PORTAGE, Pa. – The Alleghenies have been a hotbed for wind energy, but not without a lot of controversy over the turbines residents see and potential turbines they could see soon. Now neighbors of one local wind farm that’s been up and running said they’ve heard enough.
With 40 turbines spanning ridgetops and crossing counties, the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm is the largest in Pennsylvania. Neighbors said the noise is just as big.
“On a calm day, you come outside and try to enjoy a nice peaceful day, and all you hear is the noise all the time and you can’t get away from it,” said Bob Castel.
Castel lives with two turbines right behind his house.
“The first time they started them up, I didn’t know what it was. I was like man, that’s a weird noise. It was that loud,” said Castel.
While some neghbors said they aren’t exactly bothered by the noise from the windmills, they said there’s never peace and quiet either.
“You notice them more at night, but you can’t really hear them inside,” said Charles Holland.
Castel said when the wind shifts and the heads of the turbines turn, the noise is even worse.
“We used to come outside and hear birds chirping and groundhogs snorting. Now, we hear windmills,” said Castel.
Officials at Babcock and Brown, the owners of Allegheny Ridge, said the problem is tape on the blades. The tape is supposed to make them quiet, but something went wrong and ironically, it made the turbines even louder. Babcock and Brown is now fixing all of the blades, starting with ones closest to homes.
Neighbors said hopefully the repairs help with the noise because if they don’t, it is bad news for those living nearby the windmills, as 35 new turbines are on their way to the ridgetops.
“If they put more up, it’s going to be even worse,” said Castel.
Company officials said the repairs will fix the noise problems, and they hope to complete that process by the end of the month. Unfortunately, the weather has prevented them from getting them fixed as quickly as possible.
The new turbines will be up by the end of the year.
10 January 2008
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