Nonprofit Quarterly: Rural Communities Divided over Wind Power

EXCERPT: “A fierce wind of acronyms is blowing across rural America: WINDCOWS (Wisconsin Independent Citizens Opposing Windturbine Sites), River RATS (River Residents Against Turbines), SOUL (Save Our Unspoilt Landscape). The UK’s not immune, what with England’s STINC (Stop Turbines in North Cornwall) and STEMM (Stop the Exploitation of Mynydd Mynyllod) in Wales. All are grassroots groups organized to oppose the siting of wind turbines in their fields and on their ridge lines. Their protests sound common themes about the proposed turbines. They’re noisy, they allege, with low frequency buzzing punctuated by ‘whomps’ like the ‘sound of shoes in a dryer.’ They mar bucolic views and reduce property values. They endanger bats and birds, and they cause stress, sleeplessness, and dizziness in humans. And with a lifespan of about 20 years, it costs more than $25,000 to tear old turbines down and restore the land. Some of these anti-turbine groups have seen success. In New York State, for instance, opponents in more than 120 jurisdictions across 24 states in the past decade have persuaded elected officials to reject or restrict wind-energy projects. Turbine proponents, on the other hand, have their own considered arguments. Wind energy projects bring money to economically struggling rural locales. They provide annual lease payments to beleaguered farmers, fund improvements to public roads, and give sorely needed tax revenue to towns, school districts, and counties. Furthermore, wind projects are green, generating carbon-free electricity as we seek to move from oil, coal and gas.” FULL STORY: