Archive for the ‘News report’ Category

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.”

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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.” (more…)

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

September 16, 2015

CONTRIBUTORS
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. (more…)

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

April 14, 2015

Newsweek Magazine: OPINION
What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?
BY RANDY SIMMONS 4/11/15 AT 5:22 PM

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. (more…)

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
STAFF WRITER

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. (more…)

Bangor Daily News: DEP argues court has no say in Vinalhaven wind turbine noise level enforcement

December 10, 2014

DEP argues court has no say in Vinalhaven wind turbine noise level enforcement

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 09, 2014, at 1:13 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 09, 2014, at 2:01 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection argued Tuesday that the state’s highest court has no authority to order the agency to take tougher action to reduce noise levels from wind turbines on Vinalhaven.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Tuesday on an appeal by the DEP of a Kennebec County judge’s ruling in March that chastised Commissioner Patricia Aho for her role in responding to complaints by Vinalhaven residents about noise from the Fox Islands Electric wind turbines.

Attorney Gerald Reid, who represented the DEP, said Tuesday that state law specifically prohibits judicial review of the enforcement of a final agency rule. Instead, Reid said the wind farm neighbors should have appealed to the Board of Environmental Protection, a citizens’ panel, or filed a nuisance lawsuit against Fox Islands in court. (more…)

Portland Press Herald: Maine’s high court hears appeal over Vinalhaven wind turbine noise

December 10, 2014

Maine’s high court hears appeal over Vinalhaven wind turbine noise
But many of the justices’ questions focus on whether they should rule on Department of Environmental Protection decisions.
BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER
tturkel@pressherald.com | @TuxTurkel | 207-791-6462

PORTLAND — A five-year fight by residents living near the Fox Islands Wind project on Vinalhaven got a high-stakes airing on Tuesday, as the Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard an appeal dealing with state noise regulations for wind turbines.

The residents, organized under a group called Fox Islands Wind Neighbors, were buoyed last spring by a lower court ruling that found the Maine Department of Environmental Protection erred in a decision by its commissioner on how to deal with noise complaints. The neighbors came to the state’s highest court hopeful that they could get the DEP to step up enforcement, and limit turbine operation during certain wind conditions. (more…)

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. (more…)

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
tturkel@pressherald.com | @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? (more…)

Friends of Maine Mountains: Maine poll exposes softness in wind energy support

May 20, 2014

Please check this home page and blog for the latest news, or subscribe to our RSS feed. Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM) is the leading opponent of senseless industrial wind projects that destroy our state’s scenic assets, especially if those projects INCREASE the light bills for working Mainers.

Maine poll exposes softness in wind energy support
May 20, 2014

(Portland, Maine) Answers to questions asked recently by an independent, nonpartisan polling firm indicate that support for building industrial wind turbines in Maine is not as strong as wind power cheerleaders have led policy makers and the public to believe.

Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM), a group that opposes industrial wind turbine projects, commissioned Critical Insights of Portland, Maine to ask three questions about wind energy in its semi-annual Tracking Poll. The company completed 601 telephone interviews (including cell phones) with randomly selected voters across the state between April 16th and April 24th, 2014. CLICK HERE for a PDF of the results, which indicate that support for building industrial wind turbines declines appreciably when respondents learn that: (more…)