In Massachusetts, Voting up Wind Turbines
December 17, 2013
In the Denio-verse, wind turbines are evil giants, purveyors of herpes and headaches, that upend cars miles away. In the real world? Neighbors who know them, like them. When they notice them.
In Massachusetts, where public school students recently scored far above their peers in other states in science and math, and among the world’s leaders – wind turbines keep winning elections.
It’s happened again, this time in Plymouth. Once again, an effort to limit wind turbines was put before voters, citing hazy “health” concerns, and once again clean energy has won in a landslide.
The Plymouth Town Meeting on Saturday rejected a de facto ban on new wind turbines:
If approved, this article would have limited the construction of wind turbines to two overlay districts – one at the Camelot Industrial Park, the other along Commerce Way – and would have modified the required setbacks and the total height allowed. Opponents of the article suggested that if it were approved no additional wind turbines could be located in town.
Town Meeting Rep. Simon Thomas, part owner of the Camelot Wind turbine, said that Plymouth was already the toughest place in New England to try and get a permit for a new turbine.
The article would’ve required a two-thirds supermajority to pass, but didn’t even come close to a simple majority, losing 49-68. The clear defeat for turbine opponents comes just weeks after the Plymouth Zoning Board rejected Stop & Shop’s request to build a wind turbine, citing the dangers of an I think I might be able to hear it pandemic and don’t forget deadly shadows.
The Plymouth vote comes on the heels of similar election results over the last few months in the nearby towns of Fairhaven and Falmouth. Falmouth elected officials put a plan to tear down the town’s wind turbines before voters, who rejected it by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. And in Fairhaven, voters chose a pro-reality candidate for Board of Health over an turbine hysteria candidate, also by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
While elected officials keep trying to pander to the vocal handful of wind hypochondriacs who show up to complain at meetings, Massachusetts voters continue to strongly support local wind energy projects. How many times to do they have to send that message at the ballot box before it sinks in?
But now, for the first time, a study by psychologists, engineers and built environment experts at The University of Nottingham, has found no link between the ‘measured’ level of noise from small and micro wind turbines and reports of ill health.
The research could be helpful in prompting pre-emptive action in future planning applications for small and medium sized wind turbines to help reassure those concerned about the impact of small and micro wind turbines on their wellbeing.
This collaborative study involved researchers from the Faculty of Engineering as well as Social Sciences and was funded by the UK Energy Research Centre . It is the first project to examine how personality, and specifically ‘negative orientated personality’ (NOP), affects reported levels of non-specific symptoms like headache, sleeplessness, stomach upsets and general malaise. It was carried out as a public survey of 1270 households within 500 metres of eight 0.6kW micro-turbines and within 1 km of four 5kW wind turbines in two Midlands cities.
Dr Claire Lawrence from the University’s School of Psychology said: “We measured the actual noise from the turbines and used environmental noise modelling software that helped us to predict how much sound is actually heard by those living in the vicinity. We found there was no relationship between the ‘real’ level of noise and reports of ill health. “
The personality traits measured from the 138 returned questionnaires were neuroticism, (propensity to be more anxious, to take longer to revert to an equilibrium), negative affectivity (the propensity to feel negative emotions), and also frustration intolerance (sensitivity towards frustrations, discomforts and annoyances).
The researchers concluded that the people who live near a turbine and can hear some noise, did not suffer more non-specific health symptoms than people who could not in reality hear the same sound. The study indicated that generally it is not the turbine noise per se that is causing the symptoms. Indeed, for those individuals who did not score highly on these negative orientated personality traits, reporting hearing the sound was not associated with symptoms. This association was only evident for those higher in these traits.
While there is general public support for renewable energy, and indeed the majority of respondents in the reported study were positive about wind energy in general, it is acknowledged that individuals are often more negative when faced with the prospect of having wind turbines near their homes. This research is the first study ever carried out to show the relationship between personality and perception of wind turbine noise in relation to a so-called ‘green technology‘. The results could be significant in informing local authority decision-making on the increasing number of planning applications for wind turbines across the UK.
No big surprise here. As I’ve reported before, your windbaggers are nutjobs, and should not be allowed to hold sharp objects, much less dictate policy. They are being defeated everywhere sensible people have the chance to make their voices heard.