December 3, 2011
New York

“Windfall” shows cost of wind energy

By Nate West, The Bona Venture, 1 December 2011

The documentary “Windfall” was shown Tuesday night in Dresser Auditorium. The film addressed some of the major concerns with wind energy.

“Windfall” takes place in Meredith, N.Y., a small farming town about five hours east of Olean near Oneonta. The film, directed by Laura Israel, received fairly positive reviews, with 6.7 being the average on (Internet Movie Database).

The story centers on the town’s people and their split over whether not to allow wind turbines in the town. After one man was spotted with a simulation of one, the town erupted into a combination of protest and support. An elderly couple who had lived in the town for a few years was the first to allow contractors on their property, and had gone as far as signing a lease but backed out of it after hearing the loud noise the average wind turbine makes.

A large percentage of the town was against contractors and energy companies taking its small town and using it as a harbor for its turbines. One man in the film said, “We don’t want to become the next Maple Ridge.”

Maple Ridge Wind Farm, in Lewiston County, nearly quadrupled in size when the 50 windmills it was supposed to have increased to 195.

One of the sub-stories in “Windfall” is the local government nearly refusing to listen to the townspeople by beginning the process of allowing contractors and energy companies into the town to map out their work. Residents of Meredith organized and conquered, though, when, after months of campaigning and advertising, the candidate for town board against wind development won in a landslide.

“Windfall” shows the othe rsides of wind energy. With news footage from Colorado, it shows video of a wind turbine that caught on fire, and the only thing the fire department could do is watch and let burning pieces of turbine fall to the ground. More news-footage clips depict interviews with people either showing some of the medical problems they have developed as a result of the new wind turbines, or how turbines being to close to a person’s residency can have a dramatic effect. Some medical effects included frequent headaches or migraines.

The documentary ended with the citizens of Meredith opposed to wind development celebrating their political victory. The film showed they are looking forward to the years ahead.

When the showing concluded, the audience applauded. The showing, which was open to Bonaventure students and the public, was a little under an hour-and-a-half long.

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