Wind farm noise report ‘parallels VW scandal’, claims Member of Parliament in Great Britain

October 26, 2015

Wind farm noise report ‘parallels VW scandal’, MP claims

A new report co-authored in the Westcountry exposes “two decades of deception” from the wind industry about the effect of turbines on health of near neighbours, an MP claimed.

The Independent Noise Working Group (INWG) has used its study to call for an overhaul of the way wind farms noise is measured.

The findings were presented to Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom last week in a bid to persuade the Government to introduce new standards.

Noise campaigners believe the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is now receptive to changing the existing method by which councils assess wind farms – the ETSU-R-97, which was created in 1996.

Conservative MP for Daventry Chris Heaton-Harris claims the new report draws “parallels with the Volkswagen emission scandal” where vehicles were rigged to conceal the harmful pollutants they emitted.

The Institute of Acoustics (IoA) – instrumental in developing the noise measurement policy – dismissed it served vested interests and “strongly refuted the allegations”.

One of the report’s authors, Mike Hulme – who has for ten years fought plans for nine 120m (390ft) masts at Den Brook in Devon – said a group of highly qualified acousticisans and sleep specialists had contributed to the document.

He says the true effect of amplitude modulation – where “swishing” sounds turn to a “thumping”, often at night – was being miss-calculated by a “massive amount”.

In some cases claims of five decibel (db) noise had been detected as high as 15db, he added, huge in sound terms.

“We have showed with direct testing using real world data from wind farms that neighbours are not being protected,” added Mr Hulme.

“It shows what we have been saying for years – the means of controlling wind farms is seriously flawed and the Government has been wrongly advised.”

In a joint announcement with the INWG, the group’s “political sponsor” MP Mr Heaton Harris said the report showed “how a small group of wind industry funded acousticians have taken control of the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) and its noise working groups”.

“This façade of respectability afforded by the IoA has enabled the wind industry to dominate government noise assessment policy and planning guidance by providing inaccurate and misleading scientific advice,” the MP added.

“The parallels with the Volkswagen emission scandal are quite remarkable.”

The INWG suggest these two decades of deception are now resulting in serious annoyance and far reaching risks to the health and wellbeing of large numbers of people living in the proximity of wind farms.”

The IoA said the accusations are “completely without any basis” and said parallels with the VW emissions scandal was “an appalling slur on the professionalism and integrity of our members”.

It said the Good Practice Guide for the application of ETSU-R-97 was drawn up after “a lengthy and wide-ranging consultation” during which opinions were sought from all quarters, before “recommendations were later fully endorsed by the Government”.

A spokesman added: Throughout the whole process and the subsequent drawing up of guide’s supplementary guidance notes our whole approach and that of the members involved has been based on science and best practice, and we would strongly challenge the INWG to substantiate its claims that this has resulted in the advice given to the Government being ‘inaccurate’ and ‘misleading.”

Excellent analysis of why a public policy response is needed for enforcing wind turbine noise standards: from a former Lt. Gov. of Vermont, Brian Dubie

October 7, 2015

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.
by BRIAN DUBIE on October 6, 2015 at 9:33pm

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.

What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why.

An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet). We recently learned that the developer of this proposed project plans to use Chinese made, Gold Wind 2.5mw turbines. The Chinese manufacturer Gold Wind http://www.goldwindamerica.comdoes not even list the noise rating of this turbines. Hiding a noise rating from the public is bad omen for proper siting for an industrial wind turbine. Let’s assume that the developer will use a GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines. GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise. Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther. Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Turbine Noise: An independent assessment of sound quality, by Rand Acoustics

September 20, 2015

The Freedom wind facility turbines started turning in the fall of 2008 and noise measurements from this site could have been used for reference for subsequent permitting applications at similar sites. The Vinalhaven permit noise analysis was submitted in April 2009, after the Freedom facility became operational. The results of our noise measurements and subsequent analysis raises this question: was the opportunity for evaluating the Freedom wind turbine sound emissions overlooked during the Vinalhaven application process?

From Friends of Maine Mountains: 20 Facts About Wind Power … Why “Spin, Baby, Spin” Is Nonsense

September 20, 2015

Friends of Maine’s Mountains  284 Main St., Ste. 200  Wilton, ME  04294
The Facts about Wind Energy Development in Maine

(Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization with IRS 501(c)3 status. Visit us on-line at or e-mail to

“If CO2 is the problem, wind power is not the solution.”

“EVERY operating, multi-turbine, wind facility in Maine that has been sited near people has significant, unresolved disputes over noise and shadow flicker. Continuing to site wind turbines using the same standards that have caused conflict assures that the problems will grow in number.”

When asked if they think wind-generated electricity is good, affordable, green, useful, and necessary most people will say ”Yes, of course.” But the fact is, none of these things have ever been proven. Wind- generated electricity has been effectively shielded from scrutiny by marketing and lobbying, with no obligation to verify industry claims. Wind-generated electricity has high impact and low benefit to Maine’s economy and environment. Following are 20 truths the wind industry does not want you to know, 20 reasons to take a closer look.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Mile Setback From Wind Turbines! Maine Communities Are Waking Up To Turbine Noise

September 19, 2015

Examples of poorly sited wind turbines too close to neighbors like Vinalhaven and Mars Hill, Maine communities are fighting back: “The residents of Fort Fairfield asked the Town Council to develop a set of rules for wind energy development that would protect the public health, safety and welfare of the town’s citizens,” Fort Fairfield Town Manager James Risner said in a press release issued after the vote. “The Wind Energy Technical Review Committee took its duties seriously, dug deep into the matter, and delivered its recommendations to the council in the form of this ordinance.” 

“… My thought is that Augusta doesn’t care about us. The only place on the earth that cares about Fort Fairfield is Fort Fairfield.” 

Fort Fairfield passes wind ordinance with one-mile setback

By Anthony Brino, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 18, 2015, at 11:26 a.m.
FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — After a recent moratorium and almost a decade of informal proposals for wind turbines, the Fort Fairfield Town Council approved a new wind ordinance Wednesday with a one-mile setback from nonparticipating landowners, noise abatements and viewshed protections.

Some residents cheered the action while supporters of wind power decried it as a de facto ban on development of such renewable energy projects.

“We’ve tried to impress that this [ordinance] is not pro- or anti-wind development,” said councilor John Herold, a member of the 11-person committee that wrote the ordinance. “If we don’t have this ordinance, we revert to the state standards. My thought is that Augusta doesn’t care about us. The only place on the earth that cares about Fort Fairfield is Fort Fairfield.” Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Power: Not Even Close to a Panacea for Energy Problems But It Sure Sucks Up A Lot Of Oxygen

September 16, 2015

What New England’s foolhardy, clean energy policy looks like
The Oakfield Wind Project is now complete. A total of 48 turbines have been erected and are now producing electricity for SunEdison Inc.
By Chris O’Neil, Special to the Bangor Daily News
Posted Sept. 14, 2015, at 1:32 p.m.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 8, the New England electricity grid system operator (ISO-NE) had a terrible day. What played out Tuesday (and dozens of other days, especially in summer and winter) is a glaring example of our feel-good energy policies leading to catastrophic results. Read the rest of this entry »

Newsweek: What’s the true cost of wind power?

April 14, 2015

Newsweek Magazine: OPINION
What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?

As consumers, we pay for electricity twice: once through our monthly electricity bill and a second time through taxes that finance massive subsidies for inefficient wind and other energy producers.

Most cost estimates for wind power disregard the heavy burden of these subsidies on U.S. taxpayers. But if Americans realized the full cost of generating energy from wind power, they would be less willing to foot the bill—because it’s more than most people think.

Over the past 35 years, wind energy—which supplies just 2 percent of U.S. electricity—has received $30 billion in federal subsidies and grants. These subsidies shield people from the uncomfortable truth of just how much wind power actually costs and transfer money from average taxpayers to wealthy wind farm owners, many of which are units of foreign companies.

Proponents tend to claim it costs as little as $59 to generate a megawatt-hour of electricity from wind. In reality, the true price tag is more than two and a half times that. Read the rest of this entry »

How the wind power lobby gets its way in the Maine Legislature

January 7, 2015

LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature

The industrial wind lobby was not happy.

Its plans to keep building hundreds of wind turbines in rural Maine were threatened by the LePage administration.

During the summer of 2013, the Department of Environmental Protection, run by a LePage appointee, had made things harder for wind developers by putting more requirements into permit applications.

The wind lobby saw the new requirements as illegal and obstructionist from an administration hostile to wind power. And they believed the red tape would slow down — even kill — the expansion plans of their multi-million-dollar industry.

They needed help and by the summer of 2013, they knew where to go: to their friend and supporter Justin Alfond, the president of the Maine Senate. Read the rest of this entry »

21 peer reviewed articles on health and industrial wind turbines

January 5, 2015

Nieuwerust Noise & Bird Watch

Vermont Today: wind turbine neighbors re-settled away from turbine noise

January 3, 2015

The Therrien family outside their former Sheffield home in 2013.
Photo: John Dillon / VPR Photo
Published December 28, 2014
‘This family was out of time’: Sheffield family resettled with help
By Amy ASH Nixon

Luann and Steve Therrien had a busier Christmas than most people this year — and maybe a better one.

After living in the shadow of the 16 industrial turbines at the Sheffield wind site near their modest year-round home, a former camp that has been in Steve’s family since the 1970s, the family has been relocated with help from supporters of the anti-wind cause to a mobile home in Derby.

Over the last three years since the turbines went online, the Therriens — the poster family for the wind movement — say they have been feeling sicker. Read the rest of this entry »

From the Economist: Sun, Wind and Drain

July 28, 2014

Free exchange
Sun, wind and drain

As the years go by, bumper sticker (“spin, baby, spin”) enthusiasts of wind power must be scratching their heads about a Vinalhaven turbine project that hasn’t lowered electricity costs. One would hope that reasonable people would consider reasonable evidence like comparing electricity bills. But beyond the bills, even if you don’t mind paying more for wind power, shouldn’t you care whether wind power is reducing carbon emissions or whether supporting wind power is ever going to amount to a solution to the energy crisis?

From the point of view of the neighbors of the wind turbines — who have been objecting for years to the noise exceeding state limits — it is upsetting (putting it mildly) that benefits of wind power as promised don’t exist. Real property, natural quiet and health have been sacrificed for other people’s enthusiasms. Those enthusiasms might be self-satisfying but they don’t have much to do with reality as the Economist points out in the following excellent report:


Wind and solar power are even more expensive than is commonly thought

The Economist, Jul 26th 2014 | From the print edition

SUBSIDIES for renewable energy are one of the most contested areas of public policy. Billions are spent nursing the infant solar- and wind-power industries in the hope that they will one day undercut fossil fuels and drastically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being put into the atmosphere. The idea seems to be working. Photovoltaic panels have halved in price since 2008 and the capital cost of a solar-power plant—of which panels account for slightly under half—fell by 22% in 2010-13. In a few sunny places, solar power is providing electricity to the grid as cheaply as conventional coal- or gas-fired power plants.

But whereas the cost of a solar panel is easy to calculate, the cost of electricity is harder to assess. It depends not only on the fuel used, but also on the cost of capital (power plants take years to build and last for decades), how much of the time a plant operates, and whether it generates power at times of peak demand. To take account of all this, economists use “levelised costs”—the net present value of all costs (capital and operating) of a generating unit over its life cycle, divided by the number of megawatt-hours of electricity it is expected to supply.

The trouble, as Paul Joskow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has pointed out, is that levelised costs do not take account of the costs of intermittency.* Wind power is not generated on a calm day, nor solar power at night, so conventional power plants must be kept on standby—but are not included in the levelised cost of renewables. Electricity demand also varies during the day in ways that the supply from wind and solar generation may not match, so even if renewable forms of energy have the same levelised cost as conventional ones, the value of the power they produce may be lower. In short, levelised costs are poor at comparing different forms of power generation. Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Blows Good and Bad on Vinalhaven

July 23, 2014

“If these turbines can’t be run in compliance during all conditions, then they need to be turned down… We hope the Supreme (Judicial) Court decision will point in that direction. … It’s hard for people to acknowledge that a mistake was made.”

Wind blows good and bad on Vinalhaven
Five years on, a landmark project generates power and frustration

BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER | @TuxTurkel | 207-791-6462
VINALHAVEN — Sally and David Wylie are having an addition built onto their island vacation home. A patio door admits views of the woods and water, but the sunny, southern exposure has no windows. That south wall is a foot thick, and stuffed with sound-deadening insulation.

“On a bad day, we can get away from it,” David Wylie said. The Wylies are creating an acoustic cocoon for their new bedroom to get away from the “whomp, whomp, whomp,” the airplane-like drone and the low-frequency resonation that they experience periodically from the three massive wind turbines that are clearly visible from their deck.

Sally and David Wylie of Vinalhaven are building an addition to their home with sound-deadening walls to escape the “whomp, whomp, whomp” generated by turbines at the Fox Islands Wind Project.

“We moved out here for the peace and quiet,” Sally Wylie said. “We didn’t want any of this and we’re very sad.”

Five years ago this November, the residents of Vinalhaven and North Haven became part of an alternative energy experiment that drew national attention. Burdened by high electric rates, they erected New England’s largest coastal wind project, a proud achievement for a small island community, 12 miles out to sea from Rockland.

Today, the Fox Islands Wind Project is the tallest structure in Penobscot Bay. Standing higher than a football field is long, 388 feet from ground to blade tip, the turbines are visible from miles away.

For people who glimpse them on the horizon, for passengers on the ferry between Rockland and Vinalhaven, for neighbors who live in their shadows, the turbines have become a powerful symbol.

But a symbol of what? Read the rest of this entry »

Bangor Daily News gets it wrong on Vinalhaven electricity rates

May 12, 2014

The following was sent to the Bangor Daily News, by Fox Islands Wind Neighbors after the recent news report that included data on FIEC rates. Our chart is based on the exact numbers provided to all ratepayers by FIEC. If you think the wind turbines are saving you money, check the numbers: the numbers don’t lie.

Image 2

“As neighbors fighting the wind turbine noise on Vinalhaven, we have paid close attention and tried to understand the ways in which ratepayers on the island are being misled about the trend in rates upward.

Often, media reports on the Vinalhaven situation — and wind power in Maine as a general matter — fail to get to the underlying economic / financial data. This is a difficult analysis, I know from experience, but it appears to us that you simply took the Vinalhaven electric utility’s word on the matter of the 5 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s a number, by the way, that taken as a single data point would be impressive to the folks who are lending FIEC the money, but it is not indicative of the rates for the year, and itself is not even accurate (the actual January energy rate was 5.7₵/kwh – closer to 6₵ than the 5₵ stated).

In the article you also say: “Generally, the price for customers is 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, Farrington said.” That’s certainly better than saying we all paid 5₵/kwh, but the real numbers say even the 11₵/kwh is inaccurate: the actual average energy rate for the last 12 months was 11.5₵/kwh, and for the 2013 year was 11.8₵/kwh, both more than the 11₵/kwh you quote Mr. Farrington as saying.

Because the electric utility has been fairly cagey about what it is charging ratepayers, I would be suspicious about the statement you make “The cooperative was able to sell electricity to ISO for 14 cents per kilowatt-hour during the past winter”. I would be curious if you actually saw the purchase agreement or evidence where ISO/NE paid 14 cents per kilowatt hour for the winter.
This is very tough information for citizens to ferret out.

Still, from our point of view, where there is smoke there is fire and with the Vinalhaven electric utility there is plenty of smoke. We hope you can reassure us that BDN reviewed every data point from its original source — not just one data point — or can explain why.

Robert Bryce testifies before US Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee

May 7, 2014

US wind turbines are killing wildlife … FWS have documented dozens of endangered species kills … “to date the FWS have brought only one prosecution against the wind industry for violating the Endangered Species Act” … “wind turbines are climate-change scarecrows” … “let’s do the math” …

NY TIMES: Vinalhaven neighbors win court round over wind turbine noise

April 18, 2014

A legal petition aimed at reinstating a state rule for limiting noise at a controversial wind farm in Maine can proceed, a judge ruled on Friday, denying a motion from the farm’s developer, Fox Islands Wind, for dismissal.

Since the farm – three 1.5 megawatt turbines – began operating on the island of Vinalhaven in late 2009, neighbors have complained about the noise from its 123-foot spinning blades, especially at night. After receiving many complaints, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection found in 2010 that the installation had been too noisy on two occasions. In 2011, Fox Islands Wind submitted a new operating procedure to remedy those infractions.

The state agency then drafted a new set of rules, a condition compliance order, that accepted the wind company’s proposal but added a requirement that it actively show it was complying during certain testing periods and to stop operating if it was not.

Then last June, according to Friday’s ruling, Patricia Aho, a deputy environmental commissioner and former lobbyist for the power company’s law firm, took over as acting environmental commissioner. She finalized the new regulations but removed the provision that Fox Islands actively prove its compliance.

The next month, the group of neighbors filed their petition to review that order, saying that it was “politically motivated, arbitrary and capricious, contrary to law, unsupported by substantial evidence, and the product of an abuse of discretion,” Judge Michaela Murphy of Kennebec County Superior Court noted in Friday’s ruling.

The power company then filed a motion to dismiss the petition, saying that the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter. But Judge Murphy found that it did.

Whether or not Ms. Aho’s decision ultimately holds up, she said, its legality or lack thereof “must be argued and considered at a later stage of these proceedings.”

Utility buys out Vermont Wind Turbine Neighbors: Nelsons called “heroes”

April 15, 2014

Wind Opponents Call The Nelsons Heroes, Predict More Buyouts
Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Caledonian Record, Vermont

Wind opponents from across Vermont reacted to the settlement between Green Mountain Power and Don and Shirley Nelson of Lowell on Monday, calling them heroes.

They said they hope the buyout could spur more as the state begins to realize that industrial wind projects have an impact on human neighbors and they vowed to continue fighting them.

Luann Therrien of Sheffield, who also lives near industrial wind turbines, said she cried for joy when she heard the news that the Nelsons had struck a deal and would be paid for their property. Read the rest of this entry »

Vinalhaven wind turbine neighbors on Vermont counterparts: this sounds familiar

April 2, 2014

COMMENTARY MAR. 12, 2014, 9:40 PM

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Melodie McLane, who is a neighbor of the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project (VT). Read the rest of this entry »

How Does Wind Turbine Noise Affect People?

April 2, 2014

“Avoid wind turbines. Live near your senator” is how one Vinalhaven wind turbine neighbor signs his email correspondence. It is an ironic but accurate point: there is not a single elected official on Vinalhaven or in the state of Maine who lives near or voted for wind turbines to be placed near their homes.

The wind turbine industry is desperately anxious to avoid the costs of noise. As time goes by, data accumulates in support of the key contention by wind turbine neighbors: that the A weighted measurement scale advocated by industry misses the key acoustical component of dramatic health impacts. Read the following peer reviewed report in “Acoustics Today” to understand why.

View this document on Scribd

MPBN: Vinalhaven Plaintiffs Applaud Judge’s Ruling In Their Favor On Wind Turbine Noise Violations

March 18, 2014

Plaintiffs in Vinalhaven Wind Case Applaud Judge’s Ruling
03/14/2014 Reported By: Susan Sharon

Vinalhaven Plaintiffs Applaud Judge’s Ruling
Originally Aired: 3/14/2014 5:30 PMListen

The general manager for a Vinalhaven utility says he and his attorneys are weighing all their options after a Superior Court judge sided this week with plaintiffs in a wind turbine noise complaint case on the Maine island. Judge Michaela Murphy’s decision overturns a 2011 ruling from the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection that the judge said “had no rational basis.” Susan Sharon has more.

The excessive noise complaints were brought by a group of residents on Vinahaven who live near three 1.5-megawatt wind turbines on the island. DEP staff initially recommended that Fox Islands Wind take specific steps to reduce noise from its turbines and undertake monitoring. Read the rest of this entry »

Vinalhaven Electric Rates: They Have Gone Up Since Wind Turbines Were Turned On

March 14, 2014

Vinalhaven Total Electric Rates vs. CMP Energy Rates 2005 to 2013
Source: Fox Islands Electric Co-op (FIEC) Bills on the island and the CMP website


View this document on Scribd

Until Nov. 2009 when the Industrial Wind Turbines were installed, FIEC rates tracked CMP rates as they went up and down. Toward the end of 2008 rates were dropping fast due to downward pressure from the falling price of natural gas.

After the FIW wind turbines were installed, CMP rates stayed low while FIEC rates rose steadily.

The energy rate (without the Transmission & Delivery costs) went from 5.5₵/kwh in Nov. 2009 doubling to over 12.7₵/kwh in Dec. 2013. Transmission and Delivery rates have not changed at 12.9₵/kwh.

Energy rates (without T&D) have more than doubled (up 111%) and Total rates (energy + T&D) are up 32% since Nov. 2009.

Bangor Daily News: Judge chastises Maine DEP commissioner in overturning Vinalhaven wind power decree

March 14, 2014

Judge chastises Maine DEP commissioner in overturning Vinalhaven wind power decree
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted March 14, 2014, at 8:15 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Superior Court judge has overturned a decision by the commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection concerning noise complaints against a Vinalhaven wind power project, saying the agency head’s action had no rational basis.

Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy’s ruling, issued Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court, criticized DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho for participating in the department’s handling of the Fox Islands Winds case.

Aho had worked for Pierce Atwood LLC before being appointed deputy DEP commissioner and then acting commissioner on June 20, 2011. Pierce Atwood represents Fox Islands Wind. She overrode the DEP staff and an outside consultant’s recommendation 10 days after she became acting commissioner. Read the rest of this entry »

Maine Superior Court rules at last: for Fox Island Wind Neighbors and against state agency Maine DEP charged with enforcing wind turbine noise standards

March 13, 2014

After three years of litigation, a Maine Superior Court decision has finally found in favor of wind turbine neighbors complaining about excessive noise from three nearby 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbines. Although citizens across the United States living near wind turbines are complaining — including lawsuits against wind turbine operators — this is the first court case where a state judge has found against a state agency charged with enforcement; the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The judge’s decision follows the key claim of the plaintiffs who proved that FIW (Fox Islands Wind) was not complying with the State’s noise limits and that the DEP failed to enforce against the turbine operator or to require compliance. The immediate impact of the court decision is to remand to the state agency and work with neighbors to find an equitable way to measure and enforce against ongoing noise violations.

For years Fox Islands Wind Neighbors has felt betrayed by the DEP for not protecting them by enforcing against excessive wind turbine noise. Falling back on their own resources, neighbors were forced to do noise measurements to state regulatory specifications — often in extraordinary weather conditions — , then engage in a protracted administrative process to clarify for state regulators the deficiencies of antiquated rules; rules never designed to protect people from wind turbine noise. Throughout the lawsuit, the wind turbine operator, FIW (Fox Islands Wind LLC), stonewalled both the state and the neighbors. It failed to produce data and information about the noise from the turbines, thumbing its nose at due process, and when the neighbors proved at their own expense that violations were occurring, the wind turbine operator flexed political muscle to operate the turbines its own way.

The Vinalhaven wind turbines are permitted to operate at 45dbA at night time. In other parts of Maine, after complaints by neighbors and a public hearing process by the state of Maine, noise levels are 42dbA.

This decision is an important step in the neighbors’ long battle that began in late 2009 when the wind project commenced, threatening health and depressing property values. But it is hardly the last word. Fox Islands Electric Coop informed ratepayers (July 2013) that it has already spent more than $800,000 on behalf of the wind turbine operator’s legal troubles with the state.

The judge’s order also notes that that Patricia Aho, who worked for FIW’s law firm, Pierce Atwood, LLC previous to her appointment as Maine DEP commissioner, “… created an enormous amount of mistrust by the Neighbors as to whether their grievances can receive fair treatment by the Commissioner and the Department… Commissioner Aho’s continuing participation in deciding upon operational and complaint protocols could be viewed as antithetical to the common notions of impartiality which Maine citizens understandably expect from decision makers in Maine agencies.”

The wind industry has retreated from poorly sited turbine locations like those on Vinalhaven where wind shear and turbine placement present significantly more noise than predicted in the planning phase of the project. For example, Harvard Business School’s George Baker — former president of FIW and chief promoter of the project — assured neighbors and Maine DEP during initial permitting that turbine noise would be masked by wind rustling leaves. Baker, former Vice President of Renewable Energy for the Island Institute of Rockland, Maine, both minimized and ignored consultants who had warned of likely noise problems. In one Harvard Business School study of the project, Baker took pride in speeding the Vinalhaven project past likely objectors. Not one director of Fox Islands Electric Coop, Fox Islands Wind, or George Baker live within earshot of the Vinalhaven wind turbines.

Around the world communities impacted by wind turbine noise are pleading for lower noise thresholds and, also, for improved acoustic metrics compared to poor standards in effect, today. Fox Islands Wind Neighbors look forward to working with the DEP to formulate protocols that will assure compliance by FIW in the future.

View this document on Scribd

Portland Press Herald: Maine DEP faces court’s ire over Vinalhaven wind turbine noise

March 13, 2014

Judge voids ruling by Maine’s Aho in wind farm case, says it ‘had no rational basis’
Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy overturns Patricia Aho’s decisions in a Vinalhaven case, saying her involvement ‘directly benefited a client of her former employer.’

By Colin Woodard
Staff Writer

Posted: March 13
Updated: Today at 12:22 AM

The court decision adds to criticism that the actions of Patricia Aho, Maine’s environmental chief, frequently benefit her former employer’s clients.

By Colin Woodard
Staff Writer

Patricia Aho, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, is the target of renewed criticism over regulatory action that benefited clients of her previous employer, the Pierce Atwood law firm, where she was a longtime industrial lobbyist.

A spokeswoman says some actions by DEP chief Patricia Aho, above, are bound to help ex-clients. 2013 Press Herald file/Carl D. Walsh

Maine Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy


This time, the incoming fire is from a state judge.

In a ruling issued Monday, Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy overturned a controversial decision that Aho made in June 2011 involving noise violations at a wind farm in Vinalhaven, saying there was “no rational basis or relevant evidence” to support it.

Aho’s decision, which reversed the recommendations of the DEP staff and the state Attorney General’s Office, was the exact outcome sought by Fox Island Wind, which was represented by Pierce Atwood, the state’s largest law firm, where Aho had worked until earlier that year.

Instead of requiring disclosure of detailed monitoring information to enable the staff to develop appropriate protocols, Aho announced that the company would have to address only the exact conditions that existed on the night of July 17-18, 2011, when a documented noise violation had occurred. The DEP did not explain its decision, either publicly or in records the court reviewed. Read the rest of this entry »

23 Texas wind farm hosts sue over noise, nuisance

January 30, 2014

This is a very encouraging development for the besieged neighbors of the Vinalhaven wind turbines …

In what may be an unprecedented move, 23 Texans who host wind turbines on their property have filed suit against two different wind farm developers, claiming that companies “carelessly and negligently failed to adequately disclose the true nature and effects that the wind turbines would have on the community, including the plaintiffs’ homes.”

The plaintiffs host hundreds of turbines on projects developed by Duke Energy and E.ON, and as a Duke spokesman noted, they did consent to the placement of the turbines. However, the lawsuit stresses that the companies told residents the turbines “would not be noisy, would not adversely impact neighboring houses and there would not be any potential health risk.”

This court challenge stands apart from most previous ones … Read the rest of this entry »

Governor LePage is Right: wind farm subsidies are a poor use of government funding

January 28, 2014

Portland Press Herald: Maine Voices
“LePage is right – wind farm subsidies are poor use of government funding
Despite their hype, the massive projects cut neither fossil fuel use nor greenhouse gas emissions”

Mike Bond of Winthrop is an environmental activist and a renewable energy advocate.

WINTHROP — As a lifelong Democrat, environmental activist and renewable energy advocate, I commend Gov. LePage’s recent criticisms of the huge taxpayer-funded industrial wind power scam, which, unless it is stopped, will ruin Maine.

Though initially a proponent of industrial wind, I’ve learned it’s a catastrophe on every level – environmental, fiscal, social and economic.

And now with Maine’s southern neighbors halting industrial wind in their states, they’re paying to build thousands of turbines in Maine, to devastate every magnificent Maine ridge, pinnacle and mountain with howling machines more than 50 stories high, some so tall they’ll be the third-tallest structures in New England.

Industrial wind projects have been clearly proven to slaughter millions of birds and bats, destroy scenic beauty, lower property values and tourism, sicken people and drive them from their homes, increase erosion and raise electric rates. But they make billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies for the investment banks that develop them.

Yet the biggest trouble with industrial wind is it doesn’t lower greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use. Not one molecule. The reason … Read the rest of this entry »

Wind turbine health woes

January 25, 2014

A Falmouth veteran battles wind turbines — and health woes
BOSTON GLOBE, Jan. 24, 2014

FALMOUTH — Barry Funfar is a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran who spent most of his waking moments since retirement a decade ago working with the hundreds of flowers and trees he planted around the Colonial-style house that he built. Gardening was his exercise, therapy, and passion, and his doctors agreed it was beneficial to combat his post traumatic stress disorder.

A Marine, Funfar flew 127 combat missions as a door gunner on Huey helicopters and was awarded seven Air Medals for meritorious service.

Years later, he is battling another enemy: two wind turbines near his home, which he says have ended his gardening, caused him unremitting health problems, and exacerbated the PTSD that has plagued him for decades. Read the rest of this entry »

Vt: Noise, property values fall near wind turbines

January 21, 2014

“That turbine noise and the infrasound has made them so sick they can’t work. They’re on anti-depressants. They’re on sleeping medications. Steve is on motion sickness pills. He often wakes up in the morning throwing up,” said Smith.Noise, property values factor in wind forum discussion.”

The Manchester (VT) Journal
Brandon Canevari – Staff Writer
POSTED: 01/20/2014 03:18:16 PM EST

GRAFTON – About 60 people gathered at the White Church in Grafton for the second in a series of three wind forums, this one focusing largely on the depreciation of the value of properties located near wind projects.

The first forum – which was held last November at the United Church of Christ in Townshend – focused largely on the noise impacts wind projects have had in some nearby areas. One of those was the 19 turbine Hoosac wind project in the town of Florida, Vt. built by Iberdrola Renewables – a company headquartered in Spain – and another was the 24 turbine project built by Iberdrola in Groton, N.H.

Iberdrola Renewables built two test towers (MET towers) in Windham and one in Grafton on land owned by the New Hampshire based Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, which some believe is a precursor to an application for a large scale wind development project in Windham County.

According to a Power Point presentation put together by Mike McCann the owner of McCann Appraisal, LLC, there are 951 dwellings within three miles of the potential tower sites – 500 of which are within 2 miles of the potential site – in the towns of Andover, Athens, Chester, Grafton, Jamaica, Londonderry, Townshend and Windham. Read the rest of this entry »

January 4, 2014

Let the wind subsidy blow away
Congress shouldn’t renew corporate welfare to this politically favored industry
(Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune / August 17, 2010)

January 5, 2014

In the early 1990s, with dreams of cheap and clean wind energy ascendant, Congress lavished a generous subsidy on power from the tall, twirling turbines. The wind industry responded, and since then has increased its installed generating capacity 30-fold.

For 20-plus years the subsidy has been intermittent, although not as unreliable as the winds that drive the turbines. The most recent authorization, a 2013 extension tucked into the federal budget deal that avoided the so-called fiscal cliff, expired Dec. 31. Applause, please, for our do-little Congress: What’s known as the wind production tax credit has long outlived any public policy usefulness. Lawmakers now being urged by industry lobbyists to renew the subsidy retroactively instead should let it blow away. Read the rest of this entry »

2013 Year-End Update

December 27, 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, we offer the following update on litigation involving Fox Island Wind Neighbors, Maine DEP and Fox Island Wind. In mid July, oral arguments were heard in Maine Superior Court, almost three years after the original lawsuit was filed by the neighbors.

After the appearance in Maine Superior Court, the neighbors offered to participate in mediation to resolve the lawsuit against Maine DEP for failing to enforce against turbine noise violations by the wind turbine operator, Fox Island Wind.

Finally, after considerable time and effort, Maine DEP and Fox Islands Wind rejected our request for transparent, easily-accessible data from the wind turbines.

The litigation is back before Maine Superior Court. We hope for a decision by the Court by spring time.

We have learned wherever wind turbines are located too close to people and private property, there are complaints by neighbors exactly like ours. We have also learned that some communities are willing to stand behind neighbors who are afflicted.

The neighbors are exploring additional legal options to protect property values, quality of life and health from noise impacts of the turbines.

Wishing you a peaceful Holiday Season …

Public letter regarding Maine Superior Court action and Fox Islands Wind Neighbors

December 11, 2013

(This post originally published April 4th with updates, since) It is now three four years since the three 1.5 megawatt industrial wind turbines changed the lives of nearby Vinalhaven residents. In its 2012 December newsletter, the wind turbine operator Fox Islands Wind and Fox Islands Electric Cooperative prepared ratepayers for an appeal of any decision by Maine Superior Court in the favor of neighbors. Oral arguments took place in Augusta in July 2013.  Following the Court date, the parties agreed to attempt mediation. During mediation, consideration of the case by the Court was suspended. Now that the mediation failed, the Court is taking up the case again.

The final reply brief to the Court details what Fox Islands Wind Neighbors want:

1) That the Maine Department of Environmental Protection be directed … Read the rest of this entry »

Kill Eagles To Save Eagles: Wind Power Advocates… by Robert Bryce

December 9, 2013

NOTE: Horace Hildreth, the sole investor of Fox Island Wind, is also a longtime board member of Maine Audubon. Did the wind turbine company willingly comply with ALL federal regulations for an eagle “taking”? Because if it didn’t, wouldn’t it be a violation of its own mission for Maine Audubon to include on its board an investor who profits from exploiting the Endangered Species Act?


DECEMBER 9, 2013 4:00 AM
‘Green’ Energy Kills Eagles
By Robert Bryce

We have to kill eagles in order to save them.

That’s now the official policy of the U.S. Interior Department. On Friday, the agency announced that it would grant some wind-energy companies permits that will allow them to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty.

The move is an unprecedented gift to the wind-energy industry, which has been lobbying for the 30-year permit for several years. Shortly after the deal was announced, the wind-energy lobby issued a statement that would make George Orwell proud. An official with the American Wind Energy Association declared that this “is not a program to kill eagles.” It is, he claimed, “about conservation.”

Well then. We can now rest easy. Big Wind is saving eagles by getting permits to kill them. Read the rest of this entry »

Good news for Falmouth: Judge orders limited use of wind turbines

November 22, 2013

Judge orders limited use of Falmouth wind turbines
AP / November 22, 2013

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) — The town of Falmouth was ordered by a judge on Friday to limit the hours two town-owned wind turbines operate after neighbors blamed them for a series of health problems.

Effective immediately, the energy-generating turbines at the Cape Cod town’s wastewater treatment facility are only allowed to operate from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on every day of the week except Sunday, and are not allowed to operate at all on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Superior Court Judge Christopher Muse wrote in the decision. Read the rest of this entry »

Sound familiar? Wind turbine noise on Cape Cod makes national news

October 21, 2013

‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ Blamed for Mysterious Symptoms in Cape Cod Town
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES | Good Morning America – 17 minutes ago

Good Morning America – ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ Blamed for Mysterious Symptoms in Cape Cod Town (ABC News)

Sue Hobart, a bridal florist from Massachusetts, couldn’t understand why she suddenly developed headaches, ringing in her ears, insomnia and dizziness to the point of falling “flat on my face” in the driveway.

“I thought I was just getting older and tired,” said the 57-year-old from Falmouth.

Months earlier, in the summer of 2010, three wind turbines had been erected in her town, one of which runs around the clock, 1,600 feet from her home. Read the rest of this entry »

“Never Stops, Never Stops. Headache. Help.”

September 22, 2013

New York Magazine, Sept 15, 2013. “Some people living in the shadows of wind turbines say they’re making them sick. Almost as upsetting: Their neighbors don’t feel a thing.”

For neighbors of Vinalhaven wind turbines, these are true words. The recent feature story in New York Magazine just scratches the surface. The NY Mag story ends with the writer fleeing, “I was a little relieved to get away.” For nearby property owners on Vinalhaven, there is no getting away; either from the noise or the costs inflicted through no fault of their own. How would you like to live in a sacrifice zone?

“On May 4, 2012, at around 8:30 a.m., air-traffic controller Mark J. Cool put two planes on a collision course over Cape Cod. “Runway 14” is what Cool heard the Coast Guard controller say when he okayed a Falcon jet for takeoff from the airport. “Runway 23” is what the controller actually said. That set the jet directly in the flight path of a twin-prop Cool had just released from another airport. On his radar display, two green splats lurched ever closer as he made a series of frantic radio contacts to set them on a corrected course. Cool’s supervisor and colleagues crowded behind him in a crescent of worry. The planes came within two thirds of a mile and 500 feet of altitude of one another. A few seconds later, they would have crashed.

Cool was immediately taken off duty, and before he could return to the boards, his supervisors flew in a guy from California to counsel him in sleep and stress management.

The cause of his near-fatal mistake, Cool insists, was the 40-story wind turbine a third of a mile behind his home in Falmouth, Massachusetts. For two years, he had been suffering from insomnia and headaches, which left him fatigued, distracted, and stressed out. It wasn’t the turbine’s noise that woke him or made his head hurt; he believes some intangible mechanism was at work, an invisible and inaudible wind turbulence. And it was all he could talk about… Read the rest of this entry »

Wind Turbines Cause Property Values to Plummet

September 17, 2013

Studies Show Land-Based Wind Turbines Cause Property Values to Plummet; Wind Wise Massachusetts Claims Study Showing Otherwise is Misleading
By Wind Wise Massachusetts
Published: Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 – 5:23 am

FALMOUTH, Mass., Sept. 16, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A national study that claims there is “no statistical evidence” that real estate prices near wind turbines are negatively impacted is misleading because it lumps homes close to the turbines with those miles away, according to Wind Wise Massachusetts (WWMA). Read the rest of this entry »

Watch This!

September 1, 2013

“Too Close”: New Fairhaven (MA) documentary echoes Vinalhaven …

The answer: why are Vinalhaven electric rates so high?

June 8, 2013

Why are Fox Island Electric Cooperative’s electric energy rates so high compared with what we were promised? Back in 2008 at the Island Institute’s Sustainable Living Conference, Mr. George Baker, CEO of Fox Islands Wind, said, “If electricity prices go down and stay down, we might kick ourselves for doing this project.” Read the rest of this entry »

Fox Islands Wind Neighbors reply brief in Maine Superior Court

April 4, 2013

The reply brief, filed in Maine Superior Court, rebuts arguments by FIW and the State of Maine.

View this document on Scribd

“How Much Proof Do We Need?” by Malcolm Gladwell

February 25, 2013

Those who are skeptical about the science of noise impacts from industrial wind turbines might watch and listen to this lecture. The desire for proof as an excuse not to do anything …

Read the rest of this entry »

Full brief submitted by Fox Islands Wind Neighbors to Maine Superior Court

January 28, 2013

Last week, attorney Rufus Brown filed a brief on behalf of aggrieved neighbors of the Vinalhaven (ME) wind turbines with Maine Superior Court. The filing represents a summation of the case related to noise from the turbines that has turned the lives of nearby residents upside down.

The full brief is available, here:
Petitioners’ Rule 80C Brief (as filed)

For additional information and background, click this link.

In its December 2012 newsletter to ratepayers, FIW and Fox Islands Electric Cooperative prepared ratepayers … Read the rest of this entry »

James Lovelock, founder of Gaia and Green movement, decries industrial wind turbines

January 28, 2013

To all the environmentalist on Vinalhaven and North Haven who embrace the idea that the public good is served by industrial wind turbines; please read the following Dec. 2012 communication from James Lovelock, founder of the Gaia movement:


“I am an environmentalist and founder member of the Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”

Well, those monuments are on North Haven Road.

Sacrifice Zone of Industrial Wind Turbines on Vinalhaven, Maine

October 7, 2012

The following youtube clip was not taken on Vinalhaven but it does demonstrate noise levels affecting the health, peace and quiet, and property values of homeowners in the sacrifice zone of the Fox Islands Wind turbines.

A clear explanation of wind turbine noise and its effects

April 12, 2012

From the website: The Energy Collective, by Willem Post


The von Trapp family came to Vermont, because it reminded them of Austria, where “the hills are alive with the sounds of music”. Those sounds will soon be replaced by the health-damaging infrasound and low frequency noise from 3 MW wind turbines on 2,000-ft high ridgelines, courtesy of GMP/Gaz-Metro-Canada.

GMPs 21 wind turbines of the Lowell Mountain facility will emit various noises, such as:  Read the rest of this entry »

Bangor Daily News: Vinalhaven wind turbine noise features in “Wind dealings in Legislature prove Maine democracy is an illusion”

January 13, 2015

Wind dealings in Legislature prove Maine democracy is an illusion
Bangor Daily News

By Alan Farago, Special to the BDN
Posted Jan. 13, 2015, at 10:16 a.m.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting recently published a damning report detailing how easily the Maine Legislature bends to the wind power industry.

In “LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature,” Pine Tree Watchdog reporters detail how Juliet Browne, First Wind’s lawyer, sent former Senate President Justin Alfond suggested text for an amendment relating to a wind power bill. Alfond ultimately adopted all 248 words she supplied, changing nothing.

Neighbors of wind turbines on Vinalhaven have a different story and outcome to tell. In 2013, they proposed a single legislative change, to require that all Maine wind turbines conform to noise limits set by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2012; 42 dbA instead of the previous 45 dbA at nighttime.

After a series of public hearings by the Bureau of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection lowered wind turbine noise limits slightly. Lobbyists such as Juliet Browne, cited by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, actively opposed and testified against the minimal change. Read the rest of this entry »