Pros and cons of wind energy debated

DIXFIELD — The Dirigo High School community room was packed with more than 100 people to hear panelists and experts debate the pros and cons of wind power Thursday night.

Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine backed the development of clean energy, such as wind power, and the gradual reduction of the use of fossil fuels.

"Wind power is a broad solution to dealing with some of these issues," he said, adding that Maine companies receive business from the construction of a wind power project.

Dr. Albert Aniel, a Rumford physician, had a different perspective. He said he was concerned with what he described as the injurious effects of the audible sounds and low frequency noise of wind turbines, the effect of flicker lights from the blades, and how all these can adversely affect people's sleep and health.

"With low frequency noise, primarily generated by turbines, people feel they must breath at that rate, causing loss of balance, dizziness and psychiatric disorders," he said.

Dr. Richard Jennings, a retired psychiatrist who lives in Fayette, said his greatest concern was climate change and the future his grandchildren may face if actions aren't taken to stop the rate of such change. He said many believe it is caused by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.

"If you want to worry about health effects from wind turbines, you are worrying about the wrong thing. The real issue is climate change. Wind is not the answer, it's part of the answer," he said.

Sen. Peter Mills, R-Cornville, questioned whether the state's target of construction of 3,000 megawatts of wind turbine energy would financially benefit the state. He said such construction would likely benefit only the towns in which they are located.

"I'm not an opponent or proponent of wind power," he said.

He also questioned whether long- or short-term jobs would be created by wind farm construction, or whether electricity rates would be reduced through wind energy.

Throughout the debate, which was kept on track by Western Mountains Alliance director Tanya Swain, experts were asked to provide their opinions. They included sound scientist Peter Guldberg of Waltham, Mass.; James Cassida, who works with permitting for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection; J. Dwight, a Wilton investment adviser; and Brian Hodges, a deputy commissioner for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

Questions from the audience were written on cards and given to Swain. Answers to many of the questions that were either not asked and answered in the allotted time, or answers that were not sufficient will be addressed at

The event was a joint effort by the Western Maine Economic Development Council, the River Valley Growth Council, Greater Franklin Development Corp. and the Western Mountains Alliance.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

Tanya Swain, director of the Western Mountains Alliance, moderates a debate on wind energy Thursday night at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. Debaters were Dr. Richard Jennings, Sen. Peter Mills, Dr. Albert Aniel and Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

First Selectman Stephen Brown of Carthage talks with Brian Hodges, deputy commissioner for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, after Thursday's debate on wind energy at Dirigo High School in Dixfield. Carthage is a potential site for a wind turbine project.

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Dan McKay's picture

jalbrecht1 makes a good point

jalbrecht1 makes a good point about citizen's feelings towards other citizens. Advocating for these wind turbines knowing fellow citizens within the community will suffer would do irrepairable damage to community spirit. Wondering if others in Dixfield felt the same, my father-in-law and I approached nearly half the residents living on our road, which, by the way would be immune to the visual and noise effects of putting these wind machines atop Colonel Holman:


As fellow citizens of Dixfield, we strongly support you and your desire
to prevent the wind turbines from appearing atop Colonel Holman
Monday night at 6pm, September 28, at the Ludden Library, our first
public hearing concerning wind towers will be held, and not a moment
too soon.
As the town of Byron has proved, the earliest stages of the wind
company's proposal is the time to stop them. They were loud and they
were emphatic and they were heard clearly NO WIND!!!!
If we open the door for wind towers on Colonel Holman Mountain, we
open the door to Holman Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain.
If you are undecided, come to this hearing and listen to fellow citizens as
they reveal the real facts about wind and wind companies.


15 of 15 people signed on agreeing with this statement.

I thought you might like to know this.

Mike DiCenso's picture

Dr Jennings...we should be

Dr Jennings...we should be thinking about our kids' futures, but windsprawl actually contributes to CO2 emissions as Denmark shows. When the fossil fuel plants are put on spinning reserve, they are less efficient. Denmark has 6000 windsprawl turbines and their CO2 rose 35%. They had to build 2 new ff plants in fact. China and India are building 1 new coal fired plant per week. The problem is the developing countries want the energy wasting lifestyles of the rich Americans. When we saw pics of thousands of Chinese bicycles clogging their roads it was only a matter of time that the people would all be in autos. Their energy demands are rising.The countries must work together but that does not seem to be working. Why destroy Maine for no measurable benefit? HydroQuebec will sell us cheap power and we will save our mtns., lakes and scenery. Hydro power is truly green though HQ has a mix. Why they bother with obsolete windsprawl is beyond me except I will bet there are financial schemes similar to the BS going on here now. In the end windsprawl will more than double our elec.bills which none of us need. NRCM is in with the developers. Kurt Adams and Rob Gardiner were with the NRCM until the dollars got the better of them.

Rob Pforzheimer's picture

"Dr. Richard Jennings, a

"Dr. Richard Jennings, a retired psychiatrist who lives in Fayette, said his greatest concern was climate change and the future his grandchildren may face'

Sorry Dr. Jennings but your grandchildren will be laughing at you for believing the hoax of global warming. They will be wondering how you could have been so gullible and stupid to believe that the rusting leaking monstrosities they are still paying for, and will have to pay to remove could have ever been allowed to built.


I came to the debate hoping

I came to the debate hoping to get some information on which to base my support or opposition to the proposal to build a wind farm on Holman Mountain in Dixfield.

Dr. Jennings made a powerful impression. He argued that the people of the Common Road should be willing to sacrifice their health and homes so that his grandchildren (whom he couldn't name and he tried) can enjoy the benefits of an end to Global Warming. He dismissed the health and other complaints of residents near other wind farms as "exaggerated" and unimportant. I don't think the people of the Common Road are expendable. I don't think they should be asked to sacrifice their health and homes for the profits of a Wind Co which primarily comes from Federal subsidies - our tax dollars. 


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