Wind Farms

The Chicago Tribune just ran a rather good article about the pros and cons of wind farms out in DeKalb County. DeKalb is about an hour and a half from Chicago, so not exactly the middle of nowhere.

So. The pros: Clean energy and a lot of people stand to make a lot of money from the projects. The investors, the counties and the farmers that are leasing their land to the energy companies. Here is the statistic that struck me:

“Each turbine, which takes up about 3 acres total, pays Halverson about $9,000 per year, he said. That compares with the going rate of about $180 per acre per year to lease farmland in DeKalb County, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

The first arguments I heard against wind farms were “eye sore” (which I don’t buy because I think they are rather pretty) and “noise pollution”. The article goes on to say that there are reports of vertigo and migraines, not to mention some really stressed out farm animals. It seems the vertigo comes from the low frequency sound that can mess up your sense of balance, like motion sickness. And the migraines can be caused by the “shadow flicker” of the sunshine on the turbine blades.

I would be prone to both of those things.

One of the local residents took this video to show what the “shadow flicker” looks like. It doesn’t seem that bad until you think that it is happening every single day all over the house.

I couldn’t live with this.

I am not sure what the answer is, except perhaps to find less populated areas for the turbines and better methods of distribution to support the necessary distance. I wouldn’t want to give up on the concept, though.

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