The Argument Against Wind Turbines

Health and quality of life concerns plus effectiveness questions

Mike Baggerman
May 02, 2018 - 3:00 am

Photo via Save Ontario Shores

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SOMERSET, N.Y. (WBEN) - Detractors of the proposed wind turbines along Lake Ontario in the towns of Somerset and Yates argue that the turbines have a negative effect in the community.

Mary Kay Barton began fighting against the turbines about 15 years ago. In 2005, she and her husband bought a small marina along Lake Ontario.

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"Shortly before that, our architect...said 'Did you know they're planning on surrounding this entire place with a total of over 2,000 wind turbines throughout Wyoming County," she explained on Saturday with The Financial Guys. "I said 'What?'. That began the journey to look into it."

She asked a physicist to calculate the productivity of the turbines.

"No wind project in New York State was making enough energy to pay for itself over its projected 20-year life span," she said about the results of the wind turbines calculations. "Studies since then showed they're not lasting 20 years anyway. The thruway turbines are broken down already and it's only been a couple of years....The things are only lasting five to thirteen years. All of New York State's 20-installed wind factories are averaging about a 25 percent capacity factory -that's actual output."

Kathy Orr, the founder of Save Ontario Shores, is against the wind turbines, too.

"After experiencing the wind turbine complex in Wyoming County that it's the worst financial plan you could ever get into," she said. "Because it will drop your financial properties, for one. They are impossible to live with. They're very loud, the construction period is very bad, where you're hearing all kinds of construction from 7 a.m. to dark. It's not feasible to live in one, it's like living in the middle of an electrical facility. There is no future to them as far as being able to produce electricity consistently."

Orr said the wind turbines caused people to lose real estate value and that the noise is "impossible to live with"

"It's not just the noise you hear," she said. "Infrasound is a very real problem that you can feel and that does have health issues as far as epilepsy or (for) those with health problems."

Kate Kremer, Vice President of the locally funded citizens group, Save Ontario Shores, said the group is not opposed to renewable energy projects for their area.  "We are opposed to this project, but there could be appropriate renewable energy projects".  Kremer mentioned Rooftop Solar, Geo Thermal and Anaerobic Digester as possible projects. 

Town of Somerset Supervisor Dan Engert explained that a Virginia-based wind turbine developer approached wealthy real estate owners in the Spring of 2014 and began talks about placing the turbines in the town. It wasn't until the fall that the wind company scheduled a meeting with the town.

"Rumors had started circling around with various components," Engert said. "They sat down with me and said they were exploring a project and it's been on ever since."

A survey conducted by the town found that the public does not want the turbines in the town. 

Apex Clean Energy is proposing to construct the turbines in Somerset and Yates. According to their website, they said Lighthouse Wind will create jobs and generate a new source of long-term revenue over the next 30 years. 

Part of the controversy regarding wind turbines is also related to Article 10. According to ACE, Article 10 defines a clear process for public engagement in permitting large electric generating facilities. It applies to electric generating facility with 25 MW generating capacity or more. Article 10 also includes environmental justice and environmental and health requirements, ensures broad public involvement through a process, makes funds available to local parties and municipalities through an "Intervenor Fund", and requires the creation of a public involvement plan. 

"It takes away from the municipality long standing prerogative of control of land use," Attorney Dennis Vacco said. "Under the New York State constitution, one of the most important aspects in local government is to control how the land in their community is employed. From zoning laws to other land use laws, Article 10 is designed to strip away that power from municipalities."

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