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Boston Globe Letter: Winds of concern for turbines’ neighbors

August 18, 2013

The Boston Globe‘s business section on August 11 captured one of the ironies of wind development–people who are life-long environmentalists driven to distraction or driven from their homes when huge turbines move into the neighborhood. Erin Ailworth’s piece, Environmental Divide, described various views of the Hoosac Project in the Berkshires. Matthew Cavanaugh’s excellent photograph (right) of a car negotiating the road between several turbines gives some perspective on the scale of the turbines.

Virginia Irvine’s response (8/18/13) appears in the Globe’s letters:

ERIN AILWORTH’S story in last Sunday’s Globe (“Environmental divide,” Money & Careers) regarding the concerns that many have about poorly sited industrial wind turbines clearly presented both sides of this important debate. I want to emphasize the serious health and economic issues faced by those living near the turbines. The fact that there have been many hundreds of complaints to town health officials in communities where there are wind turbines certainly indicates that the problem is much larger than some would like to admit.

There are many other good reasons why 48 proposed wind turbine projects in the state have not been approved. Real estate prices plummet, and the costs of repairing turbines that break down are enormous. Just ask the folks who live in Princeton what they think of the cost-benefit ratio of wind turbines. Their turbine repairs have made their electric rates among the highest in the Commonwealth.

The goal to achieve increased renewable energy sources is admirable. But to blindly support turbines in residential areas without first understanding the health, economic, and environmental consequences is poor government policy.

Virginia Irvine
The writer is president of the board of directors of Wind Wise Massachusetts.

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