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The Battle over Wind Power

September 15, 2011

Steve Wright of Craftsfbury, a biologist, is a critic of Wind Turbines. Photo by Laura Carpenter

DERBY LINE- Derby Line may be the home for two large wind turbines by the end of next year, and some are questioning the side effects of turbines in close proximity to residential homes.
Grand View Farm, owned by the Davis Family, would host one turbine, and the other would be on the adjacent Chase Farm, an area known for high quality wind. The question of whether or not wind turbines cause adverse health effects remains on-going and controversial.
Many scientists and doctors say that the noise created by the turbines causes problems in people including nausea, hypertension, sleep deprivation, irritation, depression, and headaches. Several studies indicate varying degrees of complaints, and some report people being driven from their homes.
According to published information by Teddi Lovko, an MD practicing Internal Medicine, studies done on health impacts from turbines in the Netherlands and Sweden showed significant complaints of annoyance with up to 50 percent annoyed at sound levels of 40dB or greater.
Other scientists and doctors dispute the claims. Encore Redevelopment is seeking to construct two 425 foot wind turbines in Derby Line.
A special meeting to discuss the proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, September 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Derby Line Village Hall. Developers are preparing to file for necessary permits.
At a meeting held earlier in the summer, developers said that they will move forward with the project based on community support and will gauge that support at meetings and by talking with local officials.
Developers say that the turbines are quieter than other turbines as they come with permanent magnetic direct drive and have no gear box. The audible noise level is comparable to a quiet conversation in a library for nearby neighbors at 44.0 to 50.30dB.
However some opponents say that the inaudible noise or infra-sound also contributes to the possible health affects.
Steve Wright of Craftsbury, a biologist, who has been active in opposing the Lowell Wind Project, attended the Derby Planning Commission Meeting Monday evening.
In “other business” he said he just wanted to let Derby officials know about the “emerging science” on health effects due to infra-sound from wind turbines. He passed out literature written by a doctor on the subject.
The proposed 2.2 Megawatt turbines would produce enough power for approximately 900 homes. Developers say that there is currently no “definitive” study to show adverse health effects from turbines.
Developers acknowledge that birds and bats are typically killed from turbines, but are working to keep the death toll as low as possible.
Developers also say that neighbors will be affected by the “Flicker effect,” which is shadows caused by the sun angle and the turbine blades. The estimated time for flicker effect was between 43 minutes to one hour and fifty-four minutes a day for the closest neighbors.
Developers would negotiate tax payments with the town and village, and some kind of fund for neighbors affected by view, including those north of the border.

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