PBS Newshour: Wind Turbines and Health

PBS NewsHour Connect: Mass. Community Reacts to Living Near Wind Turbines   By: Lauren Knapp

Wind turbines, used around the world to provide energy, are often seen grouped together in wind farms in rural parts of Iowa, Texas and Nebraska. But as more towns build turbines to power their own electric grids, communities are reacting to some of the effects of living in their shadow.

In a week-long series, Heather Goldstone, reporter for the blog Climatide, and Sean Corcoran of WCAI on Cape Cod, Mass., look at the debate in one Massachusetts community where a 400-foot tall turbine has been turning for less than a year. While little scientific research has been completed to substantiate the claims, many residents living near the turbine are complaining of sleep deprivation, headaches, and tinnitus, or ringing of the ears. And they explore tricky questions such as: Is annoyance a health impact?

Supporters of wind energy, meanwhile, worry about the negative effects this debate will have on the use of wind energy in Massachusetts and throughout the nation.

Hari Sreenivasan interviews Heather Goldstone and Sean Corcoran about their series on the Falmouth wind turbine.

7 thoughts on “PBS Newshour: Wind Turbines and Health

  1. But some people do react positively — as long as it in not themselves living near the “whisper quiet” turbines.


    More wind than science in turbine debate
    Derek Satnik

    The victory seemed to prove that the setback, the most stringent in the world, was determined scientifically, is “precautionary” and, if excessive, is certainly sufficient.

    I’ve been hearing so much about the health effects of wind turbines lately that I think I’m getting sick. Is the danger real or not?

    Here’s a thought: Maybe it doesn’t matter.

    The chief medical officer of Ontario publishes annual reports that mention the 9,000 Ontarians who die every year from respiratory ailments caused in part by emissions from coal-fired electric plants. Most of these deaths are seniors and children. When we turn on our lights, get a drink from the fridge, perk a coffee or charge a cellphone, most of us never think about what happens at the other end of the wire.

    The reality is that electricity has to come from somewhere, and in Ontario that could be any of several places, but almost 30 per cent of the time, it’s coal.

    If 9,000 Ontarians die every year from electricity use, does that mean I’m involved with their deaths every time I use electricity? That’s an uncomfortable thought.

    Actually if 900 Ontarians die every year from the effects of Coal Fired plants then … welll.. what percentage would that be? How was it proven? Are we discussing models again, made form guesses, like maybe models that were proven to be wrong? Oh yes — that was it…

    Maybe people are dying laughing at those that quote garbage “statistics”. Actually statistics come from data. The number in the article came from fantasy land!

    Somebody sent this guy the Link to Ross McKitrick’s article.

    The title is right — but maybe not in the way intended…

  2. Maybe I should have included this part in the above article…

    It makes it infinitely more laughable…

    It’s a crime that we’ve gone so long thinking that it’s okay to turn on the stove without thinking about who dies at the other end of the wire.

    Derek Satnik, an electrical engineer, is managing director at OntarioGreenSpec.ca and chief innovation officer at Mindscape Innovations Group Inc.

  3. How did this fool get through Engineer school??? His thinking process is very dangerous…doesn’t say much for the Star does it.

  4. Ha
    Too bad the quoted stats about deaths caused by emissions from coal-fired generators don’t mention per centages caused from the coal-fired generators south of the border where a lot of our contaminated air originates.

    When senior deaths are caused by air pollution I can’t help but wonder how many years they were exposed to tobacco smoke. Where does this impact the 9,000 respiratory deaths in Ontario.

    Talk about selective blindness!

  5. According to the comments the Star is posting, Mr. Satnik is on the board of OSEA.

    I’ve been thinking about that while turning on and off my stove – an experiment based on the final paragraph of his rant.

  6. Not to mention the fact that this turbine is puny in comparison to the monstrosities that are being erected in rural Ontario as well as being in an urban area amongst much other noise

  7. Again, how long has the CNE wind turbine been off line?……………..1 year?……two years?……………nice reference Kris……………just like the space between your ears………..NOTHING!

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