Neighbors of wind farms have discovered that they are far from the benign, clean, efficient ways of harnessing energy to our needs that delusional greenies maintain. The truth is far different. Leaving aside the cost and problems associated with reliability (maintenance is a big issue, and the wind does not always blow when people need power), there are serious environmental issues. The Indianapolis Star runs a good examination of some of the problems that have not received adequate consideration. Jeff Swiatek reports:
The tips of those giant blades, however, move at speeds approaching 160 mph, creating forces that send low-frequency vibrations through the ground. People three-quarters of a mile away sometimes say they can feel the vibrations in their chests.
Cases of nausea, headaches, insomnia and other ills have become common enough in states with wind farms that they've been given a name: "wind turbine syndrome."
That newfangled illness is just one of a growing list of health effects, inconveniences, risks and cost considerations that have resulted in a backlash against wind farms in other states, even as Indiana is in the midst of a rapid buildout of wind energy.
New York pediatrician Dr. Nina Pierpont, who coined the term "wind turbine syndrome," compared the symptoms to seasickness. She's found an analogy to wind turbines: a passive weapon used by the Israeli army to disband unruly protesters with low frequency blasts. It is called The Scream.
Then there's the annoying "shadow flicker." It comes from the rotating blades' reflection, which creates a strobe light effect on nearby homes.
With their location in rural areas, often on ridgetops or in mountain passes, wind farms also have broad environmental impact. They require quarter-acre clear zones for the turbines and long cuts through forests for permanent service roads.
The blades, turning day and night, are efficient killers of birds and bats. Some studies show large wind farms located in migratory paths or on ridgetops can kill thousands of birds a year, though other studies put the death toll much lower.
Perhaps dust is not a problem in Indiana, but I know that in California, the blades are known to kick of dust, which certainly cannot help soil erosion problems. Add in the cost problems and reliability issues, and wind farms are not the solution to problems. At best, very marginal.
Hat tip: Susan L.