Will Fire Island Turbines Affect People and Beluga Whales?

Construction has begun on the Fire Island wind farm which will provide a small amount of electrical energy at substantially higher prices for Chugach Energy Association customers. Some of the wind turbines, which were built in China by General Electric,  have already arrived for delivery to the Island. There are many questions when it comes to wind power. For example, the turbines average only 30 percent of their rated capacity, and even less on those very cold days, so will wind energy be there when we are in subzero weather? The current generation systems, mostly natural gas turbines, must continue to be on-line at all times in case the wind stops blowing. So, do we really reduce the carbon footprint if the fossil fueled energy sources are always on-line? Wind turbines slice and dice nearly a half a million eagles, hawks, geese and other avian species on an annual basis. Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a formal rule to allow the repeated “takings” of eagles by wind turbines. Should the protectors of animals be enraged? And are humans affected by these wind turbines?

Dr. Nina Pierpont, M.D. Ph.D., has written about medical problems of people living within 1.25 miles of wind turbines. It seems that some suffer from what she calls “wind turbine syndrome”. Symptoms include nausea, depression, agitation, blurred vision, vertigo and difficulty reading/remembering. She attributes these maladies to low frequency and infrasound generated by the turbines. Some people have even left their homes to escape from the effects of the wind turbines. Will the endangered species Cook Inlet beluga whales also be affected in some manner by the low frequency waves transmitted from the wind turbine tower through the ground and then into the water? These low frequency sounds are very easily transmitted through earth and water media.

Surely, an Environmental Impact Statement has been completed for the project. Was the EIS hurried through the usual lengthy process to ensure that the wind farm would be operational so that the millions of dollars of stimulus money (taxpayer dollars) wouldn’t be jeopardized?

If you want to read more, read this article by Paul Driessen at Townhall.com.

(This is an update of an article posted on May 10, 2012)