Wind farms: Are they a good thing?

What do you think?
Aaron Krause
Aug 16, 2014

Phil Hartke predicts that in 10 years, the public will see advertisements from law firms offering representation for people to receive compensation for ill health effects from wind turbines.

The past president of the Illinois Farm Bureau in Effingham County spoke at the Rural Coonhunters Club in rural Greenwich to a group opposed to the construction of wind turbines in the area.

Hartke spoke to more than 100 people over two days at an event hosted by Greenwich Neighbors United.

The global wind energy development company Windlab's has applied to construct a windpark that would cover about 4,650 acres of privately leased land. It would include 25 wind turbines with a total generating capacity of up to 60 megawatts of electricity.

Final decision on the project's status rests with the Ohio Power Siting Board, a separate entity within the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

The board's next meeting is Aug. 25, and the matter may come up for a vote.

While Hartke wouldn't be affected by the project, he spoke about his and his family's own experience with wind turbines.

A 495-foot tall, 1.6 mW turbine sits 1,665 feet away from his home.

He handed out a packet, which includes a drawing and paragraph his daughter, Sophia, 7, wrote during school.

"You may think wind turbines are good but when you have 50 by your home...you can't sleep in your own room and you try to sleep but you can't because of the wind turbines (noise). I had to move into a mobile home because my mom, dad and brother plus me couldn't sleep."

Said her father: "Our enjoyment of the backyard, garden, outbuildings, treehouse and creekbed has been taken away and replaced with nausea, headaches, irritability and stress."

Hartke compared the noise to a diesel truck parked outside one's bedroom, with the sound increasing as each blade rotating.

"I don't think kids should have to put earmuffs on to sleep," Hartke said.

Monica Jensen, vice president of development of Windlab, said people who live in the area are already subjected to noise.

"The reality is a majority of the group that is opposed to the windfarm (lives) along the railroad tracks," she said.

She added railroad tracks are "in their back yard."

"Their concerns of noise are pretty illogical based on where they live in relationship to where the nearest turbine is going to be," Jensen said. "They pull vasts amount of information off the Internet that is not scientific or peer reviewed."

Jensen said a lot of people live among wind farms "and have no problems whatsoever."

There are 60,000 megawatts of wind being generated in the U.S., Jensen said.

Greenwich area residents have said they hadn't heard about the project until recently.

"We've had multiple meetings at the township level and the county level for the past four years," Jensen said.

She said coal-powered plants are 40- to 60-years old, and with new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, repairing them can cost billions of dollars -- money that gets charged directly to rate payers.

"Anything I try to provide to an anti-wind person, it's perceived, it's made up, it's bogus, (it's) propaganda from (the) wind industry" even if it's peer-reviewed from the scientific community

"It's never good enough."

Wind power has its positives, according to the EPA's website.

"Wind energy can provide residents and businesses with the electricity they need without the harmful emissions associated with conventional electricity generation sources," it reads. "Wind is also the fastest growing energy source in the world, which helps create jobs and spur economic growth."

But wind power isn't perfect.

Wind power is "intermittent and blows best in places that make the turbines more prominent such as on top of ridgelines and in the ocean. As a result, many wind facilities face significant local opposition based on aesthetics.

"In addition, wind turbines can impact wildlife such as birds and bats. Some wind facilities such as the one in Searsburg, Vermont, have instituted pre and post construction monitoring programs to assess the impact on local wildlife, including birds and bears."

Comments

pntbutterandjelly

And fracking is good? And coal-fired pollution is good? And nuclear is totally without problems? And the oil industry is without fault? And farming chemicals are "okay"?
Some people just have a problem with moving forward into tomorrow's future without complaining.
I say, wind, solar, geothermal and any other renewable energy source should be explored, funded and utilized to avoid contaminating our small globe before it's too late to turn back the hands of time.

Chef Julio

The globe is HUGE. Wind, Solar, etc - if they are so promising then they should be able to stand on their own. We shouldn't have to "fund" them. They don't provide enough energy yet, so unless we regress society by a hundred years and get rid of electricity, then they don't work yet.

happy time

No you are wrong. They work very well, but it's going to take a lot of time and money to get going. I'm talking about residential size though. Pull out some of your electric bills then go to company websites and start doing the math. Being an engineer, I've studied them a lot and my favorite company is Skystream. A residential turbine can pay for itself in 5 - 10 years. Where would the automotive industry be without gas stations? The gas stations didn't all just appear overnight. You have to be patient and keep moving forward. This might be hard to believe, but one of the best sources for honest turbine information is the Amish. They use them a lot, and I've talked to several of them about it.

Cliff Cannon

Bravo 'pntbutterandjelly' ! I for one,commend you for your extremely well written set of question's, statements and answers for THE question of the day: How is man to energize his future ?

Then on the topic of " it's too late to turn back the hands of time " Americans need to grasp just feeble our security is in protecting our power grid. A mere 14 electric transfer stations literally take care of the bulk of power distribution in our country.

One of them was attacked last year near San Jose Calif. Thankfully, the attackers were not able to shut it down and leave a major portion of the west coast dark for who knows how long. Yet ,virtually nothing has been done to beef up security ( extra fencing, electrified fencing, camera's , people with guns, etc ) for this most urgent of problems.

So for this ghastly deed to be successful all it awaits is the properly trained Al-Qaeda commando unit and then what happens ? As we all know the 'average' person has food & water available for what about 3 days ? Power is gone for who knows how long. So then what happens ?

So here's hoping wind, geo thermal, hydro electric and any other source of power is maximized to it's greatest value. Because let's face it. There WILL come a day when terrorist's knock out our grids and why not have as many alternative resources available as possible ?

Especially, if in their own way they help to avoid as " pntbutterandjelly " noted " contaminating our small globe before it's too late to turn back the hands of time "

CrankyBalls

Cliff, How do you know there aren't any Al-Qaeda sleeper cells that enjoy reading the Reflector blogs? Please stop posting ideas for them to see!

Cliff Cannon

CrankyBalls : There is an internet Al-Qaeda sponsored magazine called " Inspire " published by an American born Iman named Anwar Al'Awlaki. Each and every issue of this publication seeks to inspire violent destructive acts against America. With the ever popular " How to make a bomb in your mothers kitchen " included in every issue.

His most famous success stories to date are the Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon. Being that taking out your enemy's infrastructure is job one in war as well as knowing there are countless other Iman's out there seeking to inspire their followers to destroy America.

I seriously doubt I mentioned anything they had not thought of. Problem is why are we American's not beefing up our security at every vulnerable spot we have ? Attempting to inspire action on that account is the posting of idea's that need to be seen,true ? So here's hoping

earlduck

hell if they kill bats that alone is worth the investment

Foodforthought

NO!! and earlduck, bats eat mosquitoes and other flying pests.

Dr. Information

I think wind farms are good as long as they are not stacked up on top of people. The proof is there that they cause issues with health.

exoticnoise420

All you people saying its a good thing must not have one supposedly going up 200 yards behind your property you have living at for 27 years. And in most of Greenwich township we have firelands co-op electric. And the electric being made by said windfarm is not selling to them. So the only people getting anything good out of this are the people leasing the land (mostly menonites) or people outside of firelands electric. I can't even build a porch on my house without a permit from the township. Why should I have to live with a big a$$ turbine behind my house and get nothing but noise and sickness from it.

Really are you ...

Generating electricity in a non combustive environmentally friendly way? Yes. In a wildlife or people friendly way? Probably not.

60 megawatts. Wow! SMH! A lot of residential, commercial, and industrial building are going to be using that 60 megawatts of electricity. Quite a bit of what is generated will be lost in the grid, substations, and transformers. Acceptable lost, yes? No! It does not have to be! We can get off of the grid! Make the quality of life for yourself! With the ability to power your own future with out the use of solar, wind, nuclear, oil, coal, natural gas, geothermal, or wave generation. The grid is optional, if you want to feed electricity back into it that is. Transportation could be transformed also. But please, by all means, keep beating yourselves up on the wind farm and which fossil fuel contaminates less debate.

Mr Bean

Anyone who thinks that Wind and Solar are viable replacements for the coal plants which are being destroyed, hasn`t done his homework. Coal provides approximately 40 % of our electricity and without it we will see our electricity double, not just at home but in our factories schools, etc. Wind and Solar even with tax subsidies, cannot help for the foreseable future, if ever. Windmills aren`t the answer, they never will be, even if the claimed problems with noise, wildlife, animal, and human problems are overstated, they are a serious problem. The answer is fossil fuel, and will be for at least 50 years, otherwise, buy yourself some warm clothing, you`re going to need it.

KURTje

What negative facts come from Bowling Green, Ohio regarding said EMF makers? And Bean why not make an effort to reduce existing expensive voltage? Ever have a low propane usage bill?

pntbutterandjelly

1 campfire's smoke is "okay". 7 billion...not so much.

pntbutterandjelly

The bottom line:
(A) Is the planet's (our planet's) health better off now than it was, say, 10,000 years ago?
(B) What, ultimately, sustains all living things (including humans)?
(C) Is fossil fuel finite?

(Short of the Human race becoming extinct....we, as a species, have the most control over the sustainability of our future's destiny. The real question is, "Are we wise enough to make the correct decisions to impact its constructive outcome or will we take the path of least resistance?").

Cliff Cannon

Of course the irony P B& J is that man is the planets best hope and worst enemy. Here's hoping our better angels win the struggle for control of the planets future.

pntbutterandjelly

To Cliff Cannon,
"Thank you for your accolades and for pointing out the "national security" issues that you addressed." You brought forward aspects that I was not aware of.

heidijo

Putting over 900 families within 1 mile of a wind turbine in Greenwich is just ridiculous.

I'm all for alternative energy. We have a geothermal system at our house but when we looked into wind power at our house 8 years ago, they told us it would be $25,000 to install a 40' wind turbine and we would get $30 a month in electric usage for it. We didn't need a calculator to figure out that wind energy is not very efficient. Our tax dollars pay to support the wind industry which needs government funding to survive its inefficiency. Just because power companies need their token "green" projects to fulfill government requirements, doesn't mean citizens in an already depressed area should have to put their health, property values, and safety on the line.

happy time

A brand new Skystream 3.7 installed costs about $ 5,800.

Dr. Information

30 dollars a month savings will take 16 years to recoup @5,800 and that's if there is no maintenance along the way.

happy time

How many people average $30 a month? Not a lot, especially people in the country.

ohio2's picture
ohio2

The turbines are taller than Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster. Would you like to have a few of those within a mile of your house?

kaledet1

About protecting our power grid. How does connecting hundreds of generating sources to the transmission grid, i.e. wind turbines make our grid safer. They have on board computer systems that are connected to a control center somewhere. These systems are open to cyber attacks and since the wind turbines are connected to the grid it is not inconceivable that these open networks could be hacked. This will be another huge expense that will have to be passed on to the consumer, because the foreign developers and investors surely won't absorb this.

Cliff Cannon

kaledet1 : I am not even close to being an expert on power grids. However,this is what I remember from the 2003 massive blackouts across the N.E. & Mid west.

The nuke plants go into a safe mode, slow down type situation. While, the other sources hydo electric, coal, wind etc go into high gear.

So why the different reactions from power sources to grid problems ? All guesses here. Obviously, nukes could melt down and then what ? While the smaller sources can ramp up because their share of the grid is much easier to control, mainly because they are very short sections of the grid.

So as I understand it. A bit of control is the advantage to home grown power. If anyone has the definitive answer please share it.

country girl

Wow. The reporter sure didn't report the story correctly. It was not Phil Hartke's home but his sons home and family that were devastated. Phil came 477 miles free of charge to tell us this story and gave the reporter a flier for reference so he could get the information right. SO much for that! Humph! And really there are only 3 families living by the railroad that separates our properties from the proposed wind turbines. Ms. Jensen should know that, isn't she suppose to be the expert? And yes we deal with trains on an hourly basis but they pass by in seconds, but the turbines are here to stay. Infra sound travels away from us as the train moves but no so with the turbines on windy days and nights. Sad reporting. I quess its the best of what is left for the reflector.

Really are you ...

The turbines will be silent at times when there is no wind to make them move. So many variables with few Constances.