Proposed wind farms need to be scrutinized

Clean energy generators such as wind power are the wave of the future as the U.S. and other countries wean themselves off pollutant makers such as oil and coal.

Wind energy has several benefits. It doesn’t pollute the air or require any destructive chemicals. The wind is also free and it’s a renewable asset that can never be depleted. Landowners who rent area to wind farms can also earn additional cash.

But clean energy, as it turns it out, has some drawbacks.

Ask Toronto, South Dakota, resident David Janes. He told the Independent his story of building a retirement home on his farm 17 years ago. Seven years later a wind farm was built near his home and his peace and tranquility in retirement abruptly vanished.

“I like to sit in the backyard and listened to the birds sing,” Janes said. “But when the turbines are running, I can’t hear the birds. All I hear is swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, like a jet plane engine.”

He said the nearest one is 1,200 feet away, but it towers over his house.

He also complained he had to purchase special window shades for those times in the morning and evening that the shadow flicker from the rotating propellers create a big distraction.

There are other issues to consider besides noise and shadows. The wind turbines are dangerous to birds and other flying creatures. And wind farms require a lot of land that may require chopping down trees which eliminates green natural resources.

The debate is now on between wind farm operators and the homeowners who live near the turbines. Wind energy trade groups argue there’s little evidence to suggest wind turbines make people sick. However, homeowners near these farms have complained of nausea, insomnia and other problems.

Janes’ story is relevant to southwest Minnesota because two wind farm projects are planned in Lincoln County. Southwest Minnesota’s unlimited supply of wind and its rolling prairies make a prime target for wind farm companies. So the region is likely to attract other wind farms.

It would be prudent of our local government bodies do their due diligence before approving locations for new wind farms. Established homeowners shouldn’t have to worry about “swoosh, swoosh, swoosh” interrupting their peace and tranquility.


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