The following op-ed appeared August 2 in the Sheboygan (Wis.) Press, and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
It is not surprising that the proposed Windy Acres Wind Farm project in the Town of Sherman has become a highly emotional debate. However, as a citizen, taxpayer and small business owner in the Town of Sherman, I am concerned about the vast amount of misleading information that is being circulated throughout our community.
We’ve been barraged with flyers of burning wind turbines, yet the likelihood of this occurring is less than .001% based on 165,000 wind turbines installed worldwide. By comparison, our local fire department was dispatched to two car fires this month alone.
We’ve heard about the wind turbines affecting our property values; however, an independent study conducted by the firm Poletti and Associates recently concluded otherwise. In Kewaunee County, which hosts two of the oldest commercial wind projects in the United States, their report suggests no statistically significant effect on the sale of homes or construction of new homes. Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that existing wind development in Wisconsin has depressed property values statewide. In fact, according to data compiled by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance on property values and levies, in Fond du Lac County, equalized valuation actually increased by 1.2% during that time, while Dodge and Kewaunee counties managed smaller declines than the statewide average during that period.
We’ve been told of the ensuing health effects that will plague our families and animals. However, thorough studies by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Australian Government National Health & Medical Research Council, the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario, Canada and the United Kingdom have each concluded that wind turbines do not pose a health threat. More recently, Kitty Rhoades, the Deputy Secretary of the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Governor Walker appointee, could not have been more clear when she affirmed Wisconsin’s stance that the “levels of noise, flicker and infrasound measured from wind turbines at current setback distances do not reach those that have been associated with objective physical health effects.”
Senator Grothman recently insinuated that a wind farm was not welcome in the Town of Sherman. Considering that the July 24 town meeting was attended by more people from Brown County, Manitowoc County and other areas outside our township, I find the senator’s assessment quite presumptuous. He may be interested in knowing that recent polling shows that 85% of his fellow Wisconsinites support an increased use of wind power to meet our energy needs, because wind power provides safe, homegrown energy and creates family-supporting jobs across the state.
It is important that we recognize the benefits of the proposed wind farm in the Town of Sherman and do not allow a vocal minority to control this important debate. This is precisely what the anti-wind groups hope to achieve. Deceptive propaganda is their only weapon, because the benefits of sustainable, clean energy and local job creation are irrefutable. Questioning their allegations, asking them for independent third-party data and educating ourselves is our greatest defense. There is truth in education. As quoted by the Dalai Lama, “Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.”
Kettle View Renewable Energy, Town of Sherman