On Aug. 27 my family took a ride to visit the industrial wind turbine facility near Montfort, which is located approximately 50 miles west of Madison. Since we were camping at Devil’s Lake State Park, this was a relatively short drive through a very scenic part of the state.
We had taken this ride at the urging of a representative of Midwest Wind Energy, the firm that is managing the proposed industrial wind turbine facility project in the Town of Brothertown. I had been told that the Montfort facility was more in line with a modern wind turbine facility than is the one in the Town of Lincoln in Kewaunee County. We have been continuously told that the Lincoln project is not representative of what we would be seeing in the Town of Brothertown.
Upon arriving, several things became apparent. First, all but three of the turbines were lined up in an east-west line approximately one-fourth mile south of USH 18. The remaining three were in a small cluster approximately one mile to the south of the main turbine line. There were no homes in the middle of the facility, surrounded by turbines. The layout was certainly not the blanketing of a four mile by four mile area as proposed for the Town of Brothertown, which has numerous homes surrounded by these machines.
Second, we noticed the small number of houses in the vicinity of the project. We noticed approximately 10 houses within 1,500 feet of the turbines. Most of these appeared to be the homes of landowners. Contrast this with the 190 residences within the four mile by four mile area in the proposed wind farm, many of them a mere 1,000 feet from turbines.
Third, we noticed that these machines were not quiet, as we had been told by the Midwest Wind Energy representative. Shortly after getting out of our truck, several of our children began to experience headaches. Even though we visited on a windy day when turbine sounds are often blocked by the wind, we had no problem hearing the intimidating low growling noise. When we went into the truck, the wind noise could not be heard, but the turbine noises remained. In addition to the noise, these machines were massive and intimidating. Following the visit, our children expressed their fear of having so many of these machines in their neighborhood.
In summary, I would have to agree that Montfort may be an acceptable location for an industrial wind turbine facility. Its sparse population, consisting primarily of landowners is much more appropriate for such a facility. No homes were surrounded by these noisy, intimidating machines. Calumet County and the Town of Brothertown, on the other hand, would be a poor location for an industrial wind farm, due to the much larger population density within the installation site. Many homes would be literally surrounded by these machines, with an adverse affect on the residents’ health and quality of life. While energy sources will continue to be an important issue, these health and quality of life issues cannot be ignored. All citizens in the project area must be considered, not just the ones who would profit from such an installation.
19 October 2007
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