If Wanda Shirk’s contention (letter, Feb. 23) that noise from industrial wind turbines is not a concern, then why is she so worked up about the reasonable statement, “Wind energy ordinances must include a top limit for how much turbine noise can safely be added to our environment?”
The fact is that everywhere such wind turbines are erected, neighbors complain about the noise and shadow flicker. The noise is especially disturbing at night, not only because of a greater expectation of – and need for – quiet, but also because the noise is magnified and carries farther.
The wind industry knows this is a serious problem. The companies therefore include gag orders in their contracts with landowners to prevent them from going public, and they seek forbearance contracts with neighbors, similarly paying them to keep quiet.
Nevertheless, the testimony of ill effects continues to collect, with many people not just irritated by the invasion of noise and flicker into their homes but also suffering serious health consequences. Many physicians around the world have noticed, and the connection to nearby wind turbines is clear.
As Wanda Shirk admits, the health effects of industrial noise have become well documented. What she does not admit is that such industrial noise does in fact include wind turbines.
A research team at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, led by Mariana Alves-Pereira, found that the noise conditions inside a home near a small wind energy plant were as bad as those where a family was clearly diagnosed with vibroacoustic disease caused by infrasound and low-frequency noise from a nearby grain terminal. The report was peer-reviewed and presented at two international conferences in 2007.
It is no longer possible to continue in the belief that giant wind turbines, their turning blades chopping up a vertical air space of up to two acres, are not a substantial source of harmful noise, vibration, and visual disturbance.
National Wind Watch
East Hardwick, Vt
1 March 2008
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