Wind energy, again.
Lately there have been a number of letters to the editor from people living in the city of Fond du Lac advising us, living in the rural area, on what wind turbines are all about. Apparently the turbine noise problem will go away if someone raises enough (hybrid) crickets to cover the wind-blade sound.
If anybody is interested enough, our average 12 mph wind does produce a quite audible puffing, which changes with wind direction. At the side of the blades, noise is not too bad. The front side produces the loudest sound; the rear, a little less. Gusting winds increase the noise level.
One of the turbines is a half-mile from our woodlot. I can hear it in the middle of the woods. That shouldn’t be. Where has the tranquility of country living gone? The minimum of 1,200 feet from a home is much too close.
Regarding the matter of power output from the turbines, the fellow from Follett Street may have missed his physics class. Any of the various windmills will start to rotate at about five mph. At about seven or eight mph the computer kicks in to produce some current. This increases quite proportionally, until 25 or 30 mph and full output.
In gale force winds, the unit shuts down or it would blow up.
Suggesting that solar power is preferable to 400-foot turbines is quickly greeted with, “There is not enough sun in Wisconsin.”
This is being written while my wife, Anne, and I are enjoying a few days at a favorite country inn in Austria. There is less sunshine here than in Wisconsin. Solar panels are being installed on rooftops, new and old. The lady that owns this inn has had solar since 1980. A second one was added in 2003. In bringing up the subject of windmills, she said she didn’t want that “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.”
Back home, they say that Germany is full of wind turbines. Not quite. They are mostly in the north. From Frankfurt south to Regensburg, we counted about 20 units, scattered away from any buildings. From Regensburg into Austria, there are none – maybe 400 to 500 miles all told.
To close, the view from our home to the west horizon once was trees and neat farms. Today it is a scramble of wind turbines, like a scrap yard.
At the start, Invenergy proclaimed that the project would pit neighbor against neighbor. Their arrogance filters down through the people making money on the project. Some old friends have literally become old friends.
The concept of green energy, a worthy cause, could have been handled more gracefully.
Phil Delfeld is a Brownsville resident.
22 July 2008
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