A number of folks in Windham are interested in making sense of information about industrial wind installations and their effects on communities. One important feature to look at is the layout of communities in relation to wind-turbine siting. I thought it might be useful to compare the layout of Sheffield, Vermont, where a 16-turbine installation has been operating since 2011, and Windham, which has been targeted for a turbine installation. Although there aren’t any turbines in Windham, it’s easy to see where they would have to go by using readily available mapping software and existing windresource information. (If you would like to see the methodology I used to compare the two towns, please go to the community website WindhamVT.info. Under “Resources” click “Data and Maps;” then click “Comparisons.”)
I took a look at the location of all buildings in both towns. Then I looked at actual turbine sites in Sheffield and probable turbine sites in Windham. Then I compared the two communities. (See graphs below.) Here are a couple of additional nuggets from the wealth of interesting comparative data, more of which will be in future articles and on the community website:
- In Sheffield, 12.7% of addresses are within a 2-mile radius of the nearest wind turbine. In Windham, 69.8% are within a 2-mile radius of probable wind turbine sites.
- The town of Sheffield is separated from the wind turbines by Interstate 91. Obviously, there is no similar noise source in Windham.
- There are 23 Sheffield addresses that are within one mile of a wind turbine. Twenty of these are closer to Interstate 91 than they are to a wind turbine.
Comparisons are at the heart of our Town’s upcoming re-appraisal process. Lots of folks may be wondering about how industrial wind turbines affect property values. A comparison of Windham and Sheffield suggests that a number of factors must be considered when comparing supposedly “similar” properties. For me, one outstanding factor is already-existing ambient noise in a town that is under consideration for industrial wind.
One thing I learned from looking at these data: while it might appear that visiting Sheffield would help us imagine what it’s like to live with wind turbines, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several crucial differences between the two towns.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding