Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wind Turbines and Health Disputes

In an editorial at renewablesbiz.com, Bill Opalka describes Nina Pierpont's recently published case series describing wind turbine syndrome and the consequent pushback by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations. Unfortunately, a few members of their "expert panel" have written in clear support of Pierpont's findings. Opalka also notes their statement that "for 30 years, people have been living near the more than 50,000 wind turbines operating in Europe and the more than 30,000 in North America, with few people experiencing ill effects." A correspondent sent us her comment:
Case studies vs. review

If Pierpont's work is new, then the industry's (self-published) review of earlier published work, much of it not specific to wind turbines, is not a convincing refutation. The point is that it is indeed a newly described phenomenon.

As for the statement that people have lived near wind turbines for decades with few complaints, it should also be noted that: 1) most of those turbines are much smaller and much farther from residences than those now being built in North America and the U.K. (and even so, Dutch and Swedish studies have found remarkable levels of annoyance and sleep disturbance, both of which they describe as an adverse health effect); 2) lease and neighbor easement contracts, signed in the innocence of industry reasurances, generally include gag orders against making problems public; and 3) many properties near wind turbine facilities are bought by the company because of health complaints, as, e.g., last year in Dufferin County, Ontario, with the imposition of new gag orders.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism