Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


"I thought wind energy was something I could believe in. This film suggests it's just another corporate flim-flam game. - Film critic Rogert Ebert

May 10, 2012 (San Diego)  A special free showing of the award-winning documentary ‘Windfall,’ an exploration of industrial wind impacts on a rural community, will lbe held tonight at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Theater in Hillcrest. The showing is cosponsored by Backcountry Against Dumps and The Protect Our Communities Foundation.

Hundreds of industrial wind turbines are currently proposed for public, private and tribal lands in East County with 400-800 thousand acres of Wind Resource Area proposed for designation in the County's Wind Energy Ordinance & Plan Amendment DEIR.

Barb Ashbee, coordinator for Victims of Wind, based in Ontario Canada and Samuel Milham, MD MPH, author of “Dirty Electricity,” will be available to answer questions at both the “Windfall” showing tonight and the San Diego County Planning Commission’s May 11 wind ordinance workshop, starting Friday at 9 a.m.

Wind power… it’s sustainable … it burns no fossil fuels … it produces no air pollution. What’s more, it cuts down dependency on foreign oil. That’s what the people of Meredith, in upstate New York first thought when a wind developer looked to supplement the rural farm town’s failing economy with a farm of their own -- that of 40 industrial wind turbines.

“Windfall,” Laura Israel’s feature-length film, documents how this proposal divides Meredith’s residents, as they fight over the future of their community. Attracted at first to the financial incentives that would seemingly boost their dying economy, the townspeople grow increasingly alarmed as they discover the impacts that the 400-foot high windmills slated for Meredith would bring to their community.

Beautifully photographed, “Windfall” looks at both sides of wind energy development.

The same concerns and impacts apply in rural San Diego where numerous industrial wind turbine projects, with hundreds of towering turbines, are proposed to literally transform rural communities into industrial energy sacrifice zones. Ibederdola's Tule Wind turbines, proposed adjacent to homes and campgrounds, will be up to 3 MW each and up to 492 feet tall.

Opposition from impacted communities, including tribal representatives remains strong.

More information:

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.


"Windfall" offers greatest hits of misinformation

Windfall takes aim at clean, renewable wind energy with misinformation. Everyone seeing this film, or reading uninformed reviews like this one, owes it to themselves to learn the truth.

For example, Massachusetts environmental and public health agencies just reviewed all scientific studies available and concluded in January that, “There is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a 'Wind Turbine Syndrome'…we conclude the weight of the evidence suggests no association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.”

Shadows from moving wind blades typically last just a few minutes near sunrise and sunset in bright sun conditions, and can be addressed through the location of turbines and plantings. German researchers found that flicker would affect residents for 100 minutes per year under the worst conditions and 20 minutes per year under normal circumstances. Even then, the rate of flicker is far below the frequency that, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, normally is associated with seizures. A 2007 report by an expert panel for the National Academy of Sciences found it "harmless to humans."

You wouldn't know that if your only source of information about wind energy was this severely slanted film.

As another critic said: "The documentary isn’t big on hard data; instead, [Director Laura] Israel allows the majority of her interviewees to deliver anecdotes, speculation, anti-corporate conspiracy theories, and just a few statistics…the movie’s case relies more on emotional appeals and frightening images of giant machines than on real, objective number-crunching…the unbridled scare tactics cast too big a shadow over the agit-prop doc Israel ended up making." (Noel Murray, AV Club, Feb. 2, 2012)

Read more about what Windfall gets wrong, at

Peter Kelley
American Wind Energy Association

Some of the studies cited by AWEA are very deceptive.

For instances the Ontario health official study widely touted by the wind industry was based solely on a study of old literature and pointedly IGNORED over 100 people in Ontario who claimed to be ill from wind turbines in their community. A woman from Ontario spoke in San Diego on this yesterday and described the many serious symptoms these people had, some bad enough that they fled their homes to escape symptoms such as chest pressure and pain.   The Ontario health official was reportedly notified of all of these 100+ people's health problems yet she REFUSED to interview them, review their cases, talk to their doctors, or make any effort at all to determine the validity of their claims. Instead she wrote an apparently bogus report concluding there are no health impacts from turbines without bothering to do even the most rudimentary investigation of the health impact claims in her own community.  I am not familiar with the Massachusetts study but wouldn't be surprised if there was a similar scenario.  By citing the bogus Ontario study while KNOWING there are many ill people there (now several hundred of them) the wind industry is showing itself to be as untrustworthy as the tobacco industry. 

There is a lot of money being thrown at public officials. Some are corruptible. Others bow to pressure to keep their jobs by suppressing truth.  I have seen that over and over with regard to wind projects. The Anza Borrego Desert State Park former Supervisor has stated that park officials were ordered to suppress evidence of harmful impacts on the park of a massive wind farm slated to go on BLM land next door.  Parks denied this.  This week the Borrego Sun published a story confirming what the whisteblower told our publication; they interviewed additional park employees who confirmed the gag order. That is reprehensible for public servants not to be answerable to the public, but to corporate masters instead. So I no longer believe anything this industry says unless I can verify it for myself, and suggest others take their "studies" with a very large grain of salt.


-- The Editor


I would trust the word a drug dealer long before I trusted anything printed or said by this industry.

Peter at AWEA

Hey Peter at AWEA, Forget about the soft stuff like shadow flicker. Why don't we have a conversation about dead eagles, declining populations around Altamont, bogus mortality studies and cumulative impacts. Maybe we can even touch on the bogus research behind the new "safer turbines".

 "Clean, renewable wind


"Clean, renewable wind energy." Ya, right. In truth, what Kelley's referring to are the kinds politically driven, financially untenable, PC projects that wouldn't stand upright in even a breath of wind--wouldn't, in fact, have ever been considered--were it not for the massive government subsidy/supports (offered by progressive ideologues like Barack Obama) that prop them up.

Don't let these shysters fool you with their "green" Orwellian cant. What isn't "renewable" is the most precious thing of all: hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine East County wilderness that, for the sake of political trendiness they're willing (and about) to destroy forever.