On the Question of Big Wind Power

A panel discusses wind energy in Pt. Reyes, CA.

What’s ‘Appropriate Scale’ for Wind Generation?
In the aftermath of the failed Durban Climate Summit and the absence of responsible international governmental action on carbon emission reduction, citizens at the local and regional levels are considering ways to step into the breach. Generation of electricity with giant industrial wind turbines is being widely considered.

Industrial wind power advocates tend to deny, ignore or poo-poo the issues raised by those who point to potentially serious negative impacts of the technology on wildlife, property values, environment and human health, To the credit of its sponsors, this meeting aimed to look at all sides of the question. We apologize for the delay in getting it posted, but the issue is not going away any time soon.

[Scroll down for Forum videos.]

Evidence of Harms
EON’s investigation of this issue – and of so-called ‘smart grid’ issues overall – leads us to believe that unbridled enthusiasm for industrial-scale, corporately controlled, centralized wind installations is a Big Mistake, joining the ranks of other green-washed false solutions like the claims that nuclear energy, ‘clean’ coal and fracking are necessary to save the planet.

Wind development as a renewable energy source should be possible, but only if it is appropriate scale, locally controlled, and environmental and health concerns are resolved.

We agree with Magda Havas and David Colling who say in their recent article in the Bulletin of Science and Society, “Wind Turbines Make Waves: Why Some Residents Near Wind Turbines Become Ill,” “With a growing interest in renewable forms of energy, the technology has to be not only energy efficient but also human friendly.”

Abstract: “People who live near wind turbines complain of symptoms that include some combination of the following: difficulty sleeping, fatigue, depression, irritability, aggressiveness, cognitive dysfunction, chest pain/pressure, headaches, joint pain, skin irritations, nausea, dizziness, tinnitus, and stress. These symptoms have been attributed to the pressure (sound) waves that wind turbines generate in the form of noise and infrasound. However, wind turbines also generate electromagnetic waves in the form of poor power quality (dirty electricity) and ground current, and these can adversely affect those who are electrically hypersensitive. Indeed, the symptoms mentioned above are consistent with electrohypersensitivity. Sensitivity to both sound and electromagnetic waves differs among individuals and may explain why not everyone in the same home experiences similar effects. Ways to mitigate the adverse health effects of wind turbines are presented.”

Wind in Marin
Since the County of Marin is amending its Local Coastal Program (LCP) for West Marin to allow industrial wind turbines as a permitted use on the coast, folks need as much information about industrial wind turbines they can find to be able to make informed decisions.

Here is an excerpt from a recent Vermont news story:
“…[A]ll wind turbine ordinances should hold developers responsible for a full-price (pre-turbine) buyout of any family whose lives are ruined by turbines — to prod developers to follow realistic health-based rules and prevent the extreme economic loss of home abandonment.”

Electrosensitive people, (who’ve been injured by overexposure to RF and electromagnetic pollution) may have allies in the victims and scientists involved in “Wind Turbine Syndrome,’ which includes sleep deprivation, ringing in ears, and incredible headaches.

“It’s like living in a microwave oven,” … People hear a ringing in their ears, lose sleep, and suffer headaches, …. the residents’ blood pressure went so high that they needed medication to reduce it.

Wind companies use ‘gag clauses’ – ”which “forbid people who receive payments from wind companies, or who have lost legal challenges, from saying anything negative about the turbines or developer.”

Other gag clauses include…
“Grantor grants and conveys to Grantee a non-exclusive easement, right and entitlement on, over, across and under the Property to permit the Wind Farm or any component thereof to impact view or visual effects from the Property; to cause vibration; to cause electromagnetic and frequency interference; to cast shadows (including, without limitation, any from the turbines and moving blades) onto the Property; to interfere with television, radio or satellite reception; or to emit noise or sounds caused by the construction or operation of the Wind Farm.”

Check out the full article from Vermont’s Chronicle, “Low-frequency sound, stray voltage, are suspects in ill effects of wind turbines.”

Citizens discuss the pros and cons of wind power, Pt. Reyes, CA.

Local Volts Wind Forum
The pros and cons of industrial scale, centralized, corporately-owned wind generation in contrast to small scale, locally distributed, publicly-owned wind power are discussed in this community forum held in Pt. Reyes, CA., Oct. 19, 2011.


The panel, moderated by author Peter Azmus of Pathfinder Communications, included: Dawn Weisz, Marin Energy Authority; Dave Willard, Sage Renewables; Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity; Helen Kozoriz, West Marin/Sonoma Coastal Advocates; Bernie Stephan, Sustainable Marin; Judd Howell, American Wildlife Institute; and Ed Mainland, Sierra Club California.

Panelist Helen Kozoriz, West Marin/Sonoma Coastal Advocates

Co-Sponsors: Environmental Forum of Marin; Marin Conservation League; Sierra Club’s Marin Group; Sustainable Marin; Transition West Marin; SF Bay Area Chapter Women of Wind Energy.
Local Volts Wind Forum – Pt. 1

Panel Presentations

LocalVolts Wind Forum Pt. 2

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