Beautiful spot – if you’re looking north!
The next neighbours are about 2km away. The only other land use in the area is forestry and blueberries. I have heard that Vector Wind Energy would like to add 30 more turbines in that area.
The proposed project for the Gulf Shore call for 120m turbines which would be gear driven. These are much noisier and difficult to maintain than the direct drive variety found on Higgins Mountain. On Higgins Mountain and Windham Hill (near Springhill), the roads twist and turn and change elevation as you drive through the woods, somewhat obscuring the turbines from view and noise. The Gulf Shore is also relatively open and flat – there’s nowhere for them to hide out here! It is also much more densely populated.
If the County Councillors are going to decide for the rest of us where these turbines go, the least they can do is to take a field trip out to Higgins Mountain to see and hear them for themselves. No amount of description is enough to comprehend what they are like. You have to see it for yourself.
Posted by Lisa
25 March 2007
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