Christopher O'Neil: The other side of the wind power story

An article in the Sun Journal of Dec. 30 raised eyebrows at Friends of Maine’s Mountains.

Included were the words: “Wind turbines came into Maine with a boom but two projects were able to go online without making a sound this month.”

The article quoted Tom Carroll, an operative of the wind development company Patriot Renewables, and Gordon Gamble, a public relations man for Independence Wind, about Maine’s newest industrial wind turbine plants on Spruce Mountain in Woodstock and Record Hill in Roxbury.

FMM is disappointed that the “other side” of this important story wasn’t told.

Readers of the story were essentially led to believe that these massive projects have come without incident. Unwitting readers might also infer that these new wind “farms” have disproved their critics, settled all debate and gained acceptance.

The truth is that many people in the vicinity of the Roxbury and Woodstock wind projects are already experiencing problems with noise emissions.

Those wind facilities have most certainly not gone online “without making a sound.”

Massive wind turbines create unique sound which is unlike most other noise emissions. Maine citizens are suffering from sounds which are both audible and inaudible to the human ear. In fact, citizens all around the globe are experiencing poor health and a reduction in their quality of life due to the unhealthy sound emissions from nearby turbines.

Readers should understand that just because a wind developer’s public relations team says a wind project will be benign, that does not make it true.

Last month, Maine acousticians Robert Rand and Stephen Ambrose, two respected experts on industrial noise, published a report validating the complaints of people living in close proximity to industrial turbine developments.

Every day, more scientific data emerges showing that wind turbines’ unique noise emissions cause adverse health impacts on people who are forced to live or work in the vicinity of wind facilities.

As wind developments proliferate, Maine residents and property owners are increasingly unable to take for granted their own peace and quiet. In every Maine wind project built close to people, there are major issues.

Record Hill and Spruce Mountain did not go “online without making a sound.” Quite the contrary. Jay Cashman of Patriot Renewables and Angus King of Independence Wind will acknowledge that, in development, their projects met strong resistance at every turn, and they still do.

The story should have included interviews with turbine neighbors who suffer from noise emissions. It should also have mentioned the credible and persistent opposition that is gaining strength as citizens discover that the presumed benefits of wind power were oversold, while the impacts were overlooked.

Christopher O’Neil of Saco is president of Friends of Maine’s Mountains.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



 's picture

a sound modeling map......35

a sound modeling map......35 dbc at 2 mile.....34 receptors on this one told them.!/photo.php?fbid=2745055700357&set=a.1101604455103.2017582.1076453401&type=1&theater

Tom Remmington has opinions shared on his .com and his blog.!/photo.php?fbid=2745055700357&set=a.1101604455103.2017582.1076453401&type=1&theater

Windfall, a 83 minute documentary, comes to Maine soon.
Dixfield High Schools' Community Room will host the movie Sunday March 4. 2012 from 1 pm to 5 around 2 too.

 's picture

Thank you, Mr. O'Neil, for

Thank you, Mr. O'Neil, for questioning the obvious bias of the state's newpapers. Fortunately Mainers are catching on to the problems of industrial wind, namely that none of the developer's sweeping claims have ever been proven. If my tax dollars are going to be put toward any energy project, I would want the scientific facts laid on the table. I'll take hydro power over wind power any day, ditto for natural gas, and with seven billioin humans and multiplying on this tiny planet, we better be looking at things like thorium flouride reaactors. Keep our mountains and our scenic viewsheds pristine and they'll keep pumping billions of dollars into our tourism based economy. Destroy them, and we've killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

 's picture

"FMM is disappointed that the

"FMM is disappointed that the “other side” of this important story wasn’t told."

The other side of the story wasn't told? Give me a break!! The "other side of the story" is ALL we've heard about the last year -- how evil wind power is, how it makes people nervous and upset, how it's Free-Enterprise-Run-Amok, endangering health and welfare of ordinary Mainers in the name of the Almighty Dollar. Every week, it's a story about some new self-serving "study" that proves...nothing.

Questions: Who are Robert Rand and Stephen Ambrose? They're respected by whom? What are their credentials? Are they respected by their scientific peers, or just the people who benefit from their "studies"? Why is the noise produced by a wind turbine somehow "unique"? Why does the sound of windpower turbines alone cause "poor health and a reduction in quality of life" "around the globe", but not other unpleasant sounds? The "health problems" so often cited -- nausea, palpitations, disorientation -- are amazingly vague and the same symptoms caused by general anxiety, or watching a scary movie. If that's the best you can do, well, the Chicken Little's of the world will dance to your tune, but that's about it.

C'mon people, make a real argument! Drop the vague references, insinuations and Area-51-speak. It makes you look like a bunch of half-baked conspiracy theorists.

 's picture

Andrew Hall, You Are SOOOOOO Wrong!!!

First, Andrew, I understand your views about private property. It plays out on both sides, though, doesn't it? For example, the 700+ waterfront property owners in Lincoln Lakes who can't find buyers for their homes & seasonal cottages since the Rollins wind project went in and have thus suffered devaluation of their property. The noise of wind crosses over to the private property of the people who have wind turbines built too close to them. They can't sleep, can't concentrate due to noise, and suffer ill effects like headaches, nausea, vertigo, ringing in ears and even chest pains from low frequency sound waves---something I, personally, have experienced from wind turbines.

So who are Robert Rand and Stephen Ambrose? Two very dedicated accoustics experts who have taken their deep experience with industrial noise and applied it to wind turbines. They challenge the status quo of "sound modeling" with computers that are virtually cut & paste jobs for every wind power application. DEP & LURC rubber stamps these because the state uses non-applicable noise regulations drafted to deal with urban noise, not wind turbines. I took one look at the noise impact zone for the Rollins wind project and, being a simple lay person, said at the time, the people on North Rd. in Lee, sections of Lee Rd. and Rocky Dundee Rd in Lincoln will get "hammered" by noise. First Wind denied it. The "third party noise expert" hired by DEP said no. As soon as the turbines went in, there were complaints about noise. There have been verifiable, substantive complaints in every project that has gone where people live.

Concerning Rand and Ambrose, I give you this from the Rand Accoustics website: "Rand Acoustics is a Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering since 1993, and is committed to INCE’s Canon of Ethics. The first and most prominent of INCE’s ethical canons is aligned with the generalized principles of the Hippocratic Oath: Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public." Something the wind industry will never do.

Alan Woods's picture

Burden of Proof

Mr. Hall:
The people of Maine don't have to make any argument at all.
The burden of proof is on YOU.
The people of Maine have every right to make YOU prove YOUR case.

 's picture

Well, no

Well, no. If the darned monstrosities are being built on private property, in accordance with the laws then in force, and you want to stop them from going up, then the burden is on you. "I don't like it" is not a good enough reason when you use the power of any governmental organization/bureau to interfere with an owner's use of private property. If they're legal, the burden is on you to change the law, and is always the case, the burden is on those who wish to change to law to prove why they are right. Don't clump "the people of Maine" into a group when what you mean is "the people of Maine who agree with me." It might well be that "the people of Maine" as a whole actually want the darned things.

GARY SAVARD's picture

I have been of the opinion

I have been of the opinion since day one that Baldacci & Co. sold us out to the wind power industry, a/k/a Angus King and cohorts, and the more that comes out on the good and bad sides of wind power, the more I'm convinced I'm right. If Governor Lepage and the Republicans had stuffed wind energy down our throats like this, Douglas Rooks' weekly liberal rant very likely wouldn't be about the LURC.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...