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Turbine noise irks some in Ubly area

Forty-six wind turbines are producing electricity at the Michigan Wind Park in the Ubly area in Huron County.

They have been up for four months, but not everyone is happy with the tall structures.

Some residents were worried that the wind turbines would be too close to homes and cause too much noise. It appears some people now agree.

“It’s not the ‘swoosh, swoosh’ we expected,” said Angie Weber, who lives nearby.

You can’t hear them on a windy day, but when there is a light breeze, the 440-foot wind turbines do make some sound.

“They are very noisy,” said Jan Sageman, who lives in the village of Ubly near some of the turbines.

While she didn’t mind seeing her community jump into the world of renewable energy, her opinion has changed because on certain cold nights with a light wind, she can hear them loud and clear.

“You would have swore a train or a jet was coming through the house,” she said.

That’s exactly what Weber and others were worried about when the wind turbines were proposed, that they would be placed too close to homes and they would be noisy.

She was also concerned about their appearance.

“Do we think they are awesome? No,” she said. “But the appearance isn’t that big of a deal. I can live with the visuals if you can eliminate the sounds.”

“I don ‘t see them really as a problem as of yet,” said John Rutkowski, who lives near a number of the windmills.

“They are not quite as quiet as some people said they were, but I don’t see them being as noisy as some other people said they were. I just think it’s going to take some time.”

Rick Schmidt says they make some noise, but he’s getting used to them.

“We are getting used to them,” he said. “I don’t see a major problem. There’s a lot worse things.”

Weber plans on talking to township and county officials to make sure the noise falls below local zoning laws, but for now, those not happy with the noise will have to adjust.

“I never thought they would be this loud, but every day when you walk out and it is noisy, it’s a constant reminder that they are here forever,” Sageman said. “That’s kind of a sad thing.”

We could not get a comment from John Deere Wind Energy for this story.