Wind Turbine “noise” No Biggie for Germans. Why?

May 6, 2013

If wind turbines were as “bad” for you as windbaggers in the US would like you to believe, there should be a lot of body bags piling up in places like Germany, Denmark, and, well, Iowa – places that have large penetration by wind generated electricity. Or at least, one would think, there’d be an increased incidence in the headaches-to leukemia-to-herpes complex of symptoms that the looney right has identified as part of “wind turbine syndrome”. But of course, there is not.


The answer of course, is, that Germany does not have the highly funded, focused and professional anti-wind disinformation machine that has been launched here in the US.

We know who they are, we  have their memos and strategy.


A network of ultra-conservative groups is ramping up an offensive on multiple fronts to turn the American public against wind farms and Barack Obama‘s energy agenda.

A number of rightwing organisations, including Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are attacking Obama for his support for solar and wind power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which also has financial links to the Kochs, has drafted bills to overturn state laws promoting wind energy.

Now a confidential strategy memo seen by the Guardian advises using “subversion” to build a national movement of wind farm protesters.

The strategy proposal was prepared by a fellow of the American Tradition Institute (ATI) – although the thinktank has formally disavowed the project.

The proposal was discussed at a meeting of self-styled ‘wind warriors’ from across the country in Washington DC last February.

Among the action items included in the memo:

Cause subversion in message of industry so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and clean to dirty)

Setup a dummy business that will go into communities considering wind development, proposing to build 400 foot billboards.

The message is also repeated in Wash Times, WSJ, Fox and other sources.

Public opinion must begin to change in what should appear as a “groundswell” among  grass roots.

So, next time you see or hear about one of these “grassroots” groups “concerned” about the effects of wind energy, remember that the template for this “movement” was created in right wing think tanks fueled by the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel friendly funders.  A  small, elite group of right wing operatives control the message and the strategy, while many if not most of the of those who are active locally may well be simply paranoid-and-misinformed-but-otherwise innocent tea party loons who are so far down the chain, they don’t even know who is writing their script.


57 Responses to “Wind Turbine “noise” No Biggie for Germans. Why?”

  1. Haha, this claim that windmills are so noisy is one that cracks me up a lot too. Especially when you can show them videos like this with cars driving by. I dont know what the fear is about really – I cant imagine a cleaner form of energy than this, and the NIMBY factor is generally hugely overblown.

    We have the same problems here in Norway, there is just an immense scepticism towards windmills – and generally its that they ruin the view towards the sea or some mountain. I generally view roads paved with asphalt a worse problem when it comes to ruining a natural landscape – but I don’t see the same kind of anti-road campaigning.

    • andrewfez Says:

      In America we have these huge towers that carry large power lines all over the countryside. Then we have large ‘telephone’ poles that carry power lines everywhere in the urban and suburban settings. People are used to them being there – no one ever complains that they are an eye sore.

      • petermogensen Says:

        Yeah… We don’t have much of those in places like Denmark.
        All except the primary high voltage (132-150 kV) are in ground. And even those mastes are planed to be scrapped and the cables put in ground before 2030.
        But we have wind mills. Lots of them. Many of them at sea though. I can only see one in the far horizon from my window though, but if I walk a minute down he street I can count over 20 – but we also live on relatively high elevation.
        Whether they are noisy is a matter of definition. If you live right besides it, you’ll probably be able to hear it. Most Danes newer hear a wind mill though, even if they drive by several every day.
        But I’ve opted out on a smal wind mill on my property and chosen solar cells instead. They do produce a small (~40 dB) background noise and not to have it near the house would put it right in the sunset.
        I think that’s what most Danes worry about with wind mills: The view.

        Anyway … the big industrial wind mills are much more efficient than the small 6kW mills for houses. And those are put at sea:

        • andrewfez Says:

          Thanks for sharing. Yeah, those wind mills are huge compared to the ships putting them up. I’ve heard wind efficiency is in part tied to simple physics – doubling the rotor size quadruples the energy output or some f(x)=x^2 type idea.

          One of bad parts about having our grid hanging above us is that every time a storm rolls through a tree will fall on a power line and local neighborhoods will be without power. My parents got stuck without power for a week, after last summer’s Derecho storm crippled their entire state. So now they have a generator. But that’s not as clever as a solar system with an off grid option built in, because when the power goes down the petrol stations stop selling.

          I stopped beside a wind farm once, just to see if i could hear them. I couldn’t because the sound of traffic on the road i was on was drowning them out.

    • ahaveland Says:

      The fear is that every wind turbine means lost sales for the stubborn and thick FF industry.

      They are getting desperate for people to keep buying their products.

      Real men running real energy companies would adapt and retool and go where the wind’s blowing or the sun shines, as it were…

      Lots of scope for macho-engineering, without the muck and pollution.

      Instead of blowing up spent offshore rigs in the Gulf, they could find new life hosting wind turbines.

      Just needs some joined-up thinking.

  2. mrsircharles Says:

    More on the Nocebo Effect of wind turbines: Personality clue to ‘wind turbine syndrome’

    EcoWatch: Wind Power Opponents May Be Blowing Hot Air

    Desmog: Research Finds Wind Farm Health Concerns Probably Caused By Anti-Wind Scare Campaigns

    The Guardian:
    Windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth, Australian study finds

    “Health complaints from people living around turbines shown to be psychological effect of anti-wind lobby making people worry”

  3. andrewfez Says:

    “Setup a dummy business that will go into communities considering wind development, proposing to build 400 foot billboards.”


    How does that work? Are they starting a bidding war on the properties where the turbines will sit to raise the cost of wind?


    Here’s something that’s being framed as ‘The governor is helping us out’, but who knows what the real story is:

    ‘Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has vetoed Senate Bill 9, a piece of legislation that, among other measures, would have quickened the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure and smart meters in the state….’

  4. livinginabox Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if noise from coal-fired power stations were a much greater problem. Drax power station in the UK consumed 9.1 million tonnes of coal in 2011, that’s 25,000 tonnes of coal per day, Transporting that much coal by rail presumably makes a lot of noise.

    Seeing as wind turbines are drowned out by a car on a road, and can’t even down-out birdsong, the wind-turbine noise meme is just BS from paid liars.

  5. Bruce Miller Says:

    I suppose, once we are freezing in the dark, walking around the filth from the nuclear wastes, and hungry as we can be, we will finally admit that we were truly duped. The Great Corporate American Propaganda Whores’ mesmurizations, dominance of the media, control of the printed word, censorship of the internet, even to comments sections, leaves us defenceless and without truth. Even Canadians are subjected to the Whore’s distortions, and have formed “anti-wind” groups in the best place on earth for Wind Power, where denser Northern winds increase Wind Turbine efficiencies by a notable factor. Will we continue to burn coal, oil, enriched uranium, in American Nuclear Establishment styled enriched uranium pressure cookers – even here in Canada, and be mesmerized right out of the Thorium advantages? Will we still buy great gasoline wasting V-8 SUV’s over the advantages of electric bullet trains? Electric cars? Of course we will, and we will memorize every small detail of every U.S. Film Star and take every word we are told for God’s own truth and as essential for our happiness. Even in our impoverished Tar Paper Shacks, we will emulate the movies, we will obey and worship the whores very words, and we will go to bed at night content in the notion that we have done right and she will bring us life’s reward for our devotions. She owns us body and soul, her whisperings, our commands, even our sons and daughters will fight to bring oil to her shores, and we will pay for F-35’s so she can be rich and prosper for forty years in her Texas, and at and ready to sacrifice when she calls NATO! NATO! on our heads when ever her oil runs low.

    • andrewfez Says:

      Chomsky outlines the problem at minute 24+ in the video, specifically the institutional problem at minute 30+. The CEO of Exxon or such is legally bound to maximize short term profit and can be held legally accountable if they do not. Doesn’t matter if he thinks that climate change will wipe out Exxon and every other corp 75 years from now.

      Lots of quotes from the journal Science in those parts of the video.

      And regarding nuclear fuel, I’ve heard it takes two full-time coal burning plants in the US to enrich the fuel for our nuclear plants.

  6. MorinMoss Says:

    If wind turbines were 10% as damaging as the windbaggers claim, Denmark would have long been a barren wasteland populated by the Walking Dead, littered with the carcassess of millions of birds and the island of Samsø would be the world’s largest leper colony.

  7. purslane Says:

    In quiet rural areas of Germany, wind turbines must be 1-1.5 km away from homes. Denmark has strict noise regulations; most of their turbines are also smaller. And the Danes have added virtually no new onshore wind capacity since 2002. Iowa’s wind turbines are on open plains far from homes.

  8. MorinMoss Says:

    I’m quite surprised at the low number of offshore wind turbines in Germany although I expect that will change.
    The Alpha Ventus farm, 60W nameplate is doing quite well so far, after 2 yrs in operation is at 50% capacity factor and 96% availability for 2012.

    The BARD farm, 90 km offshore, likely won’t be running until next year but is rated at 400MW.

    There’s only one other offshore farm I can find and that’s only been running since 2011. Contrast that with Denmark (1GW ) or the UK (3+ GW).
    But they’re still kicking American’s butt.

    • rayduray Says:

      Re: “I’m quite surprised at the low number of offshore wind turbines in Germany although I expect that will change.”

      I understand the main impediment to be transmission capacity to the south where the demand is located.

    • petermogensen Says:

      We do have a noisy wind mill opposition here in Denmark.
      But the arguments are not noise or health.
      It’s money.
      They are convinced that wind mills are way too expensive and that we’re better of with natural gas.

      But it’s almost impossible to get an intelligent discussion started about the economy in wind mills when the most prominent politicians start out by saying that the IPCC is political and that the problems with CO2 is not known to be serious.
      Any energy source where you don’t pay the true costs to civilization can be “cheaper”. So until the wind mill critiques stop denying science it’s impossible to have a meaningfull debate about the economy of wind mills.

    • mrsircharles Says:

      Also: Take a look at the map. Compare to area there isn’t that much coastline in Germany.

      • petermogensen Says:

        Germany have a relatively (compared to area) short coastline.
        But their area extends far into the North sea and they seem to have plans for a much higher density than other nations around the North sea.
        (Just a guess: Their area of the North sea is probably more shallow on average and thus they probably have just as much room (or more) for offshore wind farms as Denmark).

        Look at a map of offshore projects:

  9. rayduray Says:


    From Dr. Jeff Masters’ blog:

    New climate change blog at The Guardian

    In these days of steadily decreasing media coverage of climate change (and all science, in general), its good to see a fresh new source of good science appear in a major newspaper. The Guardian, a prominent UK news source, has a new blog called Climate Consensus – The 97%. The primary authors are Dana Nuccitelli of SkepticalScience and John Abraham, Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. The first post at the new blog is titled “Why is Reuters puzzled by global warming’s acceleration?”

  10. rayduray Says:

    What do windmills have to do with lobsters? The answer may surprise you:

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