From the Baltimore Sun’s B’more Green Blog:
Wind energy is generating some bad vibes in Maine, it seems, where some residents of an offshore village have turned against the industrial-sized turbines they originally welcomed on their island.
As reported recently in the Portland Press-Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, some island residents who celebrated the startup in November of three wind turbines say their sleep and peace of mind have since been disturbed by the “whump whump” sounds or vibrations emitted by the large, rotating blades. Some liken the sound to whooshing or grinding, or to an airplane that never lands. The sounds seem to vary with the wind intensity and direction, and with the distance from the turbines. Those living closeest appear to get the brunt of it. Here’s a link to another site where residents discuss their experiences in detail.
The developer of the $15 million Fox Islands wind project is reported to be taking steps to try to remedy the situation. As reported in this other story, the turbine operators are experimenting with slowing the blades down, to see if that reduces the complaints.
Many in the community still support the project, but this situation and similar complaints raised in a couple other Maine communities with large wind turbines are fueling pressure to change state standards for wind farms to limit the relatively low-frequency sounds that are upsetting nearby residents.
As wind turbines proliferate across the landscape and belatedly make their way into Maryland, the Maine situation does raise questions. Are local communities in this state taking turbine sounds into account in determining setbacks and other rules for locating wind facilities in their midst? Or is this an operational problem that turbine operators can easily remedy? Even if so, are there local or state sound regulations that could be applied to ensure industrial-sized wind turbines’ peaceful coexistence with the communities they’re being built to serve?
Posted by Tim Wheeler at 9:20 AM