Peoples’ Revolt: Hawaiians Join International Backlash Against Industrial Wind Power

The wind industry has never had it so tough; subsidies are being slashed, destroying their ‘business’ model and rural communities are in full-scale revolt, sick of being treated as ‘roadkill’.

No matter where the wind industry plies its subsidy-soaked trade, rural folk soon turn hostile. The German wind industry is at a standstill, not only because subsidies have been wound down, but also as a result of furious rural residents – fed up with being driven nuts in their homes, or being driven out of them, altogether by incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound – blocking projects and taking developers to court.

Now a group of Hawaiians have entered the fray, seeking to prevent the destruction of their patch of paradise.

Robert Bryce picks up the thread below.

Hawaii protests show why wind energy can’t save us from climate change
The Hill
Robert Bryce
13 November 2019

Since mid-October, some 128 people on the island of Oahu have been arrested while protesting a wind energy project being built near the small village of Kahuku. The project is planned to include eight turbines standing 568 feet high. Many of the arrests occurred after protesters blocked trucks carrying equipment to the site. The protests continued on Nov. 1, when about 30 anti-wind protesters occupied the office of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell for three hours.

Of the many land-use conflicts that have erupted during the past decade over proposed renewable-energy projects, the protests at Kahuku are remarkable both for their duration and the number of people who have been arrested. To be sure, anti-wind protests such as the one at Kahuku don’t get the type of media coverage that is given to protests involving oil pipelines. In 2014, when about 400 people were arrested outside the White House for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, the story was covered by ReutersWashington PostCNNPolitico and others. Opposition to “clean” energy doesn’t fit the dominant narrative and therefore doesn’t get the media attention given to anti-hydrocarbon protests.

Despite the lack of coverage, the protests at Kahuku are important for several reasons. First, the protests are happening in Hawaii, a state that has pledged to generate 100 percent of its electricity by 2045. Second, they are the latest example of the raging land-use conflicts over renewable-energy projects that are happening from Oahu to Iowa and Norway to Germany. Finally, the conflicts are a harbinger of more clashes to come if governments attempt to install the colossal quantities of wind turbines and solar panels that would be needed to fuel the global economy.

Indeed, despite the growing resistance to Big Wind projects, many climate scientists and activists still insist that renewables are the answer. For example, the journal BioScience recently published a study signed by more than 11,000 scientists who warned about the “climate emergency.” The study said that to secure a “sustainable future, we must change how we live.” It also advocated population control, leaving “fossil fuels in the ground” and replacing them with “low-carbon renewables.”

But leaving those fuels in the ground will be difficult when so many people in so many places don’t want to live near projects that capture energy that’s above the ground. The refusal of all-renewable advocates to consider the cartoonish land requirements of their schemes and how those plans are affecting ordinary people in rural areas is perhaps the single biggest disconnect in the current energy debate. How cartoonish? Last year, two Harvard researchers found that meeting current U.S. electricity needs with wind would require covering a land area twice the size of California with wind turbines. That’s beyond Looney Tunes.

Last week, I talked to Choon James, a Kahuku resident who was arrested last month while protesting the wind project. The people of Kahuku have “said over and over that we don’t want these turbines,” she said. “I’m all for green energy. But environmental justice has to be a priority.”

Over the past decade, I’ve talked to dozens of rural landowners and politicians in towns and villages across the country who are fighting wind projects. By my count, since 2015, 248 government entities from Maine to California have restricted or rejected wind projects.

Iowa gets about 34 percent of its electricity from wind. But last month, Madison County imposed a one-year moratorium on wind-energy development. The 2-1 vote by the board of supervisors followed months of rancorous debate over a permit that county officials granted to MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which aims to put a 52-turbine wind project in the county.

The rancor is due, in part, to concerns about the noise produced by wind turbines, which produce both audible and inaudible sound. Numerous studies have found that turbine noise can cause sleeplessness, headaches and other health problems. In August, the Madison County Board of Health approved a resolution which said there is “potential for negative” health effects associated with wind turbines and that “current setbacks are inadequate to protect the public health.” The board recommended that all future wind turbines in the county be located 1.5 miles from homes.

Last month, the Norwegian government announced it was scrapping plans for a national roll out of wind projects because of fierce local opposition. That decision came after sustained protests against the construction of a 60-megawatt wind project on Frøya Island. According to Reuters, Norwegian police were forced to intervene “after protesters pitched tents at the site and parked cars along a road built to transport turbine parts in a bid to block construction.”

Meanwhile, in Germany, according to a recent article by Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky, wind turbines have become so unpopular that their construction “has all but ground to a halt.” He reports that “people hate the way the wind towers change landscapes. There’s even a German word for it, Verspargelung, roughly translated as pollution with giant asparagus sticks.” Germany has been lauded for its plans to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050 while also closing its nuclear plants. But with the wind industry becalmed and rural opposition rising, those plans are looking increasingly far-fetched.

The evidence from Kahuku, Iowa, Germany and Norway shows that increasing numbers of people in rural areas don’t want to live in the shadow of giant wind turbines. And yet, the dominant climate strategy being put forward by promoters of the Green New Deal, as well as plans promoted by most of the Democratic presidential candidates, calls for massive increases in renewables. Those schemes seldom, if ever, acknowledge the need for nuclear energy in decarbonization efforts and they completely ignore the fact that we will need hydrocarbons for many years to come.

Put short, the proponents of all-renewable schemes are promoting the myth that there’s plenty of vacant land out there in flyover country that’s ready and waiting to be covered with renewable energy stuff. The truth is quite different and that truth is colliding with the facts — and the people — on the ground.

Mike and Tanya Lamb are among the Iowans who oppose more wind development. Noise from turbines recently built near their home in Adair County — the closest turbine is less than 2,000 feet away — is disturbing their sleep. “There’s no peace and quiet at our home anymore,” Mike Lamb told me. People think “green energy is great. But if you have to live by wind turbines, it’s not so great. It’s pure hell, is what it is.”
The Hill

Here’s some they prepared, earlier…

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. These wind companies must know the harm that infra-sound does, even as they deny it. Time someone started an “AES knew” lawsuit.

  2. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  3. A little history on AES Corporation which is installing turbines as Hawaii residents get arrested trying to stop these things. As stated on Wikipedia, “The company’s founding was 1981 by Roger Sant and Dennis Bakke. Roger Sant was initially an appointee on the Federal Energy Administration by Richard Nixon. He resigned after Enron scandal in 2002.”

    Then there’s the fact that the grid is oversupplying energy and wind turbines are turned on to use it up. What is going on here?

    Here’s a thought, more standby generation is needed with wind farms, wind kicks in, excess supply, send it to another wind farm energy landfill and get rid of it, meanwhile investors keep hearing kaching while land and view scapes are dying and their properties free of this crap get even more pricey using your money in your electric bills to pay for them.

    Is this whole renewable thing a sophisticated Enron all over again but legal because the masses are in the climate cult demanding it? Something is terribly wrong with this picture.

    There in beautiful Hawaii only 8 are going up where in the rural area of Arizona of Chevelon Butte that has some of the most fantastic long distance vistas and dark skies anywhere in the US is looking at being infected with about 170 of them covering 48 square miles! It’s being proposed by sPower which is owned by AES. That farm has to be stopped.

    If you can send letters to Coconino County and Navajo County supervisors, governor, make public comment on what AES is doing to Hawaii to inform leaders and help them make the wise decision of stopping these things.

  4. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  5. Richard Mann says:

    It is well past time to turn off turbines due to known and documented health harm. Please ask anyone who denies health harm of Industrial Wind Turbines to watch this presentation. University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario Canada.

    Title: “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”
    Speaker: Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira
    Location: University of Waterloo
    Date: September 12, 2019

    Video archive of presentation:
    https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

    Dr. Alves-Pereira’s research profile is at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mariana_Alves-pereira

    Note; there is approx 2 mins of dead air at the beginning. The talk is ~50 minutes, followed by a long Q&A

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