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Wind turbines creating division in northern Missouri

OSBORN, Mo. – For almost two years, Kim Tindel has had an unobstructed view of several large wind turbines from her property in northwest Missouri.

She’s sick of them. And, she thinks, sick from them.

“It makes you dizzy,” Tindel said. “We live with our blinds pulled now.”

Tindel said from the highest point on her property, she can see all 97 turbines that went online near Osborn in 2016, to create enough renewable energy for KCP&L to power 60,000 homes.

She and other nearby residents complain of shadow flickers, red lights, constant noises from the turbines – similar to airplanes in the distance – and health concerns.

“The other side of green energy comes at an expense, and it’s not financial,” Tindel said.

A spokesman for the company that operates the turbines, Florida-based NextEra Energy, said the company has tried to work with landowners as much as possible to alleviate their concerns.

“They’re part of the landscape,” said spokesman Bryan Garner. “We try to mitigate as much as possible.”

Garner said the turbine noises are “barely measurable” and pointed toward the shadow flicker only happening when the sun hits the blades at the right angle.

“It’s not a constant phenomenon,” Garner said of the shadow flicker.

He also said the red lights on the turbines are required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The financial impact of the turbines has revived several family farms and businesses in the area.

It has also generated increased tax payments to local and state coffers, providing a constant source of income.

The company paid more than $2.7 million to various tax entities in Missouri in its first year, according to NextEra.

The company also pays landowners more than $8,000 per turbine per year, according to a landowner KMBC spoke with on Tuesday.

“I thought it was just a financially good decision for me and my family,” said Rick Munson, who has one turbine on his property. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

However, Tindel continues to speak out against NextEra, and any future development.

“I never thought at 55 years old that this is what I’d be fighting,” she said. “But I will continue this fight.”