July 28, 2007

Government confirms wind turbine noise regulations inadequate

The families of Kevin and Dwayne Bailey, father and son, of Elmira, Prince Edward Island, have been forced to abandon their homes because of the intolerable noise from new wind turbines about a kilometer (about 1100 yards) away. From a visit by Paul and Ruth Downing:
When we first drove into their yard, our initial impression was that their one kilometer setback distance should be fine. However, their problems began within weeks after the turbines started operating. When they were downwind from the turbines, and the air was moving just enough to turn them (12-15 knots from the northeast), the noise was loud. It was a repetitive modulated drone of sound. Dwayne and Kevin both claimed it sometimes was loud enough to rattle the windows of their homes. The sound was even worse in the field behind their homes. Distances from 1 to 1.5 kilometers were the areas of the most annoying sounds. This spring the winds created constant misery.

Dwayne developed headaches, popping and ringing ears, and could not sleep. He tried new glasses, prescription sleep aids and earplugs, to no avail.

Dwayne’s two year old was sleeping well prior to the wind farm, but began waking up, 5-6 times a night.

Kevin Bailey stated, “When you are outside working and absorbed in what you are doing, you are OK. If inside, resting or reading, it’s a problem. Forget about sleeping at night. The repetitions would go away, you think that it is gone, and it comes back again.” Kevin tried sound dampening by draping the front walls inside his house, and sleeping in the back, but this did not work.

Kevin had problems with his electrical appliances. The fridge, water heater and power meter all vibrated. He purchased a new fridge, and it was just as bad. When the fridge was moved to the new house, the vibrations were gone. ...

Kevin noted, “All we ever had here was peace and quiet, and poverty. Now we only have poverty.” ...

We toured the wind farm site. Initially the winds were 12-14 knots. Downwind at 500 meters there was a loud rhythmic whooshing sound coming from each of the turbines that could be easily identified with their rotation. At least three or four turbines could be heard at once. The sounds were out of sync and confused. At 300 meters each turbine was very noisy from any direction. There is absolutely no way you could live next to a turbine at this distance. We stood at the base. There were many sounds. Electrical high pitched humming, the deep whoosh of the sails or rotors as they sweep past every 5 seconds, a steady swish of the rotor tips, which are cutting through the air at 240 kilometers per hour. When the wind changed, the rotors made a sound like a jet engine taking off, until they were in position again. ...

We went 1 km downwind and the loud rhythmic sounds could be heard from various turbines at different speeds, again, all out of sync with each other. A curiosity for a few minutes, but you could never live with this noise.
But never mind all that, because the PEI government hired a firm to measure the noise level at Dwayne's house and found that the noise from the turbines meets Canadian guidelines. Clearly, those guidelines are meaningless, because the evidence is that the noise is indeed intrusive and harmful.

The family of Nova Scotian Daniel d'Entremont, of Pubnico Point, similarly had to abandon their home. And they were similarly assured by government consultants that there was actually no problem.

But of course, there is a problem. But governments at every level are working to deny it to protect an industry whose dark side is beginning to catch up with it. A government that is no longer interested in protecting its people has more than lost its way. It no longer has a right to govern.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism, human rights, anarchism