Wind turbines in the parking lot of Wayland’s new town center? Sounds very “green.” But is it?
Until two years ago I championed the use of wind energy, believing the only objection was aesthetics. Then in October 2010, Tom Zeller Jr. wrote an article in The New York Times titled “For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy.”
When three turbines were installed in Vinalhaven, Maine, residents couldn’t believe they hadn’t been told about the noise. Mr. Zeller reported there were “Lawsuits and complaints about turbine noise, vibrations and subsequent lost property value in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, among other states.”
Noise doesn’t come from the central gear box but from the mammoth 100-foot long blades whooshing and whooping as they cut through the air. (I understand 11-foot turbines would have shorter blades, but that doesn’t mean quiet.)
An appeals court in Rennes, France, ordered an eight-turbine farm be shut down at night so residents could get some sleep. And a recent news report told of a Kansas farmer bemoaning the fact he’d allowed wind turbines on his farm because no one had told him about the noise pollution.
An acoustic expert hired by residents of Vinalhaven concluded turbines shouldn’t be put where people live. He suggested developers not duplicate these errors but find areas where there is a large buffer zone of about a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter between turbines and people’s homes.
Obviously, most residents of a town, like those on Vinalhaven, live outside this radius and neither see nor hear the turbines. This majority is why the energy companies are saying only a minority of people oppose them.
I do understand the proposed turbines would be smaller, but does that mean noise free? Has anyone reviewed a similar installation to check them out?
If we don’t question the noise pollution now, we might regret it as much as others have who didn’t ask. Might 11 small ones equal three larger ones? Our entire town center would be inside the buffer zone proposed for Vinalhaven.
While I’m all for wind energy, I’m also a big fan of quiet. – Evelyn Wolfson, Pelham Island Road
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