Vinalhaven is an island off the coast of Maine. In an effort to lower the cost of their electricity and take advantage of the coastal winds they installed three wind turbines. Unlike most projects, this was community-based, where the community took a vote to approve it. Which they did, overwhelmingly. Unfortunately there were, to the readers of this site, predictable noise problems, which I first mentioned in my noise complaint posting. I promised to post any new news, and recently there was some [backup link]. It should come as no surprise that there has been no resolution.
The article itself is very well written, and I have only a few comments about it. First is that this has divided the islanders in ways that will never heal. No matter what conciliatory words George Baker, the “face” of the project, uses – the fact remains that the noise problems are still there. I’d bet big money the victims are going to end up as collateral damage. George may hate the fact that lawyers have gotten involved, but he had how many months to fix the problem, and refused to do so? What choice do the victims then have? Tell me, George, please. What would YOU do?
Second, there’s also the disbelief of all those who don’t live close to them. They go up to them for a few minutes during the day and think the noise isn’t that bad. I’ve also gone up to them for a few minutes during the day and I agree – it doesn’t seem so bad. BUT that does not equate to living with them 24/7/365. At night they become much more noticeable, and my sense is that it isn’t the actual loudness that bothers people, rather it is the never-ending pulses. A personal anecdote – I live in a fairly noisy environment, and car alarms are a common and hardly noticeable occurrence – but a malfunctioning car alarm had me and my wife on the phone to the cops more in three hours than in the previous three years.
Third, the wind industry likes to spread the idea that the complainers were always just against the project, or selfish NIMBYs, or just jealous, or whatever – so they can be classed as “others” and safely dismissed. This is crap, and the history of the Vinalhaven victims shows just how much crap this is. Like everyone else on the island, almost all of them were for the project until it was turned on and their lives changed dramatically for the worse.
For More Information
Fox Island Wind Neighbors – they’ve measured the noise in the low 50’s, twice the Maine limit. So why aren’t the turbines shut down? I think we all know the an$wer. Anyway, this is a good site to visit if you want to further investigate the situation there.