GREEN BAY – Split opinions about a new study on wind farms and their health effects. It concerns a wind farm project in southeastern Brown County.
The study authorized by the Public Service Commission centers on the Shirley wind farm in the town of Glenmore. It was conducted by Clean Wisconsin, a clean energy advocacy group, and four independent firms. The groups monitored the wind farm for four days in early December.
“What the study found was that there weren’t any audible sounds coming from the wind turbines in any of the houses investigated,” explained Clean Wisconsin staff scientist Tyson Cook in a phone interview with FOX 11 Thursday. “In fact, it was only at the closest house they were able to pick up any sound from the wind turbines; they were able to identify with their most sensitive equipment.”
Two of the three people who live in that house reported nausea. This prompted the four independent firms to recommend more studies need to be done, as it could affect the future of the industry.
Stemming from a possible wind farm project by Emerging Energies in St. Croix County, Clean Wisconsin says the study did what it was supposed to do – measure low frequency sound above the human threshold of human hearing. Clean Wisconsin says an anecdotal, self-reported illness from residents obtained by one of the investigators is outside of the study’s scope.
“There’s a lot of sensationalism on this issue in general, and just trying to keep everybody sticking to the facts of the science behind the issue has been a real challenge in this particular case,” said Cook.
“Some of the statements they put out have been kind of directly contradicted by the investigators,” said State Representative Andre Jacque (R-De Pere).
Jacque says the study clearly shows the connection between the wind turbines and people’s health.
“I mean, this is a tremendous validation for those residents,” said Jacque. “There’s an urgent priority to conduct further testing and that we shouldn’t be sitting any more wind farms until we have those results.”
Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy sides with Jacque, saying in a statement:
“The study shows conclusive evidence that Low Frequency Noise is a significant emission from industrial wind turbines – a fact, in general, denied by the wind industry,” said Steven Delaurier, spokesperson for the BCCRWE. “This (Low Frequency Noise) and other conditions around (Duke Energy’s) Shirley Wind project has forced three families from the homes they still own and the PSC has received sworn statements representing more than 50 people around the 8 turbines in Glenmore reporting adverse health effects.”
A meeting is schedule for January 17th in Madison to compile additional reports on wind farm projects.
The results of the study could also affect whether a proposed wind farm in St. Croix County gets a permit. The PSC expects to make a decision on that project by late February.
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