- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind turbines and crazy people

A few years ago, I signed a setback waiver agreement so my neighbors could have a wind turbine on their property. It wasn’t the smartest thing I ever did. But because I did, I am very wary of where sPower is wanting to build these new turbines.

Just the other day, I read where Ohio Power Siting Board held a workshop on wind turbine blade throws. It seems when these things fail (and around the world, thousands do every year) they have thrown pieces of blade as heavy as brick for distances of 1,158 feet, 1,476 feet, 1,561 feet and even 1,834 feet. And those are just the ones somebody reported. The only calculations they have to predict how far pieces of a blade might fly is a study out of Denmark saying that during normal operating conditions, they should go less than 2,296 feet. Well, that’s not too comforting.

sPower’s plans are showing they want to build a turbine at about 1,125 feet from my house, the minimum they are allowed because I signed the agreement. If I had not signed the setback waiver, it would have been somewhat farther because of the way my house sits on my land. But what I want to know is how can the OPSB allow any company to build a turbine that close to someone’s house, no matter what they convinced me to sign, when they have studies showing chunks as heavy as bricks can fly over twice that far? I didn’t think I signed away my guest’s, my mailman’s, or the UPS person’s safety when they come on my property! Would that even be legal?

Now I hear that some politician has introduced a bill in Columbus that would make it OK for wind companies to build a turbine 1,125 feet from anybody’s house. At present, they have to stay 1,125 feet from your property line. Are people crazy? These things need to be at least 2,296 feet from property lines, like the study says. And common sense would dictate even a bit farther. Doesn’t the safety of the public mean anything anymore?

And speaking of politicians, I see where our own Commissioner Holly Stacy is all in favor of this new bill and moving turbines even closer. Add another one to the crazy list. Anyone who is thinking straight can see that these wind turbine setbacks need to be lengthened to at least 2,296 feet. And, if blade throws that far are possible, then any existing turbine in an already completed project needs to be torn down immediately. Public safety demands it.

We cannot let the crazy people be in charge. I’m pretty sure it’s the promise of money that is making them crazy. But trading public safety for money would be a fool’s game, and in Seneca county we do not suffer fools.

Jim Hoffert,