“It's a horror beyond words; something you have to live to understand. Something must be done to stop the noise.” – Ocotillo resident Parke Ewing
November 14, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Residents in Ocotillo say that during windy conditions in early November, noise from wind turbines is making their lives unbearable.
Jim Pelley captured the loud noise on videotape, juxtaposed with footage of Pattern Energy’s Glenn Hodges selling the project to supervisors in Imperial Valley by claiming that noise would not be an issue due to setbacks. “The project was sold on the understanding to be five miles from the community of Ocotillo,” Pelley wrote on a Youtube post. “We have turbines as close as 1/2 mile, we are now forced to live with the horrible noise of 112 turbines when the wind blows.”
His neighbor, Parke Ewing, says his complaints to Imperial County and Bureau of Land Management officials, as well as Pattern Energy, have fallen on deaf ears, with no meaningful responses.
“The turbines have created a living hell to us as we try to continue on with our lives after the Ocotillo Wind Facility was constructed over our objections,” he wrote in a November 1st letter sent to officials at those entities.”Turbines 176 and 169 and others are so loud when the wind blows that they disrupt everything. We can't enjoy our property. The turbines are even more disruptive to our lives than even we could have imagined. It's a horror beyond words; something you have to live to understand.
Something must be done to stop the noise. We are one of several families that have homes obviously too close to the turbines. The turbines located near my home need to be removed or relocated. We can't go on trying to live our lives around the turbine noise. No body, including people that have objected to Ocotillo Wind, should have to live with the noise when the wind blows. We just can't do it any longer…”
Ewing asked the County, BLM and Pattern to mitigate the problem, noting that the sound is much louder than Pattern’s description of a dishwasher in the next room. “Whoever's idea of using that term as an adequate description of the noise we would experience has obviously never lived near a turbine in their life.. Let alone 112 "dishwashers" all running at the same time in the next room,” Ewing observed, adding that no officials have taken steps to measure the decibels, let alone measurements such as low-frequency infrasound.
“The turbine noise is creating a high degree anxiety in our lives. We don't believe it is lawful for this to continue,” the beleaguered Ocotillo resident concluded. “I invite any of you to visit our property when the wind blows and stay awhile. Live the experience as we do- try to talk across your yard over the crashing sound of 336 blades turning and listening to the turbines as they generate their very irritating noise, nobody should be forced to endure this torture.”
Update November 15, 2014: After our story ran, we received this update from Parke Ewing the next morning, which reads in part:
"Believe it or not, of all days, after I contacted the site manager for Ocotillo Wind today, two representatives visited my home today for the first time. They listened for awhile, as today was one of those very loud turbine days, their only comment after I asked was, TBD (To Be Determined). Still no return calls or letters from the County of Imperial or BLM. A general manager for Pattern Energy, a Samuel Tasker, quit returning generic answers to me and Jim's questions and concerns. Carrie Simmons at BLM turned us over to him after we questioned one of her comments regarding the oil leaks and a few other issues. (not noise)
Interestingly, I stood a hundred feet or so in front of a wind turbine yesterday and the noise was very much greater than standing underneath a turbine or even behind the turbine. I assumed that the noise would blow away from me, not into me against the wind, just the opposite of what we would expect. So since our home is in front of turbines 176 and 169 when the wind is coming from the west south west, we hear the turbines much more loudly than Jim Pelley, which is down wind. Then when wind is coming from the east we hear turbine 174 more, because we are in front of that one, weird how that works."