Sunday, May 27, 2007

How Green is the Wind?

I want to briefly address one claim made by wind energy promoters: wind power will help reduce CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming. Superficially, it makes sense that generating power from wind would reduce emissions from burning coal, but that is not the whole story. In order for this claim to be true, the total reductions in CO2 emissions obtained from commissioning a wind turbine must exceed those created by its fabrication, transport and installation.

In fact, the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind energy production does not permit conventional power generation plants to be taken off line, and can actually reduce their efficiency because they must now be fired up or down on a regular basis in order for the grid to utilize the unpredictable power generated by wind. Considering the small amount of power generated by a wind turbine, the net reduction of CO2 emissions in overall electrical power generation achieved through its operation can't be very significant, and could actually be negative in some cases.

The huge wind turbines currently used to harvest wind power each weigh 120 tons or more and are made of various metals and advanced composite materials. These materials must be either extracted from the earth and refined, or fabricated from organic materials or petroleum products, leading to the release of many tons of CO2. Much more CO2 and many additional greenhouse gases are released during the process of fabrication and every factory worker in the plant contributes even more during his/her daily commute.

Next, consider that these huge machines must then be transported long distances (in our case from Pennsylvania to Kansas) on very large trucks releasing many additional tons of CO2. Once on site, huge quantities of diesel fuel are consumed by earth-moving equipment in road and site preparation, quarrying and milling of rock, trucking thousands of tons of gravel, cement, water and rebar (itself made of steel that releases large amounts of CO2 during smelting) and by the massive cranes (also transported long distances) that are required to erect the turbines. Think about this and you will begin to understand why big oil companies are buying interests in wind power and seeking to promote it.

When all this is considered, you arrive at an estimate that each turbine must operate at full capacity for about seven years to recover the carbon footprint of its installation. However, even the most optimistic projections suggest that only about 1/3 of 'nameplate' capacity is achievable, so now we need more than 20 years of turbine operation just to break even on CO2. And how long are these things supposed to last ?

But its all green power from there on, right ? Nope. You still have to budget for decommissioning - thousands more tons of CO2 emissions from heavy machinery transport and operation during salvage and site restoration - unless you are willing to simply abandon the turbines once they are beyond repair. So it is preposterous to claim any CO2 reduction from wind power; if anything, the promotion of wind power in its present form (and at taxpayer expense) is simply increasing consumption of fossil fuels and accelerating CO2 emissions. It is also putting more money into the pockets of big oil companies while the leaders of our government get to 'greenwash' their electorate into believing they are actually doing something about global warming.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Money Isn't Everything

The following was first submitted to the Hays Daily News as a letter to the editor in May 2007 by Steve Reed, a resident of Hays, Kansas, in Ellis County:

Project isn’t all it’s cracked up to be Fellow Ellis County citizens and Hays residents, please take the time to educate yourself about the proposed wind farm southwest of Hays. People don’t seem to realize the impact that is going to have on our lives.

There are too many unanswered questions regarding what kinds of benefits this will bring to our country. Do you realize that our utility bills will not be going down?

The electricity generated by these giant pinwheels will be sold to benefit people in other areas. There are many documented concerns about the impact wind farms will have, but at the top of the list is the proposed location. Take the time to imagine what 400-foot wind turbines will look like sitting on the hills above the city of Hays. We aren’t talking about a couple turbines, we are talking between 135 and 200 of these enormous eyesores hovering over our fair city, ruining the view of our sunset forever.

I’ve listened to Krista Gordon, the project manager, talk about how great this is for our community. Do you honestly think that Krista Gordon and Iberdrola care about Ellis County? She tells of how this will promote tourism. Personally while traveling I’ve never had the desire to take my vehicle off cruise control to see some giant windmills up close.

She is also promoting the 15 jobs created locally. This is Hays, Kan., not Spearville. Fifteen jobs are not very impressive. A developer could put in an Outback Steakhouse for instance and not only create more jobs, but probably generate more revenue. The main point is Krista is doing her job trying to promote her company, and we should really question what she’s telling us, because it serves her best interest not necessarily ours.

In the Hays area there are a large number of people who want to live in the country for peace and tranquility, but still are close to town. This desire has made the property surrounding Hays priced higher than average. I’ve read countless opinions about how wind farms don’t affect property values.

This may be true in Spearville and Montezuma. However, in an area where the property value is already high, how can the value in Hays not go down? Property value is primarily determined by the sales market.

Many of these property owners may not be able to sell their homes once the turbines are in place. Do you want to buy a house that is under these monstrosities? Once the property in this area is devalued there will be less property tax generated. Even with the proposed gift from CPV these numbers will cancel each other out. How can this increase the tax base?

Most people are in favor of wind farms, just not in this locale. One of the reasons given for the proposed location is proximity to a main transmission line to get on the grid.

Are we willing to sell out our neighbors just to save a multi-billion dollar foreign corporation a few million to build a new substation and transmission line?

Please urge your country commissioners and zoning board members to stop the proposed development and move it so it’s not on top of our homes.

Take a drive around the country and you will find other uninhabited areas to put this project.

Do you think the wind doesn’t blow in other parts of the country? It may not make the right people wealthier, but when our neighbor’s lifelong dreams are being destroyed, money isn’t everything.

Please do some reading about the subject. By informing yourselves, you’ll see that this project isn’t all that it’s promised to be.

Steve Reed
Hays, Kansas
May 2007

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Caring & Compassion

The following was first submitted to the Hays Daily News by Marion Brown of Hays, Kansas, in May 2007:

Where is the caring and compassion for the health and well-being of neighbors, not to mention the environment? Reference the landowners who would lease their land for a proposed wind turbine project. Among this small group of landowners are ones who do not even live on the land they want to lease, nor do they seem to care about the beauty of the land in its natural state.

The neighbors whose property could be adjacent to wind turbines care about the landscape and preserving their property values and rightly so. Common sense would suggest that a home and property with wind turbines in the vicinity would be less attractive than one without them and have a bearing on the value.

As far as this “not in my backyard” is concerned, why should anyone be subjected to having a project like this in such close proximity to where they reside?

One would think landowners who would lease land might be concerned about any possibility liability on their part if one of those proposed turbines, or parts of one, became airborne during a storm and caused damage to others’ homes or properties.

With this in mind, it would seem there would be plenty of land outside of Ellis County that might be a more appropriate site for wind energy — leaving the land, electric and water intact and as it is in this area.

And, whether living in town or on the outskirts, when looking toward the horizon as the sun rises and sets, who would want to see the view obstructed by monstrous wind turbines?

Marion Brown
Hays, Kansas
May 2007

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Government by the People

The following was first submitted to by Jim Leiker, native of Ellis County and current resident of Overland Park, Kansas, to the Hays Daily News in May 2007:

Having made no decision and trying to stay open-minded, I attended Wednesday’s hearing to hear the pros and cons of the wind project.

Though I grew up in Antonino, I now live mostly in the Kansas City area. I still own property in Ellis County, none of which lies in the affected area, so I have no vested interest either way and thus probably have as objective an opinion as can be found.

I’ve always been an advocate of wind energy, seeing it as a major step in declaring this country’s independence from fossil fuel. I wish it was better regulated and that the consequences for wildlife were better known.

Personally, I have no aesthetic objection to massive wind towers but I can see why others do; they are the same objections that Indians once had about railroads, or that old farmers in the 1920s had about gaspowered tractors, or for that matter, that I have always had about the stink and noise of oil wells. If people can learn to live with one annoying new technology, they can do so with another.

Two concerns, however, stop me from embracing this proposal wholeheartedly, the first being an apparent lack of discussion of alternate sites. Why here? There is plenty of land in Ellis County where the turbines could be positioned without inconveniencing so many neighbors.

There are ample spaces south of Ellis, or near the Saline, where human habitation is minimal, although whatever the location, landowners will have to be fairly compensated. Of course, locating in such remote areas would be more expensive, so is this really about improving the company’s bottom line?

But more importantly, I’m concerned about the aura of secrecy in which this seems to have been conceived, with easements having been signed over the past few years, and affected homeowners only informed a few months before the deal is closed.

There has clearly been no grassroots effort to sell this project through open, transparent dialogue.

These are the same sneaky tactics employed by corporate hog farms and meatpacking firms in southwest Kansas to subvert local democracy. It saddens me to think that wind developers, who have such potential to lead energy reform, are using the same methods as the worst environmental despoilers.

In Wyandotte and Johnson counties where I spend most of my time, families and communities are constantly uprooted to make way for racetracks, highways, subdivisions and strip malls, all in the name of economic development. And once the initial glow wears off and consumers take their money elsewhere seeking the newest thrill, all that urban sprawl becomes urban blight. One of the reasons I return to Ellis County whenever possible is precisely because it has so far resisted all that.

If wind technology comes to Ellis County, let it do so on terms favorable to the majority of people who live here.

I say the present project be scrapped and that county authorities appoint a special commission consisting of farmers and environmentalists, with both local and outside experts, to work with this firm — which has a right to expect a reasonable profit — in finding alternate locations. We can’t close our eyes to progress but we can guide progress in ways that preserve local traditions. Like the document says, it’s government by the people, not government by Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Halliburton.

Jim Leiker
Overland Park, Kansas
May 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's Just Too Close to Home & Too Close to Hays

This was submitted by Jody Pfannenstiel. She and her husband live in Ellis County, near the area where the European company wishes to install the monstrously large industrial wind turbine complex next to Hays. Jody and her family do not believe that an industrial complex such as the one proposed should be built so close to Hays. She writes:

Keith and I sat by our fire pit in the back yard last night from 8 to 10:30 PM. One car came by during that time. All we heard were birds, frogs, one oil well off in the distance, the crackling of the fire and a cow moo once! Don't tell me the turbines wouldn't change all that. Not to mention, it was dark except for the moon, stars and the fire. Our electric bill was $17.00 last month.

There's no way we should all have to put with a miserable wind farm just to let people in the big cities keep up their electric wasting, gas wasting lifestyle.

Posted by Jody Pfannenstiel

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hidden Agendas & Conflicts of Interest

The following was first submitted by Jason Dinges, resident of Hays, Kansas, to the Hays Daily News as a letter to the editor in May 2007:

This letter is a follow-up to the wind farm zoning issues addressed in the Sunday edition. In regard to conflict of interest and hidden agendas, I believe the following -

(1) Lance Russell and Jo Kraus knew that industrial wind farms in Ellis County were a high probability when they accepted their positions on the planning committee.

(2) Because of family connections, Lance Russell knew he had a conflict of interest when he accepted his position on the planning committee. He should have disclosed his conflict of interest at that time. Withdrawing now is just a smokescreen as the damage has already been done.

(3) Based on prior meetings, the county commissioners knew that Lance Russell and Jo Kraus had a conflict of interest when they appointed them. This conflict should have been disclosed from the beginning.

(4) The county commissioners knew that large industrial complexes would not come to a county without zoning in place. They know that these firms need the protection from lawsuits that following the zoning rules give them. They make the excuse that it gives the people a voice, when in fact the people had no voice in the zoning procedure. They know that the huge firms would never have come to county without the protection of zoning. In the planning meeting I attended, Lance Russell basically said we do not care what you people think, the commissioners are going to pass it and if you do not like it you can vote them out. One has been voted out and we have two to go.

(5) The commissioners and the committee members constantly justified the rush to zoning by stating they needed to protect the constituents from large industrial complexes popping up in their backyards. Not once did they address the possibility of large industrial wind farms, which they knew were a high probability. Again this was a hidden agenda.

(6) Little to no time was spent on the wind farm issue at the zoning meetings. The wind farm-friendly zoning issue was slid through under the radar.

(7) Had this all been disclosed up front, it could have all been addressed months ago and we would not have this impression of impropriety that exists now.

In closing, I believe the wind farm is a good thing; I like and respect the people that will benefit from it. On the front end, it will be a great financial boon to the local economy.

But there is something wrong with the system when it allows conflicts of interest and hidden agendas to go unaddressed.

All zoning should be taken off the table and a new committee should be formed. The two commissioners should resign their positions and this should all be addressed by a whole new group that will allow the public to see all the facts.

Hidden agendas are a thing of the past and have no place in our society.

Jason Dinges
Hays, Kansas
May 2007

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Monday, May 21, 2007

CPV cannot be trusted

A lot of residents living in the proposed wind energy development area already find the activities of Krista Gordon and CPV corporation very unethical - and they haven't even built any of their big ugly machines yet.

Ethical Concerns

It all started with CPV corporation going quietly around trying to buy easements and sign leases, one at a time, instead of approaching the local community as a whole with a public statement of their intentions.

While the instigating landholders received contracts entitling them to thousands of dollars per windmill, per year, some unsuspecting retirees and elderly absentee landholders were lured into signing contracts entitling them to a mere $500 per year.
Is this the kind of corporation we want to entrust with our local economy?


Krista Gordon’s presentation on Friday May 18 at the Fox Pavilion was both inaccurate and misleading. She claimed that our photos were depicting her turbines as 900 ft tall – all while she showed us photo montage shots angled to make the turbines look shorter than power poles strategically placed in the foreground. Not one of Krista’s photographs depicted any familiar building or landmark – or any type of tall structure other than turbines that might serve as a reference for their true height. In contrast, a careful review of the photo distributed on the ECEAC flyer reveals a familiar landmark – the cell phone tower on Golf Course hill – known to be 400 ft in height and clearly taller than any of our depicted turbines. Clearly, this was a conservative simulation.

There was plenty of other material in that presentation that merits de-bunking, but in the interest of space I will address only one other issue. We were shown pictures of several properties in Fenner, New York, that sold at increased prices over a five year period despite being located near the Fenner Wind Farm. Notably, no turbines were visible in the pictures – possibly they were cropped out by the real estate photographer. The problem is that the Fenner Wind Farm could not possibly be less like the Hays Wind Farm.

There are only 20 turbines in Fenner (marked in green), they are only 150 ft towers, they are all in a central cluster on a ridge, and the minimum setback from houses is 4000 ft. with most homes at a distance of a mile or more (marked by the thin blue inner circle). In contrast, the proposed Hays wind farm is seven times larger, with towers 50% taller, and is scattered throughout established settlements. Furthermore, the nature of the terrain is very different – Hays has very flat terrain with virtually no tree cover so the visibility distance will be greatly increased.

Corporate Irresponsibility

In the early days of May, CPV corporation began spying on us with road-side listening devices, possibly to try and record the loudest passing truck noises. I suppose that way, after they destroyed our environment visually and audibly, they could try and tell us we already lived in a noisy place before the turbines went in. We called the Ellis County Sheriff and verified that permits were required for such devices, but no permits had been requested. CPV were asked to remove these devices several times before compliance was finally obtained.

Besides spying on our noise levels without proper authorization, they have also been spying on our wind levels for at least four years. Back in August 2005, CPV (then DisGen) boasted in the High Plains Journal that they had a tower 400 feet tall to collect wind readings at the Hays site. You can read about it here at

And here is the tower just northwest of the end of 180th Ave. north of Golf Course Road.

This tower truly is 400 feet tall. For reference, the hay bales in the left lower corner are each 5 ft tall.

CPV has up to ten more towers distributed throughout the area on private lands, each roughly 200 ft high. We checked with the local environmental office and found that no zoning permits were on file for any of these constructions. This would not have been a violation of local building codes for their original construction, because coutny-wide zoning was not yet in place. However, at least two towers collapsed in the ice strom of New Years Day, and their re-construction did require a permit. We were initially told at the environmental office that no permits were on file. Now we are told by the county attorney that they do exist, although no one has yet been able to see them.

A more serious infraction is that any structure over 200 ft. tall requires form 7460-1 to be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration. We checked with the FAA. They have no records of any 7460-1 forms being filed for these towers. We helpfully provided them with exact GPS coordinates of 2 towers so they could investigate.

Any structure more than 200 ft tall is required to have lights for aviation safety. Each violation is punishable by a fine of $1,000 per day. In addition to its low visibility, the 400 ft tower has 28 guy wires holding it up - you can barely see them in the picture. It is not surprising to discover that in May, 2005 a local newspaper reproted the death of a crop dusting pilot in Crosby County, TX who flew into an anemometer tower for a wind farm development. "The 400 foot structure had only been installed recently and was not fitted with any warning devices..."

You can see that the instrumentation for the anemometers on these towers is powered by a small solar panel at the base. There is no power for lighting whatsoever. The 400 ft. tower has been in place FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS, so we are very fortunate that no pilots have been injured or killed.

Will Our County Government Protect Us?

This company has not put up their first windmill in Ellis County and they have already disregarded and disrespected local and federal regulations, apparently without consequence.

Why does it fall on the citizens of this county to investigate these matters in an effort to protect themselves?

More importantly, in light of these infractions, how can our local government possibly entrust this corporation to honor and protect this community throughout a $300,000,000 industrial development with all its attendant dangers?

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Research Tells Us: Wind Turbines Should Not Be Placed On the Edge of Cities

Submitted by Paul Faber, Hays, Kansas:

Opponents of developing the western edge of Hays as an industrial power generation facility have been accused of many things lately. They have been accused of ignoring research, of relying upon old research, of using research that is untrustworthy because it is available on the internet, of being unduly concerned for their property values, and of being unduly worried about the health effects of prolonged exposure to the increased noise produced by the industry.

Let’s consider these charges.

In the Local Voices column published in the Hays Daily News on April 18, 2007, I cited one scholarly journal, Noise and Health, as the source for the heart of my material. This is a peer-reviewed journal, which is to say that when persons do some research, the report on their research is considered by others who are expert in the field before the editor gives the OK to publish the research. This research is published both on paper and on the internet.

This article was published in 2004. Have human physiological reactions to prolonged exposure to noise, particularly low frequency noise, changed considerably since 2004?

I suspect not. It would seem that some of us having been doing research, and that the research is reasonably current.

I also cited the work of a commission put together by the British government’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, which is also available on the internet. Here the critics may have some point, though I am not sure.
They may have some point because here in the United States, President Bush issued Executive Order 13422 on January 18, 2007, which specified, among other things, that ``Within 60 days of the date of this Executive order, each agency head shall designate one of the agency's Presidential Appointees to be its Regulatory Policy Officer….''

It also says, `Unless specifically authorized by the head of the agency, no rule making shall commence nor be included on the Plan without the approval of the agency's Regulatory Policy Office….”

When we put these together, they certainly seem to be saying that every agency should have a political appointee—not someone protected by civil service—who will make sure that all of the rule making and all of the “guidance documents” (though I did not quote that passage) will be able to be modified to serve political ends.

Thus, when a government department, albeit a British government department, puts forward conclusions, we do have reasons to think they may have put their political purposes ahead of their concern for the truth. It is hard for me to see, however, just what political ends the British government may be serving when it puts forward unwelcome truths, such as, “Children exposed to higher noise levels in the sample had significantly more problems with memory, concentration and sleep and also had higher cortisol levels.”

Other recent research has not yet been cited because it is too new. The National Research Council was charged by Congress with reviewing “the positive and negative environmental impacts of wind-energy development, including effects on landscapes, views, wildlife, habitats, pollution, and greenhouse gases.” This report was published May 3, 2007, less than two weeks ago.

The National Research Council says that using industrial wind power generation facilities will help slow the increase the greenhouse gases, though it will not help with air pollution. And it is wind power’s contribution to slowing the process of global warming that is the feature most attractive to many of us.

And the National Research Council report also points to some of the environmental costs. For example, even if proponents of industrial power generation claim that their pet house cat is more of a danger to birds than a turbine is, the report says that “somewhere between 20,000 and 37,000 [birds] died in 2003 as a result of collisions with wind-energy facilities.”

The National Research Council report says that nationwide there is not a big impact on property values of all private property within a ten-mile radius. However, it notes, “Aesthetic impacts could be important, especially when a property is valuable for a purpose incompatible with wind-energy projects, such as to experience life in a remote and relatively untouched area. In this scenario a view that includes a wind-energy project may detract from property values.”

But the NRC’s biggest conclusion is that “federal, state and local agencies
should adopt a consistent approach to evaluating the planning, regulation, and location of wind-energy projects. This National Research Council report proposes a framework that can help in evaluating tradeoffs between the benefits of new wind-energy projects and risks of adverse environmental impacts before projects begin.”

The NRC proposes a framework, but this framework has not been used by the federal government, by State of Kansas, or by Ellis County in framing rules and making decisions about industrial wind power facilities. Remember, the report came out less than two weeks ago.

Research that is more up-to-date than the presentation by CPV Wind Hays and from what is probably a more reliable source than CPV Wind Hays tells us that the county should not give approval to the establishment of an industrial power generation facility until the government gets its act together in genuinely working for the health, safety, and welfare of both people and environment.

And when they do, I am confident they will say that wind turbines should not be placed on the edge of cities.

That’s what the research tells us.

Submitted by Paul Faber, Hays, Kansas

To Sign the Petition:
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

100 Families Feel Terrorized by Project

I was surprised to receive in Monday's mail a heartfelt letter from proponents of the wind energy development pleading for public support - all five of them (in contrast to OUR 100 families).

Why now, one week before the zoning board votes, why not several years ago when they began planning this project? Could it be they are worried that public support for their project is sagging? At least they have had the courage to finally step forward and be publicly recognized as the would-be profiteers - mostly three extended families who will receive more than 80% of the turbines and the financial gain from this project. Some quotes from the letter are quite astonishing. We are told that the project deserves support because it will:

"Protect our quality of life… help preserve our county's aesthetics and rural character."

Really? Consider that more than 100 families feel terrorized by this project and now live in daily fear of their peaceful rural environment being forcibly industrialized. These residents are convinced that their quality of life will be destroyed, just so a few people can make a lot of money without regard for their neighbors' peace of mind or diminished property values.

How on earth do 140 towers, each 400 feet tall, with flashing lights and continuously spinning blades the size of a 747, constitute a preservation of rural aesthetics? The whole southern half of Hays will never see a normal prairie sunset again, but rather one that flickers through the spinning blades and flashing lights of a long line of giant egg-beaters cluttering the horizon. During 6-8 months of construction, we will be subjected to heavy vehicles that will cover us in dust, congest traffic, and damage our roads and bridges. I will be afraid to walk my dog or even let my cats out.

"Provide millions of dollars in economic activity…"

Really? This has not been the experience of other communities. Wind farm developers import most of their labor and equipment and minimize all local expenditures. Very few permanent jobs are created, and half of these go to trained technicians from elsewhere. The annual donation to the county amounts to an unsecured bribe, and an insultingly small one in comparison to others. There certainly are millions of dollars involved though - all of them our tax dollars going straight into the pockets of a big Spanish company in the form of massive subsidies.

"Produce clean, renewable energy…"

Really? Is it clean? Wind power is not clean - it is a very expensive way of producing unreliable, intermittent electricity. It is considered by many a form of environmental vandalism that scars vast tracts of land, destroys scenery and view-sheds, and diminishes property values, all without replacing a single conventional power generation facility. It is a big 'greenwash' scam being perpetrated on taxpayers by big corporations invested in oil, gas, and other forms of power generation who are not just harvesting our tax dollars, but also betting they will be able to raise the price of our electricity in a year of two. As far as powering 60,000 households, how many households would want to depend on the wind blowing 30 mph before they can cook dinner or turn on their air conditioning?

Another development is the resignation of Lance Russell from the zoning board - as if that could possibly exonerate him from years of conflict of interest in engineering this deal. It is common knowledge that he and another former zoning board member were instrumental in inviting CPV to Hays in order get this project sited on their family's land. They made sure that new zoning regulations were as 'wind farm friendly' as possible - all 1 ½ pages of them.

It is all a matter of public record. The same regulations limiting residents to 2 ½ story buildings allow monstrous towers 40 stories high with massive spinning blades and flashing lights to be placed a mere 1000 feet from people's homes. This project has driven a wedge into this community and damaged many long term friendships.

Legal irregularities abound in this process that will certainly come to light in any lawsuit. There have been two rounds of legal notifications regarding the conditional use permit and yet numerous affected residents have yet to receive one. The permit application was submitted by CPV, rather than by the landholders themselves as law dictates. Permission slips were later obtained by CPV to cover the discrepancy. There are no signs posted around the proposed area as recommended by law.

There is still no legal description of the affected area available for public viewing in the county zoning office, as required by law. The actual boundaries are still in question. Black boxes with sound meters are being placed by our roadsides without any of the permits required for such listening devices.

We are all left with many questions.

Who is going to protect the safety of our homes, families and quality of life as our own zoning regulations clearly mandate?

Angie Grant
1189 180th Avenue

To Sign the Petition:
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Friday, May 11, 2007

Crystals and turbines

The following actually comes from Jacinta Faber. (It just happened to be easier to use Paul Faber info to log in.)

After reading the article “Where the wind blows” in Friday’s HDN, it would seem that the good people of Spearville have had nary an ache nor a pain since the turbines went up in their area. The heading of the article could easily have been “The Magical Healing Powers of Turbines.” First we had crystals, now we have turbines. Of course, sensible people would agree that turbines cannot make us healthy, but we do know they can make us sick.

I am happy for Mr. Hill that he is living well with turbines around him. Others have not faired as well. A point we should consider in studying any type of health issue is the idea that there are differences in people’s susceptibility to illness. My Grandma Giebler ate a diet high in animal fat all her life. She lived to 95 years. My Grandpa Giebler ate a similar diet and died of a massive heart attack at the age of 62. Some people smoke for years and do not develop lung cancer and others do. A recently acknowledged risk factor for some undergoing chemotherapy is memory loss. The loose term given to this condition is called “chemo-brain.” Again, some present this symptom: others do not.

“Wind Turbine Syndrome” is a cluster of symptoms which start when local turbines go into operation and resolve when the turbines are off—which they are some of the time depending upon the strength of the wind—or if the person physically removes himself from the area. These symptoms include: headaches, dizziness, unsteadiness, nausea, sleep disturbances due to the sensations of pulsation or pressure, and problems concentrating. Of course not all people develop the symptoms, but some do.

What is disturbing me now, besides the real possibility that my family and neighbors will be exposed to this potential danger, is the lack of interest the HDN is taking in our plight. So far coverage has been heavy on CPV Hays Wind and light on citizen’s concerns. Yes, they publish our letters in which we are allowed to plead our case, but we need more exposure. Ellis County deserves fair and balanced coverage of this very important issue that will affect the entire county. One way HDN could make up for this act of omission is to interview people who are experiencing the negative side effects of having wind turbines close to their homes. There are plenty of examples. The reporting staff may want to contact Wendy Todd, a resident of Mars Hill, Maine, who has suffered enough that she was given time to testify in front the Maine State Legislature. Another way would be to talk with Dr. Nina Pierpont, a physician who has no ties to the oil, gas, coal, or wind industry. Dr. Pierpont has been tireless in her efforts to protect citizens from the real health problems stemming from turbines close to homes. I know she would love to visit.

When it comes to my family’s health who should I believe, Krista Jo Gordon, an electrical engineer and a wind farm sales person, or Nina Pierpont, a graduate from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who also holds a PhD in Population Biology from Princeton University?

If I can not find a crystal, could somebody please hand me a turbine?

Jacinta Faber

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Electric Windmill Magic Revealed

Correction: Although what I posted below may be true for some of the earlier models of large windmills, it is not true for the later models such as those installed in Spearville. Specifically, there are no longer electric motors used to start or maintain blade movement under low wind conditions, only to control yaw and blade pitch. The blades begin to turn under wind power at around 8 mph, but don't peak in energy generation until wind speed is 31 mph.

CPV has also claimed that the 'blade thump' problem has been eliminated by placing the rotor assembly forward of the mast, instead of to the rear. Although I have not been able to verify this, it would certainly prevent air turbulence created behind the mast from being 'chopped' by the blades passing through it. Although generator noise is substantial, it appears very well insulated within the tower. However, the higher frequency 'wooshing' noises do increase significantly as a function of wind speed. J.P.M.

Electric Windmill Magic Revealed

Why is it that people who tour wind energy installations with their developers always come away with the impression that their machines are quiet? At first I figured it was because standing underneath a windmill you don’t hear the same noise you would at some distance. While this is true, the whole truth is far more insidious and deceitful. The reason they are so quiet is that they are typically NOT GENERATING ANY POWER when the tour is brought through.

It’s all in the blade pitch

Apart from orienting the whole nacelle and blade assembly into the wind, electric motors also control the angle of the blades relative to their plane of rotation. There are basically three orientations that can be achieved, with a range of intermediate orientations possible.

Motorized ‘wind riding’: Feathering

With the blades angled with their edges pointing directly into the wind (zero degree pitch), air flows over the blades without turning them. No power is being generated, but blade resistance to wind flow is minimized and no aerodynamic noise is produced because air turbulence is minimal. This is called ‘feathering’ and is one orientation used to minimize power consumption when there is insufficient wind for power generation. If the blades are turning in this configuration they are actually UNDER POWER and consuming electricity. Because of the sheer size and mass of the blades, it is more economic to keep them turning with a small amount of electricity than it is to start them from rest.

Motorized ‘wind riding’: Slicing

With the blades angled at 90 degrees to the flow of wind, air resistance to blade rotation is minimized, so this is another configuration that can be used to minimize power consumption and keep blades turning when wind is insufficient for power generation. Once again, no power is being generated and no aerodynamic noise is produced, but if the blades are turning in this configuration they are once again UNDER POWER and drawing electricity out of the grid. This configuration is especially deadly for birds and bats because they feel no air turbulence as they fly through the plane of rotation to warn them of on-coming blades set in a ‘slicing’ orientation.

Power Generation

In order to generate power, the blades must be angled at 45 degrees to the wind. Any 10-year old with a hand-held pin wheel knows this. However, unlike the handheld pinwheel, the blades of large windmills are very narrow in order to reduce material fatigue and increase their elasticity under various unpredictable loading forces. Unfortunately, very narrow blades capture very little wind, although by virtue of their sheer mass, combined with mechanical resistance within the gearbox and generator (this can be varied by the operator), they require up to 500 hp just to start turning in ‘idle’ mode – without any power generation yet. This means the wind must blow at some minimum speed before idle rotation can be achieved (this varies among turbine models, but can be as high as 30 mph for the largest ones) and blow at speeds higher than that before actual power generation can occur. So any time you see a wind turbine rotating when the wind speed is low it is DRAWING POWER from the grid – not generating it.

When power generation begins, the gearbox is engaged to convert the low speed rotation into the higher speed rotation necessary for current to be generated by electromagnetic induction. This is typically accompanied by a loud droning noise, reminiscent of a 4-cylinder motorcycle engine. An absence of this noise is another sign that no power is being generated and that turning blades are being driven by electricity, not by wind.

Furthermore, it is only when power is being generated that substantial aerodynamic turbulence is created in the air passing over the blades. At a 45 degree blade pitch, turbulence now follows each blade through its revolution, like a wake following a boat. Every time a blade reaches the vertical position pointing straight down, the mast of the windmill is physically ‘slapped’ by this invisible ‘wake’, producing the low frequency noise and vibration known as ‘blade thump’. Neither blade thump nor any mechanical noise will be heard unless the turbine is actually generating power, which is usually only a small fraction of the time it is actually spinning.

The next time you see a wind turbine ask yourself these questions.

Are the blades angled 45 degrees into the wind ?
Is the wind blowing above 20 mph ?
Is any mechanical noise evident within the proximity of the turbine ?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, and the turbine blades are turning, they are actually DRAWING POWER FROM THE GRID – not generating it !

Consequently, it is a simple little ‘magic trick’ for wind developers conducting tours of their installations to ensure there is no power generation under way when visitors arrive – only motorized wind riding – and their machines seem serenely silent to all observers, all the while drawing power that must be produced by other forms of generation.

My sincere thanks to Eugene Kalwa, Ph.D. of Toronto, Ontario for sharing his technical analysis of what he refers to as “the bogus electric windmill scam”.

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Too Many Questions & Not Enough Answers

Keith Pfannenstiel, resident of Ellis County, writes this:

Since taking it upon myself to learn as much about this project as I can, I have had many questions that won’t seem to leave my mind.

Zoning was sold to the citizens of Ellis County as a means to protect us from various imagined ills. The more I learn, the more I am convinced that we are owed an explanation as to why the process resulted in such little protection of the citizens against the industrialization of massive areas of Ellis County land.

We the people should demand a thorough investigation into the process by which zoning was introduced, approved and written. My research has indicated that this investigation should include the conflict of interest concerning a few of the landowners (and their immediate family) who have participated in this very process, all the while knowing they have significant financial interest to bring the wind development here.

Unfortunately, the problems don’t stop there. The project area included in the application goes from 170th Avenue to 220th Avenue east-west and Munjor Road to Old Highway 40 north-south.

Why weren’t the people living in Prairie Acres, Woodland Addition to those along Noose Road notified?

This brings the boundary of the project within a mile of the city limits of Hays. Why haven’t the citizens of the city or their representatives been involved in the process?

From the current research data on other wind complexes of similar size and constitution, the projected water usage from the Big Creek Aquifer will be very substantial.

What effects will this have on the people in Hays and surrounding communities?

Why haven’t there been any independent studies required by the county to understand the potential effects of this massive project and its monster machines on:

• health and safety
• economic impact
• water depletion and contamination
• property value loss
• view shed and aesthetic impact
• legal ramifications
• expansion of Hays and rural areas
• roads and bridges
• landowner contracts and liability
• radar, cellular and other communication interference
• construction process
• aviation
• impact of loss of taxes
• wind measurements of regional western Kansas, not just the projected area

If these studies are not done, we are entirely dependent on the sales pitch of CPV. Are we to believe that all of these unintended consequences to Ellis County, some of which will not show up for several years, will be taken care of by a corporation in Spain (that is if they still own it)?

Why did our commissioners send a letter to DisGen in 2005 stating that Ellis County is interested in wind development without doing any of those homework?

It took me roughly five minutes to find a model ordinance for counties to follow in setting up zoning regulations for industrial wind developments. Several counties have followed this advice and came up with 20-plus pages of regulations necessary to protect its citizenry.

Why did Ellis County hire a consultant who is supposed to specialize in wind development, only to end up with less than a page and a half of protection for the citizens of Ellis County?

Could this have something to do with the conflict of interest, as well?

I won’t argue with anyone whether or not wind energy is the answer. I will, however, argue that this project brings with it tremendous risks to all the citizens of Ellis County due to the conflicts of interest in the zoning process, which resulted in the poor choice of location, poor regulation of these developments and lack of independent studies to verify the claims of the developer.

I would ask all the citizens of Ellis County to join me in demanding a moratorium on these projects until these and any questions uncovered by a comprehensive investigation are answered. Wind farm questions must be answered.

(Submitted by Keith Pfannenstiel, resident of Ellis County)

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Character & Vision

Ask anyone, “What are the three most important factors in real estate development?” and they will tell you, “Location, location and location”. Consequently, it is no surprise that the selection of the location for the industrial wind development proposal in Ellis County is at the center of the current debate. As most are aware, substantial problems have been identified with this particular location. Even still, I would submit to you that the debate about the location of this development is about more than just physical space occupied by the monstrous industrial machines; it’s about the character of an entire community.

As we all know, various communities have differing interests in the types of development they desire. For example, Lawrence (Douglas County) has depicted itself with a progressive flair, with the University of Kansas at the center of its image. Dodge City has held out the “Cow-town” banner, accompanied by large feedlots, packing houses and images of the old west. Larned has sustained their community with a multitude of programs housing both patients with severe mental illnesses and high risk criminal populations. Each community has its own image and as a result, attracts that type of development.

What kind of image does Hays want? Currently we have two major industries here, education and medical service. Hays is not an “industrial” town. In this way, we attract developments, and have an image more like Lawrence than Larned or Dodge City. Most of the people who stay in or relocate to Hays chose to do so, at least in part, for that reason.

To maintain an image, communities are cautious about the types of development they allow. For instance, it is unlikely that Lawrence and Douglas County would allow the types of development that Larned or Dodge City attract. In fact, it’s not just unlikely, it is well documented.

A couple years ago, Lawrence garnered state wide news coverage after it was revealed that a single sex offender from Larned was set to be released and housed in a state operated and staffed facility inside the city limits. Despite the fact he was to have around the clock supervision, the community reacted with fury, resulting in the passage of very restrictive zoning laws regarding where such individuals were allowed to live.

In effect, Lawrence used the power of zoning to protect the character of the community. Lawrence has long cultivated their image as a hub of education and culture, and their leaders rightfully recognized that if developments of this kind were allowed into their community, it would certainly begin to change the way people perceive them. This change would ultimately result in an overall loss of economic opportunity, as they would no longer be able to attract or maintain the kind of development they desire.

Interestingly, this same individual lived for many quiet years in Larned prior to his proposed move to Lawrence. What is more, it may surprise some to learn that Larned welcomed not just this one offender, but entire facilities of them. The community of Larned has also worked hard to cultivate an image, and this in turn has lead to the attraction of these programs. When one looks at the realities that Larned and other small Kansas towns face, it makes perfect sense. Without a niche, these communities could not survive in the current economic reality of Northwest Kansas.

Spearville, Montezuma and other communities that have welcomed industrial wind have difficulty attracting development of any kind. If industrial wind developments do have a positive economic benefit, they are far more likely to do so in communities such as these. Whatever the case, it is obvious that when a community allows a wind development, it changes the character and image of that community from that point forward. (What do you think of when you think of Spearville?) Unfortunately, these small communities have little to lose, either accept a new image or slowly decline into oblivion.

Ellis County is the largest population center in northwest Kansas and the only one not declining over time. Hays is the economic, educational, medical and cultural hub of Northwest Kansas and as such, we have the luxury of being more like Lawrence than Larned. We can be more selective about the kind of development we allow. It is essential to continue to mold the character of our community in harmony with the image we would like to project. If we allow a development of this kind, it will surely result in a change of character, a net economic loss and a reduction of overall development and growth.

Zoning was designed and implemented to promote a vision for Ellis County and to protect against threats to that vision. Soon our elected representatives will decide whether or not to rezone over 20,000 acres of Ellis county land for an industrial wind development right next to Hays. Before they do, there are two questions that they need to ask themselves. What is the vision for the character of our community? What kind of development is consistent with that character?

As they weigh these and other questions regarding the industrial wind proposal, we all should do the same. This is our community, our character and our vision. Our voice should be heard.

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Wind Farm Worries Have Large Personal Impacts

(Submitted to Hays Daily May 7, 2007 by J.P. Michaud)

By now, my name is probably recognizable to many in town as one of the more outspoken opponents of the wind energy development in Hays. I belong to all three of the groups described by Paul Faber in his editorial: I feel the siting of this project is entirely inappropriate, I have little faith in the ability of wind power to make any meaningful contribution to renewable energy, and I am outraged by the devious and undemocratic process by which this project has been foisted on unsuspecting citizens.

I have researched extensively the dangers of industrial wind energy, helped establish our website, and organized our community presentation on May 2. But all this has not been accomplished without tremendous personal cost; financial, professional, psychological and medical, and I am sure the same can be said for many others in our group.

If you have the read the letters submitted to the Hays Daily by Jeannie Riedel, Sheryl Butler, Jacinta Faber, Tim Davis, Gary Hammersmith (below) and others, you already have some insight into the personal impact this project is having on people’s lives – and its construction hasn’t even begun. So this time I want to speak to the personal impact on my family and on our whole outlook on our future here in Hays.

We are here because almost 5 years ago I accepted a position at K-State University to serve as a research and extension entomologist at the Agricultural Research Center in Hays. It was a chance to end my life as an ‘academic gypsy’ – still floating between temporary research positions at the age of 44 – and purchase a house with the knowledge I had a permanent job and could finally settle down. I was also enthusiastic about the challenge of supporting sustainable agriculture in western Kansas and researching better ways for local farmers to protect their crops. Like others in our group, I was also adamant about finding a country homestead for the peace, quiet and privacy of rural living. The old Kinderknect property was the only one that fit the bill – I knew it would need some work, but the location was perfect. I bought it sight unseen. Now, after four years of weekend work and an additional investment of $100,000, we have a small, but fully renovated farmhouse that meets all our needs – in exactly the right setting for us and our animals. The dream was almost a reality.

Now, my home office now looks like the command post of a military operation – cluttered with maps, bulky government reports, stickies with names and phone numbers stuck to every surface.

My wife and I share research findings until all hours of the night, squabble for time on the internet, argue incessantly about opposition strategy, sleep irregular hours, and hardly seem to taste our food when we get around to eating. It was 5 days past our wedding anniversary before we realized we had BOTH forgotten it this year.

My phone rings a lot more than it used to and many new friends and acquaintances are welcomed into our house at all hours of the day and night, often without a moments notice. We used to go weeks and months without a single visitor.

Now I am the first to admit that I am a rather nervous person by nature and probably suffer higher than normal stress levels under average circumstances, mostly work-related and self-inflicted. But as the true dimensions of our impending doom became clear to me back in March, every other endeavor in our lives, personal and professional, became inconsequential by comparison.

I have had to take time off work, abandon my workout schedule, delay manuscript submissions, turn down requests for academic services I normally provide for free, find a physician, seek legal counsel, and liquidate substantial assets in preparation for an extended legal battle.

I have lost 14 pounds in the past month, my resting heart rate has increased by 20 bpm, and I have been prescribed medication to reduce hypertension. Just waking up in the morning every day brings an immediate surge of anxiety that jolts me back to reality – everything we have worked for is now at risk thanks to the selfish greed of a few rich families who somehow feel entitled to increase their wealth even further at the expense of their neighbors’ investments, peace of mind, and quality of life.

So now the future holds many new questions for my wife and I, questions we cannot yet answer.

  1. Can we continue to effectively serve agriculture in this county when local agricultural representatives are among those farmers out to prostitute their land for this project that, in our view, constitutes a blatant assault on its agricultural integrity?
  2. Can I find the motivation for that job any longer?
  3. Do we want to continue living next to neighbors we can no longer trust?
  4. Should we both just quit our jobs and sell up and leave for the sake of our health and our marriage?
  5. We are now in week seven of the war. How much longer can we physically maintain the exorbitant amount of time and effort necessary to mount organized opposition against these forces of greed and corporate opportunism threatening our community?
Maybe our lives will go never back to what they were when we lived in peace and blissful ignorance of the cloud of evil gathering around us, but at least we have met a lot of other neighbors that we can trust. Neighbors we wish we had met five years ago. And that might be just enough reason to hang around for a while longer.

J.P. Michaud

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Contribute to our efforts!

Our coalition is made up of just everyday citizens. All of our efforts (community events, website, mail-outs, free DVDs, etc.) require funds to keep going. If we could meet each and every citizen of Ellis County in person, we feel sure that each person would wish to support our efforts. However, try as we do with all our might, we simply don't have the manpower or time to individually meet each person. This is why we are using a variety of methods to reach out to our Ellis County neighbors. All of these efforts require a little bit of fund. Help us reach out!

Please consider making a contribution, no matter how small. Every dollar helps! Please send your check payable to Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition to: P.O. Box 464, Hays, KS, 67601

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Sleepless Nights: My Story & My Feelings

Gary Hammersmith, a member of our Coalition, submitted this personal letter to the Hays Daily News this week. These are Gary's own words:

Years of work at risk due to wind farm It’s 2:30 a.m. when I start writing. Seems like I only get two or three full nights of sleep per week anymore.

Now I wake up during the night thinking about industrial wind turbines and just how wonderful it’ll be living under one or two and what they’re going to do to my property value and most of all I worry about what they will do to my health. I’ve already had a heart attack and bypass surgery and if these things do cause heart problems, my future doesn’t look too promising, does it?

It’s about 25 years since my wife, Linda, and I bought what was then the remains of the old Yocemento Feed Lot.

I spent two years cleaning up what was left of the pens and concrete slabs, then I planted trees on the spot where we had planned to build our house. We hauled water from town to keep them alive because we had no water well or electricity on the place yet.

After we built our home (which most of the work was done by myself, Linda, and my children), we started adding outbuildings such as a nice machine shed and an old-style barn with a new-style price. I thought with the acreage we had added to the buildings, my family would be able to sell it someday to someone with horses.

With these wind turbines across the roads, it’s really doubtful anyone with horses will be interested in this property, or anyone else for that matter.

I don’t understand why the people who are being affected the most are being ignored the most. Well, we do exist and we have lives too. But who cares, right? We can’t let the little people’s lives get in the way of all that money now, can we?

It’s kind of funny how this was done, too. Sneak in under the radar, hand-pick who is needed to make decisions, and then try to buy everyone else in the country.

Our commissioners have made a decision about a race track north of Hays because of the dust and noise. It’s bothering the people who live around it. OK, is it hazardous to their health? Does it affect their property values? In a few years, these kids will quit racing and everything will be normal. Where I live, this will never go away. Property values will suffer and some of us will have to leave.

I would like to please ask our commissioners to think of the people instead of the money.

Wind energy is a good thing. There’s plenty of land for wind farms that’s less populated. Now it’s 4 in the morning and I do have to work tomorrow. I would like to thank the wind farm and my neighbors for this sleepless night and I know that there will be more.

So many affected by so few. This is just my story and feelings — there are more people and more stories.

(Submitted by Gary Hammersmith, Hays, Kansas)

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

80 Families Express Opposition in Hays

On May 2nd, Paul Faber, a member of our coalition, submitted this column to the local paper, Hays Daily News. In it he explains a bit about the community meeting to be held that evening at the Fox Pavilion and why more than eighty local families are opposing the building of an industrial wind complex so close to Hays. These are Paul's words:

On April 25, The Hays Daily News ran a fairly extensive news story on the proposed development of the industrial wind power generation plant west and southwest of Hays. That article stated that about 80 local families have expressed their opposition so far, but it did not say much about why there is this opposition.

Let me try to explain very briefly some of the multiple sources of opposition. But please understand that this is an extremely brief explanation of each. More information is available at a public meeting being held tonight in the Fox Pavilion, starting at 7 p.m. and sponsored by the Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition. I am a member of this group.

I would say that the opposition can be divided into three groups, and these groups often overlap. The first and largest group, I think, is the group of those who favor the development of wind power but who object to building these wind turbines so close to existing homes.

Because there is so much available space in western Kansas and because there are risks or drawbacks to construction of wind turbines near where people live, to many of us it seems like the best thing to do is build wind turbine operations in less populated areas and compensate those who would live dangerously close so that they can move.

I will explain these risks and drawbacks in a just a minute.

A second group of people have concerns that go even deeper. There are some who point out that wind power is not actually as helpful to the environment, as “green,” as it may look on first glance. They point out, among other things, that even though wind turbines are better than coal-fired power plants because the turbines produce no carbon after they have been built, there is a lot of carbon produced in the construction of the wind turbines and towers. In fact, it takes the wind turbines about seven years of operation just to make up for the greenhouse gases produced in building them. Since a turbine probably has a lifespan of about 30 years, that means that about one quarter of its life is must making up for the additional carbon produced in getting it built in the first place.

And, of course, there are other aspects of the environment that also suffer or may suffer from the wind turbines. The flow of groundwater may be affected; wildlife may be harmed.

A third group of people may or may not favor the industrial wind power development, but they are quite upset by the seemingly underhanded way in which this has come about.

After the Hays Daily News reported more than a year ago that the project was apparently dead, other actions favorable to the development of the industrial wind generation project went forward without the knowledge of the general public.

So there are people concerned about what they think may be collusion and corruption. But let’s go back to the first group and the reasons some have for holding that there are risks and drawbacks to the development of industrial wind.

For me personally, the biggest concern is the noise and its effect on health. Doctors whose patients live within a mile or so of the wind turbines report that the noises — including some “noise” so low that our ears do not actually pick it up though the vibrations strike us — produce a much higher incidence than normal of the following things: sleep problems, headaches, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, anxiety, depression, interference with learning and ringing in one’s ears.

Our nothing-special vacuum cleaner — an ordinary Eureka — makes a sound that comes in at about 25 or 26 decibels when one is 10 feet away from it. I sure would not want to sleep with this vacuum cleaner running in the far corner of our bedroom.

Yet the sound measured more than a half-mile from the 20 wind turbines outside of Meyersdale, Pa., came in at about 50 decibels in the audible range and about 65 decibels when you add the low frequency noise. Since CPV is proposing putting turbines less than a half-mile from residences, we can expect the outside noise to be pretty uncomfortable. I can understand where the headaches will be coming from.

These health risks occur when the turbines are working the way they are designed to work.

Then there are also dangers that come from times when the turbines do not work the way they are supposed to, from accidents and natural occurrences, for example. At other installations, ice sometimes develops on the blades and gets thrown off.

Though Ms. Krista Jo Gordon of CPV Wind Hays says that her turbines will have technology that senses ice build up on the turbine blades, it does so by noting an imbalance. Thus, when we get a freezing drizzle, the kind that coats twigs and branches equally with a coating of ice, the ice may very well build up equally on the blades. This would not be detected by the type of sensor Ms. Gordon described.

So those of us who live near these installations could still possibly be struck by hunks of ice thrown by the blades.

Tonight I expect that people will probably have a dozen more things to bring up: aesthetics, property values (predicted to decline by 30 percent), interference with communications, the impact on roads and land during construction, taking down the towers at the end of their life, the unenforceability
of the commitment of CPV to make a payment to the county in place of taxes, the possible illegality of that type of payment (it can look like a bribe).

So there are lots of reasons that 80 families are objecting to the development of the industrial wind power generation facility so close to our homes.

One can favor the development of wind power generation but believe that this project is not a good one.

Submitted by Paul Faber

(Submitted by Paul Faber on May 2nd. Paul Faber has been teaching philosophy at Fort Hays State University for 20 years.)

To Sign the Petition:
If you are an Ellis County, Kansas, resident and you wish to support a petition to stop this wind farm from being constructed next to Hays, Kansas, you can follow this link and leave your name, real address, and a single comment about your support of this petition. Click here now!