Guest Column: Criticisms of wind farms are so much hot air
By John Nall
I have been following this issue for a number of years and cannot figure out what the Concerned Citizens are blowing off so much steam about. I have traveled over most of this country (48 lower states) and have seen wind farms from coast to coast. It so happens that I am friends with several of the farmers in Boone County who would do quite well with at least one turbine.
Why are a few NIMBYs complaining? Particularly when I see that the vast majority of their info is from, of all places, YouTube. That is the most untrustworthy site on the web. My younger brother posted, unfortunately, his train layout on YouTube and asked me to look at it as I had helped him a little with it, and because we are from an old railroad family and put in things from earlier in our memories. When I looked online, suddenly another posting came up in the right-hand corner of his honest post showing none other than child porn. I let my brother know immediately of this offensive material. His response was, “I should have expected that, as anyone can put anything they want on YouTube at any time.” He said it’s like Craigslist before it got cleaned up. So much for their sources.
With all of the wind farms existing and going up in this world, not just the U.S., it is rather silly to think that the companies building and installing these are taking all kinds of advantage of the land owners. It’s more likely that the land owners may not all be doing their homework when looking at contracts or perhaps not taking care of their own concerns, as I have found out about certain people in Fond du Lac County, Wis. After a few short calls to people in that area, I quickly found out that the complainers are not only few, but some have been trying to use the wind turbines as excuses to get out from under legal problems of their own making (the land owners, that is).
I’ve read about all the complaints such as “flicker” from the blades going around at supposedly 120 mph to 187 mph. First of all, they should try working in retail like I have for the last 22 years when the ballasts go bad in overhead lighting. That is very rapid flicker and does cause headaches and stomach aches. I have been to several wind farms in Illinois out of nothing other than curiosity and found the land owners quite proud of those towers, even the 400-foot ones. And it is not at all uncomfortable to watch the blades rotate and even a little fascinating to watch something that big work so quietly and put non-polluting power back into either someone’s property or the grid. Also, if the blade tips were going as fast as these people say, then it would be almost impossible to watch. Simply watch cars at a speedway doing 150 to 200-plus m.p.h. go by you, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I believe that the Concerned Citizens are full of hot air and will be a lot better off by letting those who can have a turbine put up and then standing upwind of the tower and letting off that hot air. At least then, they can guarantee that the turbines will work and get the rest of their bile out of their systems.
John Nall is a resident of Roscoe, Ill.
From the Nov. 7-13, 2012, issue