Will wind power be accepted? It may be harder/louder than you think

24 May 2011

How loud are those things?  We have all seen the pastoral scenes of windmills in school books and maybe even seen one up close.  Certainly, there are tv ads that tout the “green-ness” of windmills or turbines and there are folks out there who claim that windmills are not disruptively noisy.  Certainly, there have been fights over visual impacts (even one very notable one involving the Kennedy family)  and concerns expressed over birds and bats not being able to avoid turbines.

Now comes a fight over noise.  A group of residents in Maine have asked the State regulatory agency to take a look at a wind farm there because of concerns about noise beyond permit limits and the impacts of that noise on the nearby residents.  This is important here in Michigan as well as utilities begin work on siting wind farms.  The issue of noise was the subject of “dueling” presentations at an Adrian County township meeting.  

The National Wildlife Service is also looking at this particular installation as not having fully assessed its potential impacts on bald or golden eagles, ospreys or bats. 

One thing is for sure, while they do not have a significant carbon footprint, there are  no easy decisions as we transition from an oil-based economy and there may likely be consequences that proponents did not foresee – to their significant regret.  This isn’t easy.

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