Vermonters Vent Fury at the Wind Industry’s Constant Stream of Lies

Annette Smith is Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc. She is the Burlington Free Press’s 2016 Vermonter of the Year. And, having graced these pages many times, an STT Champion.

In this sharp and insightful piece, Anna unloads on the lies, treachery and deceit that makes the wind industry tick.

The winds of woe
Vermont Biz
Annette Smith
27 April 2017

Prospective neighbors of wind turbines heard all the promises: “Quiet as a library.” “Like a baby’s breath.” “The same decibel level as a refrigerator.” The more brazen wind developers claimed “you will not hear them.”

Then the four hundred and fifty foot wind towers with their bus-size nacelles and three-bladed fans were built. Sixteen in Sheffield, four on Georgia Mountain, twenty-one in Lowell. And neighbors learned the truth. Yes, you can hear them. They sound like “a jet plane that never lands,” or “sneakers in a drier,” or there is a “thump thump thump” or a “whoosh whoosh whoosh” as the blade passes the tower, causing something called amplitude modulation.

“If the noise was the same all the time, maybe we could get used to it,” say some exasperated neighbors.

Wind turbine neighbors talk about feeling a deep rhythmic rumble inside their homes. “We feel the vibrations over the TV set,” they say. That is the Low Frequency Noise.

Some farmers living five miles from the Lowell wind turbines talk about the side of the barn vibrating. The Nelsons, who had no choice but to sell their jewel of a farm in Lowell to Green Mountain Power due to their deteriorating health and quality of life, saw the windows in their house vibrate, and the vibrations were visible in a bowl of water on the kitchen counter.

Some neighbors experience the barometric pressure waves that hit their homes, turning the house into a drum, producing inaudible infrasound inside the home at higher levels than outside. “Imagine you are sitting at your kitchen table and are seasick, except you are not on a boat and nowhere near water,” says one former neighbor whose family became so sick[i] after living 3500 feet from the wind turbines that they abandoned their home of seventeen years.

Infrasound cannot be heard, but it has been scientifically proven by recent studies to be a component of the acoustical profile of wind turbines.[ii],[iii],[iv] The vortexing pressure waves do not dissipate and can go out for miles.

This complex acoustical profile of wind turbines creates a challenge for regulators and the experts they rely on. Typical noise control measures such as insulating the source or insulating the receptor do not work with an open air source and a receptor that experiences higher levels of infrasound inside the home than outside. And people have a right to have their windows open. Insulation does not work.

The unique noise produced by wind turbines does not create a problem for the wind industry, though. “There are no problems,” is their attitude. “It’s all in their heads,” they say. “The “nocebo effect” is at work,” they claim, alleging that people’s beliefs are making them sick.

They heap ridicule on neighbors who are victimized once by the wind turbines themselves, a second time by the industry which refuses to accept responsibility, and a third time by regulators who have turned a deaf ear to the hundreds of complaints filed by Vermonters since mountaintop wind turbines began operating.

A unanimous vote by the Vermont House last year affirmed that there is a problem. The legislature directed the Vermont Public Service Board to right the wrong that has occurred.

The PSB has issued a rule that sets a night-time level of 35 dBA (audible decibels). This has resulted in a shrill response from wind proponents who absurdly claim that this standard, which is the nighttime noise standard for wind turbines in Germany, would outlaw bird songs.

Here is a short course on wind turbines and decibel levels:

  • dBA is audible decibels. Nighttime background noise levels in the areas where wind turbines have been constructed are about 20 dBA. 10 dBA above background is well known to result in complaints. It is the noise standard that has been used in Massachusetts for decades. By that measure, the correct standard for wind turbines in the very quiet areas where wind turbines are being built would be 30 dBA – lower than the PSB is proposing.
  • dBC is the frequency scale for Low Frequency Noise. Denmark has an interior noise standard of 20 dBC.[v]
  • The best solution for protecting people from infrasound is distance. The PSB rule has a 10x total height setback, or 5000 feet for 500 foot tall wind turbines, the same as places in Germany. It may not be far enough, but it is a step in the right direction.

The wind developers have made big promises. Now they have promises to keep–so their neighbors don’t have miles to go before they sleep. And the Vermont Public Service Board should establish standards that reflect those promises.

[i] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174420

[ii] http://www.pacifichydro.com.au/english/our-communities/communities/cape-bridgewater-acoustic-study-report/

[iii] https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.wind-watch.org%2FShirley-LFN-infrasound.pdf

[iv] https://www.acousticecology.org/wind/winddocs/health/Ambrose%20Rand_Bruce%20McPherson%20Infrasound%20and%20Low%20Frequency%20Noise%20Study.pdf

[v] http://eng.mst.dk/topics/noise/wind-turbines/wind-turbine-regulations/

Annette Smith savours her most recent Green Mountains victory.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. I am sure that many will remember the late , great Alby Shultz MP. who said in the Australian Parliament [and posted on STT – https://stopthesethings.com/2013/06/04/alby-schultz-spells-out-the-dangers-caused-to-flyers-by-iwts/ ] 13th February 2013: “the wind turbine industry is the biggest government sponsored fraud in the history of this country.”

    Enough said, what has changed?


  2. same story as in Waterloo south Australia 2011,Just pure greed.

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. Jackie Rovensky says:

    These recent posts on STT and the overwhelming responses from people suffering at the hands of these monsters I hope are being read by those who try to explain the suffering as some kind of mental instability not connected to the existence of wind turbines but to mass hysteria.
    These people have themselves fallen into a trap set by the companies to ensure they are able to install their wares where and when they want with as little ‘red tape’ or in-depth scrutiny as possible.
    They fight like rabid dogs to stop the truth from escaping and when it tries to emerge they wheel out their trained puppets to appear in court rooms and write papers denigrating those who speak the truth, all the while having nothing to back up what they say other than some qualification that has no relevance to industrial wind turbines installed in arrays of ever increasing numbers and size and these companies keep doing the same thing time and time again no matter where in the world.
    They have an instruction book to follow and they do not deviate from it – because it has proven so successful – to-date.
    They are also supported by Government regulations that have been designed to ensure these companies cannot be challenged, they are all powerful and we the people are nothing more than a piece of rubbish to be brushed aside.
    The only way they will ever change will be when those they have deceived whether they have unwittingly fallen for the fast sell speak, or have in willing ignorance believed what they have been sold, they will hopefully soon come to realize what deviance has taken hold of their senses of right, wrong, justice and fairness.
    Then the tide will turn and people will once again be able to sleep in their homes in peace, and listen to the bird songs and the trees and bushes as a gentle breeze sways them. People will once again be able to see natures raw beauty full of creatures they thought had gone forever, but had like the people suffering left their homes until they are again safe to return to.
    To all those who are suffering, keep speaking out, keep the pressure up, keep letting people know at every opportunity what you are going through. Whenever a new installation is proposed make a submission and if possible have its context published in any media outlet you can find – online or in print, on talk-back radio it doesn’t matter as long as the truth is constantly being told.
    Those of us who are not at present personally affected speak out on behalf of your fellow human beings, speak out for those creatures that do not have a human voice or way in which to let people know of their plight – we all need to do our best to ensure there is not a moments silence for the industry to grasp hold off and garner a sense of winning from.

    • Nail head

      Meet Jackie the Hammer

      Rabid dogs…..

      Spring 2012

      About a year into our fight our son was graduating from college. He had worked at a local restaurant since he was 16, giving him a good lesson in small community cliques.

      Keeping with the natural steps of kids and friends from high school phase, facemashbook, was at a peak popularity point.

      He posted something on his fb one day receving a chastising reply from a friend:

      I put some stuff on my fb and this kid told me to SHUT UP, and do NOT TALK about it.

      Then the kid persisted for him to remove this stuff from his fbook because it is a forbidden subject! Silence ! remove it or terminate our friendship!

      Priceless reply by son: feel free to unfriend me

      They promote silence with callous and malice intent.

      Silence – Our community lease holders had contracts with lawyers set up in 2008 and we knew nothing of it until 2011. It was 2 or 3 of our previous twp board members that held some of those contracts.

      Priceless payback.

      As it turned out our community citizens group asked our son to set up our web page, then, kept it operational in the IT aspect.

      Our long time friend has acreage in the WindKill twp just north of us. We’ve helped him haul water out to his woods, where his set up is to make sure animals have water in case it’s dry. A large plastic drum works well, cut in half, even on legs. Just don’t forget to put an array of rocks to enable birds to safely use it!

      He has informed us that he now has no birds.

      The intimidation that starts immediately after the community becomes aware is fierce.

      I was and am, forbidden to go anywhere near any construction site, wind turbine, or even travel our country roads taking pictures unless my husband is with me, forbidden.

  5. Crispin Trist says:

    The wind company Acciona announced at a public meeting in Mortlake, Victoria, Australia in 2012 that they had purchased homes around their Waubra wind facility.

    The question you have to ask yourself is WHY?

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