April 7, 2005

"Malone planners hear worries about wind-power rules"

The planning board of Malone, N.Y., is working to devise local laws for industrial wind turbines, which JP Morgan Chase–owned Noble Assets wants to construct 67 of.
But things got a little nasty at the end of the 90-minute session when Noble's attorney Mark Lyons and Managing Director Chuck Hinckley questioned some of the findings Pierpont has published that claim low-frequency noise from wind turbines is a health hazard.

Lyons said he and Hinckley contacted Dr. Geoff Leventhall, the man who wrote the study Pierpont gleaned information from, "and he said the study he did had nothing to do with wind farms.

"He said, 'I can state categorically that there is no significant infrasound from current designs of wind turbines. To say that there is an infrasound problem is one of the hares which objectors to wind farms like to run.'

It is doubtful that Lyons and Hinckley contacted Leventhall. Their quote is pulled right out of an unsigned British Wind Energy Association paper, where it is attributed to "personal communication," though when and to whom is not specified. Noble had even already used the quote in a newspaper ad (Malone Telegram, February 19, 2005).

Nor is the statement backed up by actual data. Leventhall's personal opinion, or peevishness that laymen are getting involved in the issue, does not refute his research for the U.K. Department of Environmental, Farming and Rural Affairs concluding that current noise regulations do not adequately protect the public from low-frequency noise, which he shows to be a serious annoyance and stress problem.

Though Leventhall has already dismissed the issue of infrasound and low-frequency noise regarding industrial wind turbines, he has nonetheless organized a conference on wind turbine noise in general at the Hotel Stuttgarter Hof, Berlin, 17-18 October 2005. Many papers have already been offered, a few specifically about infrasound and low-frequency noise. Clearly the noise issue is still very much alive.

(The news article linked to in the title of this post contains an obvious error, unquestioningly repeating Noble's description of their plan as 67 1.5-MW turbines on about 30 acres of land. Existing and other planned facilities use 30-60 acres per megawatt, so at a minimum Noble's would take up 3,000 acres.)

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