NIMBY’s Are Making More Noise Than Wind Turbines – OpEd


There is increasing concern that electricity generation from fossil fuels contributes to climate change and air pollution. In response to these concerns, governments around the world are encouraging the installation of intermittent electricity generation projects including Industrial Wind Turbines (IWT’s). 

But Whoa, Nelly! NIMBY’s (Not-In-My-Backyard) around the globe from Germany to Australia, California, New York, and Massachusetts are speaking loudly, and acting, to put a halt to the invasion of noisy wind farms in their backyards. Following numerous reports from Maryland to Canada to France on wind turbine noise, the NIMBY’s are becoming energized (no pun intended).

  • The National Center for Biotechnology Information located in Bethesda, Maryland (NCBI) reported that industrial wind turbine noise amplitude modulation, audible low frequency noise, tonal noise, infrasound, and lack of nighttime abatement have been identified as plausible noise characteristics that could cause annoyance and other health effects. Documented symptoms reported by individuals exposed to wind turbines, include: Sleep disturbance, Headaches, Ear pressure, Dizziness, Vertigo, Nausea, Visual blurring, Irritability, Problems with concentration and memory, and Panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep.
  • The French Academy of Medicine Declare Wind Turbines Health Nuisance. The planned extension of the terrestrial wind energy sector raises an increasing number of complaints from associations of local residents reporting functional disturbances achieving what is known as the “wind turbine syndrome”. The report notes that noise is the most frequent complaint. The noise is described as piercing, preoccupying, and continually surprising, as it is irregular in intensity. The noise includes grating and incongruous sounds that distract the attention or disturb rest. The spontaneous recurrence of these noises disturbs the sleep, suddenly awakening the subject when the wind rises and preventing the subject from going back to sleep. 

Despite the political obsession for intermittent electricity generated from wind turbines, NIMBY’s are alive and well! Here is a sampling of NIMBY’s around the globe from Germany to Australia, California, New York, and Massachusetts that are stepping up to stop the installation of those monstrosities in their backyards:

  • In Germany, thousands are being driven mad by practically incessant, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infra-sound, and are fighting back with a fury and energy which has rattled the wind industry. There are now hundreds of anti-wind industry groups across Germany. And many of those groups and individuals have launched litigation against developers and government to either prevent wind farms from being built, or to seek substantial financial compensation for the loss of the use and enjoyment of their homes. In Germany, locals expressed their opposition in no uncertain terms – voting 25 to 1 against a giant wind project proposed for their patch of paradise.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, reports of adverse health effects and reduced quality of life are also documented in Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) projects in their countries.
  • In California, San Bernardino is the state’s largest county, and “has banned the construction of large solar and wind farms of more than 1 million acres of private land.” Residents do not want their rural desert community littered with renewables

The list of the NIMBY resistance goes on and on at locations like New YorkWisconsin, and Scotland, etc.  

In California, the state with the least reliable electrical power system in the nation, between 2008 and 2017, the Golden State experienced far more individual outages with almost 4,297 individual outages in the ten-year period, more than 2.5 times as many as its closest rival, Texas. The state continues shuttering most of the in-state natural gas and nuclear power plants that have been providing continuous uninterruptible electricity, in favor of intermittent electricity from wind and solar while adding EV charging loads onto the grid. Power outages are now commonplace in California with more to follow for the Golden state.

Before too hastily pursuing those wind turbines for the generation of intermittent electricity, politicians should read the numerous published reports from Maryland to Canada to France about the effects of wind turbine noise, and listen to their NIMBY constituents that are rejecting those monstrosities in their backyards.

Ronald Stein

Ronald Stein, Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California.

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