There was shock, surprise, and humor in the media when Trump not only denounced wind “mills” for intermittency, lack of predictable value, property losses, and bird kills but also topped his discussion with
“They say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, okay?”
Is President Trump correct in his five critical points? Even the last one? Or is it possible, as Trevor Noah suggested, turbines might be the only things that don’t cause cancer.
Electricity must be consumed the moment it is produced. Storage to allow deviations is prohibitively expensive in all but the rarest of settings. And it has always been this way.
Trump said, “Honey I’d like to watch TV tonight: are the turbines working?” And then his quotation from the Washington Republican fundraiser:
“Is the wind blowing? I’d love to watch a show tonight, darling. The wind hasn’t blown for three days. I can’t watch television, darling. Darling, please, tell the wind to blow.”
Using humor, and drawing applause for his educable moment, Trump outlined the primordial problem of intermittency. The President is correct.
2. Low Market Value (subsidies required)
The case for wind subsidies has been thoroughly debunked by many writers, including Robert Bryce, Jerry Graf, Robert Bradley, and more.
“It takes enormous amounts of taxpayer cash to make wind energy seem affordable,” writes Bryce. Start with the federal Production Tax Credit and continue with all sorts of local, state, and US Department of Energy favors.
Name any developer and find its association with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Total all of the government favors.
Corporate welfare, special business privilege, cronyism. Start with GE, which took over Enron Wind in 2002. Continue with NextEra Energy, the parent of Florida Power & Light, which “has received about 50 grants and tax credits from local, state, and federal entities as well as federal loans and loan guarantees worth $5.5 billion…. more than what the veteran crony capitalist Elon Musk has garnered.has received.”
Then add US subsidies going to foreign developers from Germany, Norway, Taiwan, Spain, China. A ruse is going on that Trump needs to help stop.
3. Property Value Loss
For those unfortunate to live near wind turbines, lost value is the norm, even to the bitter end point of nonsaleability. Regrets for hosting are numerous and heart wrenching. Property loss is the wind developer’s curse that keeps on taking.
Consider this example (from Ireland).
“What we have seen is the misery and suffering they have caused local families who not only have to endure the noise and shadow flicker the wind turbines produce, but now face the realisation that their family homes are worth up to 80 per cent less than their market value,” said Yvonne Cronin, spokeswoman for Communities for Responsible Engagement with Wind Energy….”
It’s difficult, again, to argue that Trump is wrong. Country after country shows that folks just don’t want to live near them, and tourists seem to avoid them as well. Results from a Scottish study, “confirm that a significant minority (20% to 30%) of tourists preferred landscapes without wind farms.”
Various studies by Hoen (some quite old) and others finding minimal impacts to property values have been discredited. Chicago Real Estate Appraiser, Chuck McCann, for one, debunked Ben Hoen’s methodology and conclusions. McCann found that Hoen excluded relevant data, misquoted opinions, and used unreliable methods. Hoen is not licensed as an Appraiser, and he admits little knowledge of impacts beyond one-half mile of turbines.
Energy and Policy Institute, another banquet of misinformation, suggests that there are no impacts to property values.
The AWEA counter-intuitively states: “Fortunately, many studies have shown that wind power increases the value of homes with turbines on the property. And importantly, it does not affect nearby neighbors’ property values long-term.” Try to explain why. Do people love the sight from the front porch? Do they like the noise? Flicker? Hardly. The claimed value creator is new services from higher tax receipts, as if tax abatements were not the norm and rural residents wanted more urbanization.
“There have been three major North American studies suggesting that devaluation of properties due to proximity to turbines is not real. (REPP, also known as the Sterzinger study, 2003, was one study, with subject properties too far from turbines to be relevant; secondly, the largest study in the USA in 2009 by Hoen, now widely disputed; and thirdly, the Canning study, an equally fickle presentation with numerous flaws in 2010. Wayne Gulden of Wind Farm Realities has provided an excellent overview and critique of these industry-favored reports and can be linked to here.)
These studies are in direct opposition to the realities of social and economic displacement, personal and financial loss that is internationally unprecedented. A new website, www.windturbinepropertyloss.org provides summary materials and emerging events around property loss and wind turbine sprawl, suggesting that a robbery is well under way, stretching well beyond 30 years, and knowing no geographical limits. Some of the focus is on individual lives shattered by loss of property values.
Roger Oliveira, formerly of Melancthon, Ontario, writes eloquently of his sense of loss of his dreams, as well as his finances. In an open letter questioning the wind developer, he asks, “How much is my dream worth?” (Please see Featured Story for Roger’s letter, and the map of the surrounding turbines.)”
4. Bird (and Bat) Kills
This could be Trump’s favorite subject.
The suppression of actual mortality numbers and the life chains of kills is sinister. The US Fish and Wildlife Service quotes 585,000 dead birds and 800,000 bats per year, but the numbers are much deeper because of as much as 95% underreporting.
In some instances, clean ups are undertaken of the “skirt” area to be examined for mortality. (Developers are known to do voluntary counts, choosing less impact areas and drastically less circumference than is realistic.) The real U.S. numbers are somewhere between 13-50 million per year.
Actually, most victims are flung up to 200 meters from the base of the turbine, scavenged or removed. Trump certainly is on the right track. Arguments that cats kill more birds are moot: when is the last time you saw a cat with a raptor in its mouth. Killing fields for birds, butterflies, bats: the eco-warriors that should be protectors against massive wind turbines are nowhere to be heard.
Cancer and Turbines
The President stated: “And they say the [wind turbine] noise causes Cancer.”
Support for this statement can come from broadly accepting “noise,” as we mostly do in common parlance, to include vibration, low frequency and Infra Sound, Pulsation and chaotic bouncing of those impacts between turbines. It is easy to scan the web and find the association between these impacts and disease.
Mariana Alves Pereira and Castelo Branco’s study on VAD (Vibro Acoustic Disease) is germane. They call it “whole body” cascade of impacts, pathology: in their words:
At present, infrasound (0-20 Hz) and low-frequency noise (20-500 Hz) (ILFN, 0-500 Hz) are agents of disease that go unchecked. Vibroacoustic disease (VAD) is a whole-body pathology that develops in individuals excessively exposed to ILFN. VAD has been diagnosed within several professional groups employed within the aeronautical industry, and in other heavy industries….. However, given the ubiquitous nature of ILFN and the absence of legislation concerning ILFN, VAD is increasingly being diagnosed among members of the general population, including children. VAD is associated with the abnormal growth of extra-cellular matrices (collagen and elastin), in the absence of an inflammatory process. In VAD, the end-product of collagen and elastin growth is reinforcement of structural integrity. This is seen in blood vessels, cardiac structures, trachea, lung, and kidney of both VAD patients and ILFN-exposed animals.
Some communities report cancer “clusters” not noticeable until a turbine installation. Some individuals previously in remission have reported sad re emergence of the disease. Researchers on VAD, Vibro Acoustic Disease, which should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue now along with ILFN (Infra and Low Frequency Noise), attest to “malignancies” or squamous cell carcinomas (SqCC) in VAD impacted helicopter pilots, for one example. Sleep deprivation, a key fallout from wind turbines too near, is indisputably responsible for pathways to disease.
“A few studies over the years have supported the notion that lack of sleep and poor sleep quality could be connected to cancer risk, particularly for lung and colorectal cancers. A 2017 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives noted an increased risk of breast cancer among participants who had higher exposures to nighttime light. These findings support the notion that disrupted circadian rhythms are part of the equation.”
Add that some people in remission, are sadly “post turbine” reporting aggressive cancers.
Additionally, turbines are Heart Jammers,” according to German researchers. Professor Wahl led a team of researchers, with the resulting conclusion: Prof. Vahl said: “The fundamental question of whether infrasound can affect the heart muscle has been answered.”
“We are at the very beginning, but we can imagine that long-term impact of infrasound causes health problems. The silent noise of infrasound acts like a heart jammer.”
It is also well known that electrical pollution and dirty electricity accompany the acoustic impacts. Animals and people suffer deeply. Do animals not like the “look” of turbines? Do they care about the lack of value to society, the property values?
Animals around the world are suffering to an almost unimaginable degree, along with humans. Reports are consistent world wide, of pets convulsing, shaking, dying, chickens being born without beaks, or giving yokeless eggs, dead goats from Taiwan, an entire flock assumed dead from lack of sleep or sensitivity to the noise and ILFN, a mink farm with 1600 miscarriages, or some species experiencing birth deformities. It’s as far away from the picture of “Green, Safe, and Non-polluting” as one could get.
High ground currents from stray voltage have been measured near multiple wind facilities, including Palm Springs and Campo, California. The latter has had ground currents measured at 1,000 times normal in the Manzanita Indians’ tribal hall and church near a wind facility on a neighboring reservation, according to measurements taken by Dr. Samuel Milham, author of Dirty Energy.
But the popular media continues its antique mythology. Now the media tells us turbines are as quiet as a lawnmower. Kaitlin Sullivan writes in Popular Science about President Trump’s speech where he adds cancer to the list of effects of industrial wind:
She writes about the noise: “This isn’t true—just ask anyone with a lawn mower, which are about as loud as a wind turbine, and much closer to people’s ears. It’s also not the only wind turbine myth in the popular consciousness, or the president’s public speeches.”
“Lawn mower noise” is another analogy akin to the previous, as noisy or as quiet as a bowl of Cheerios with milk, or a refrigerator. Some living near a turbine installation describe them as: a jet airplane going over head that doesn’t stop; a hammering; house is shaking; a deep rumble; a chaotic blend of noise, pulsation, and shadow flicker: “I feel it even when I can’t hear it.” (That would be pulsation and ILFN which is sub acoustic. Below 20 Hz. But you FEEL it. See the work of Acoustician Steven Cooper of AU for his blind study of renown.)
There are numerous absurdly comical comments circulating around the Trump announcement, one from Trevor Noah on the Daily Show, quoted in the Washington Post:
“Noah added: “I really can’t believe I have to say this people, but noise from windmills does not cause cancer. In fact, at this point, it’s probably the only thing that doesn’t cause cancer.”
Once that was cleared up, the host didn’t hesitate to gleefully tear into Trump’s years-long war against wind energy.”
These comedic pieces, accidental humor or not, are not useful, and do not reflect the anguish and loss perpetuated by the wind industry and its crony capitalists.
The media is having a hey day. The statements and inaccuracies might be laughable were the known turbine impacts on life and liberty not so seriously antithetical to claims of “saving the planet.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R) Iowa, asserts that Trump’s statement is “idiotic” (CNN). Senator Grassley shows a surprising lack of basic knowledge. But then the Senator noted to the Des Moines Register, (quoted in Business Insider), that Trump’s observations about wind impacts reflect negatively on his own fathering and grandfathering of the tax credits. It doesn’t show “much respect,” to himself.)
An example of an older media pieces minimalizing the impacts of ILFN and acoustic pulsation, as acoustician Steven Cooper calls it, Soundscapes, or vibrations and pulsations occurring at the rate of infrasound, can be read in The Atlantic (2017). The piece, “Why People Believe Low-Frequency Noise is Dangerous,” provides yet another example of a history of rather shallow cuts at the work of pioneer Nina Pierpont, author of “Wind Turbine Syndrome.” The denial and lack of understanding continues unabated.
Master Acoustician Steven Cooper references the work of Pierpont in his ground-breaking studies and research, this time at a Conference of experts in Crete:
Of relevance to the inaudible soundscape of a wind farm is the presence of amplitude modulation in the low frequency region, that modulates at an infrasound rate, at or near the threshold of hearing that has been identified (in ) and may support the following proposal: “Wind Turbine Syndrome, I propose, is mediated by the vestibular system—by disturbed sensory input to eyes, inner ears, and stretch and pressure receptors in a variety of body locations. These feed back neurologically onto a person’s sense of position and motion in space, which is in turn connected in multiple ways to brain functions as disparate as spatial memory and anxiety. Several lines of evidence suggest that the amplitude (power or intensity) of low frequency noise and vibration needed to create these effects may be even lower than the auditory threshold at the same low frequencies. Re-stating this, it appears that even low frequency noise or vibration too weak to hear can still stimulate the human vestibular system, opening the door for the symptoms I call Wind Turbine Syndrome.” Pierpont 2009
Cooper goes on to suggest that his work at Cape Bridgewater, written about in Master Resource, clearly shows that impacts are also largely a case of sensation, not even necessarily “audible noise.” His paper, “The Inaudible Soundscape of a Wind farm Euronoise 2018 Proceedings,” presented at the EAA (European Acoustics Association) conference, refers us again to the findings of the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where extensive evidence was gathered in relation to medical and acoustic impacts.
“Reference to pages 141 to 148 of the Decision notes that a significant portion of sound emitted by wind turbines in the low-frequency range and that the dB(A) weighting system is not designed to measure that sound and is not an appropriate way of measuring it.”
On the heels of the very important AA Tribunal Decisions, Dr. Sarah Laurie commented to Master Resource and NA-PAW (North American Platform Against Wind Power) in 2017:
“… the [Australian] Tribunal recognized that ‘wind turbine noise at times exceeds 40 dB(A), (which is a recognised threshold for annoyance/sleep disturbance)’; that a significant amount of sound energy emitted by wind turbines is in the low frequency noise range, so using the dB(A) weighting system is therefore inappropriate. The Tribunal recognized that ‘humans are more sensitive to low frequency sound, and it can therefore cause greater annoyance than higher frequency sound’; and that “even if it is not audible, low frequency noise and infrasound may have other effects on the human body, which are not mediated by hearing but also not fully understood. Those effects may include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus-like symptoms.”
– Dr. Laurie Sarah, note to North America Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW), December 17, 2017.
Again, Cooper emphasises that the soundscape of a wind turbine is not the same as road traffic or other industrial or city life noises. Anyone living within the area of an electrically charged turbine generator and its most unwelcome substations, will attest to this.
If you need the cancer and turbines conversation simply said, without long references, and useful game changing lectures by Dr. Mariana Alves Pereira, a world expert in VAD, all you really need to reflect on is:
“Do stress and lack of sleep contribute to the development of cancer? Yes.”
Does wind turbine noise raise stress levels and interrupt sleep? Yes.” (Eric Rosenbloom, President NA-PAW, North American Platform Against Wind Power)
If you have not heard President Trump proclaim any single asset to wind, perhaps he is right. There are none that we can locate. It is a black hole of waste and depreciation; lost value, lost life.
It is clear that industrial wind generation is not able to contribute anything against the problems of global warming, pollution, nuclear waste, or dependence on imports…..But industrial wind facilities are not just useless. They destroy the land, birds and bats, and the lives of their neighbors. Off shore, they endanger ships and boats and their low-frequency noise is likely harmful to sea mammals. They require subsidies and regulatory favors to make investment viable. They do not move us towards more sustainable energy sources and stand instead as monuments of delusion.
President Donald Trump frequently asserts that, “I know a LOT about wind, a LOT.”
I do not disagree.
Sherri Lange is CEO of the North American Platform Against Wind Power.