By Miriam Raftery
January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – ECM has previously reported about serious health problems experienced by people living near the Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin, where county health officials sought emergency declaration for families forced to relocate. That’s relevant here in East County, where four industrial-scale wind energy facilities propose to place turbines close to homes.
Now a Public Service Commission study has proven “dangerous levels” of infrasound generated by those turbines. Four acoustical experts conducted C-weighted sound tests in December and found high readings oflow-frequency noise, or infrasound. One researcher became ill himself with symptoms similar to those experience by residents. Symptoms of the afflicted families include heart palpitations, ear infections, muscle and join pain, and general malaise.
Wisconsin representative Andre Jacques said the Public Service Commission’s findings “compel them to act immediately to keep this nightmare from spreading.”
Homes are located as close as 1250 feet from turbines at the Shirley Wind facility. The Public Service Commission has also received similar complaints of health problems from residents near other wind projects including Blue Skies/Green Fields and the Glacier Hills project.
In San Diego’s East County, members of the Manzanita Native American tribe have been accepted into a Califiornia State University San Marcos study to determine whether serious health conditions including cancer may be caused by stray voltage and/or infrasound from wind turbines at the neighboring Kumeyaay wind farm , which went online back in 2005. Stray voltage 1,000 times above normal have been measured in the Manzanitas’ tribal hall, church, and homes on the reservation. Many other neighbors of the wind facility off the reservation have also complained of health problems similar to those experienced by residents near the Shirley Wind facility.
The Campo Indians, operators of the Kumeyaay Wind facility, now want to built Shu’luuk Wind, which would be over twice the size of the Kuemeyaay facility with turbines nearly 50% taller. No plan has been offered to reduce the stray voltage or protect neighbors from infrasound, noise, or blade shadow flicker.
Additional wind energy facilities planned in East County include Jewel Valley in Boulevard andTule Wind in McCain Valley. Just south of the border, La Rumerosa is a massive wind facility, is planned in Mexico. Just east in Ocotillo, yet another large wind project is nearing completion.
Despite the proliferation of larger and larger wind projects internationally, no studies have yet been conducted to determine safe siting levels to protect the health of humans or wildlife.
San Diego County planners previously considered adopting a sound standard using the C-weighted measuring scale that was used to detect the infrasound problems in Wisconsin. County Supervisors will weigh in next month, mostly likely, on whether or not to adopt a wind ordinance allowing more industrial wind projects in our region and if so, what noise standards should apply.