February 9, 2005

"Our Wind Farm Story"

Excerpt of article by Pam Foringer, Fenner, N.Y.:

'... as I sit in my kitchen and type this on my computer I hear the constant hum of the blades. It's early November, a brisk day, and of course the windows are closed so that muffles the sound a little. In the summer, with the windows open there is nothing to block out the humming or the grinding sound that the turbine makes when it is being turned. For those that haven't seen a wind tower up close, they are about the height of a 30-story building and the unit on top is the size of a small travel trailer. Because the wind constantly changes direction the blades have to be turned to catch the wind. ... imagine turning a 24-ton object perched on top of a 200-ft tower. That takes a bit of force and at times the sounds that are emitted are rather eery. Depending on the weather it can sound like a grinding noise or at times the shrieking sound of a wild animal. In the winter the noise always seems much louder, perhaps because of the starkness of the season and lack of foliage to muffle the noise. Anyway, when people tell you that the wind towers are virtually noiseless, they haven't lived a couple of football fields away from one 24/7. ... regardless of whether you see them or not, you still hear them, even when they are not operating. When the brakes stop the rotors because it's too windy, you hear a clunking and a grinding that sounds like a freight train's cars bumping together. And when it's time to start them again you can at times liken it to the roar of a jet engine.

'We have some absolutely gorgeous sunrises and sunsets in Fenner. As the sun slowly rises to the east of our house it usually bathes our bedroom wall with its rays. Unfortunately, we now get a strobe effect that can drive you absolutely crazy. It's commonly called the "flicker factor." As the sun shines through the rotors it creates a shadow pattern that you would liken to a strobe light. Because of the close proximity of 4 of the towers to our house we get this light show at various times of the day as the sun travels from east to west. Most of the time I have to close our shades to prevent this from giving me a migraine. And speaking of light shows, if this one during the day isn't enough, we get the nighttime show as well. Each tower has red blinking lights on top of the turbine so unless the shades are closed in the bedroom at night there is a constant red light blinking in perfect view as we lie in bed. We have always enjoyed watching the night sky but now as we drive toward our road what you notice immediately is a huge cluster of blinking red lights.'