How much of a problem is wind-turbine noise?
Does worrying about climate change keep you up at night? Well, climate-friendly wind farms can keep you up at night too, rural Oregon residents tell The New York Times:
Opponents say the constant whooshing from the turbines makes them anxious and that the low-level vibrations keep them awake at night. Some say it gives them nausea and headaches. Many other residents say they hear little or nothing at all, and the question of whether windmill noise can harm health is in dispute.
There’s a movement led by a discredited pediatrician that claims wind farms emit inaudible, low-frequency infrasound that gives neighbors headaches, nausea, insomnia, visual blurring, vertigo, and panic attacks. It’s a bogus claim based on a flawed research sample and a misunderstanding of infrasound, which humans also experience (without harm) when driving with an open window, swinging on a swing set, or even jogging.
But normal noise — the kind you can actually hear — is what these Oregonians are complaining about, and it’s another story. The issue is a potential stumbling block for the fast-growing wind industry.
“It sounds like there’s an airplane up there that’s starting to take off but never takes off,” Sherry Eaton, who lives near a wind farm in Oregon, said in another Times post.
The Times reports that Caithness Energy is offering wind-farm neighbors as much as $5,000 to promise not to complain about the noise. That sort of hush money always makes it sound like something dirty’s going on, but it might be a sensible resolution. What do you think, readers?