I appreciate the story about the proposed new Carleton wind turbine. I was surprised, however, that there was no mention about some of the health concerns about windmills of this size for people who live within a mile because of the possibly harmful effects of the infrasonic sound produced by turbines this size. I used to think I was an absolute supporter of wind power and I was happy when the first windmill went in nearby. I could not understand why so many people opposed the wind farms north and south of town and in Goodhue County.
However, as so often happens in capitalism, when the bottom line becomes solely about money, sometimes good ideas go bad. Perhaps others have read the article in the Star Tribune by Dr. Gary Carlson outlining some of the health concerns associated with the larger turbines. When I read Dr. Carlson’s piece, I was glad to be informed and began to do some research myself since we live within half a mile of the existing one and would be downwind half a mile from the new one. Several other families would be within a half mile. The Northfield News ought to be complete in its reporting and bring these concerns to people’s attention as well. Lawsuits are currently being brought charging harmful effects on people’s health from infrasonic sound. Some in town would be within a mile of the new one. I do not know if it is true that people who live near the large wind turbines get sick from them, but I think an institution like Carleton could be quite effective in determining any truth to these claims. I think it behooves Carleton to carefully check out these concerns to find out if there is merit to the research that says there are harmful effects to people from infrasonic sound waves.
There are many turbines in Europe that do not have these same health concerns because they are not so large. United States companies producing turbines are now heavily marketing large sized turbines because they can make more money. And Carleton is more interested in these large ones, according to the facilities office, because they are more economical. I think it is really too bad that windpower in the U.S. is going in the direction of these huge turbines that are potentially harmful instead of the smaller ones that have proven reliable over time in Europe and are not associated with the same health concerns.
And it will be too bad if Carleton invests that much money into one and finds out later there are lawsuits because of harmful effects on people’s health. An equally unfortunate outcome is to have the progress of safe windpower set back because here in this country we make our decisions based on the bottom line. I’d like to encourage a more evolved decision-making process wherein people’s well-being becomes an equal factor in the bottom line.