I am for the responsible and safe placement of renewable energy that doesn’t affect my safety or property rights.
I have the privilege of living out in the country for the peace and quiet. Has anyone ever heard someone say, “I will sell my property to go and live in the middle of a wind farm”? When you live in a rural community as I do, you expect some form of agricultural annoyances. Do you expect industrial annoyances from wind-power electric generators? The issue at hand isn’t only about annoyances but about the safe placement, or setback, of these proposed behemoth wind turbines. I’ve been told that the setback to my property (550 ft or 1.1 times the height of the turbine) and to my residence (1250 ft.) are two entirely different numbers. Why are these two distances different? Shouldn’t my family and I be as safe on any part of our property as we would be in our home? Shouldn’t my wife be safe in the garden? Shouldn’t my kids be safe playing in the side yard? If I have a piece of raw land, why should the setback to the property be less than the distance afforded to a house? Because of this difference in setback distance, I am being robbed of the ability to safely build and live on that property in the future.
After several requests, the project developer, E.ON, has failed to provide any scientific, peer-reviewed, independent study which backs up the aforementioned setbacks. I’ve been told it’s the industry standard and if something should happen, well “that’s why we have insurance”. Encouraging, isn’t it? My search for data on safe setback distances yields several peer- reviewed studies one of which specifies a distance of at least “3.5 x the height of the turbine” to be a safe setback. That would mean approximately 1800 ft. to a property line with the proposed turbine height. The setback distance is crucial to prevent ice throw, blade failure and other safety risks from harming individuals or structures.
If I’m not receiving the financial benefit of the proposed industrial wind project, why should I be forced to put up with the risks? I have seen a copy of a lease agreement between a landowner and E.ON which stated:
“OWNER [property owner who signs] ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THERE MAY BE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH WINDPOWER ENERGY GENERATION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS, SHADOW, STRAY VOLTAGE, ICE THROW, AND HEALTH EFFECTS POTENTIALLY ASSOCIATED WITH FLICKER, NOISE AND AIR TURBULENCE, AND OWNER KNOWINGLY WAIVES ALL CLAIMS RELATED TO SUCH RISKS.”
If all these risks weren’t enough, the verbiage “BUT NOT LIMITED TO” is very scary. To what other potential risks will my family be subjected? With a payment, the landowner is willing to take on these risks. Why should I be forced to take on these same safety risks as a non-participant?
Without oversight from any county, state, or federal authority, there is no law regulating the safe distance of a turbine to my property. My ability to build on my land or even enjoy my land safely is now at risk if the turbines are not sited safely. Suddenly, the uses for my property drastically diminish. Do you think my land value will decline with a nearly 600 ft. industrial wind turbine as close as 5 football fields away from my house? If nothing else, hopefully we can all agree the number of potential buyers would be less.
The term trespass zoning is often used to describe the taking of property by the unsafe proximity of a turbine to an adjacent property. It’s theft of our right to safely reside on our property whether inside our home or outside. The setback and trespass zoning issues are not just South Gibson issues. There are 2 projects proposed by E.ON: “Gibson Central Project” stretching from Princeton to Mt. Carmel with upwards of 67 turbines, and “Gibson West/Posey North” of which Gibson West will have approximately 13 of the 67 turbines affecting numerous non-participating land owners. Gibson County, is this what we want? I want clean energy, but the risks should be contained to property of the lessors who are financially benefitting and have volunteered to accept that risk, not thrust upon those of us who have not.
– Les Kiesel