Several landowners in Carroll County have been contacted by a company wanting to contract to place wind turbines at various locations. Sounds like a great idea, right? Clean energy plus a yearly paycheck, and the people offering contracts don’t mention any downsides.
But a four-part article on the problems surfacing for those living near wind turbines was published recently in a Florida newspaper. Journalists interviewed people all over the country and learned that there are many drawbacks to the current technology. One that is often mentioned is ‘shadow flicker,’ as the spinning blades slice through the sunlight at certain times of the day. Many residents found it made them nauseous to have the jittering light like an old-time movie reel.
Another problem that is only revealed after turbines are installed is the noise, the squealing and metallic sounds of turning blades, the rumbles of the machinery, as well as a low volume, almost inaudible vibration that some people find disorienting.
The researchers for this article found that many people suffering from side effects of the turbines were told they could “end the contract” at any time. Others were promised they would have some say in the placement of the turbines.
But once the contracts were signed, they realized there was a small clause excluding any previous promises made. Towers that were to be put at the edge of a productive field were instead placed in the center. Homeowners who found the noise and flicker unbearable were told the contract was unbreakable. Some ended up selling out at a loss to get away from the turbines.
Since we were contacted ourselves south of Green Forest, and heard only the upside of allowing the ridge above our house host to turbines, requiring the clearing of a disturbingly large right-of-way and an alarmingly deep excavation to ensure the towers would not topple over, I wanted to share what I discovered from reading these articles.
I have already learned to be wary of the assurances of large corporations of late, and this seems to be a similar deal. The people out recruiting landowners are not the ones who will write the contracts. They are free to say anything to anyone and withhold information as well. People in other areas complained about being told their neighbors had already signed up, and felt forced to sign on as well, only to learn later that it was not true.
The idea of clean, sustainable energy from wind and sun is appealing. I have no doubt technology will solve the problems of vibrations and flicker at some point. But until they do, please beware of strangers bearing contracts and promises. We live here in the Ozarks because of the beauty of the place and the quality of life we enjoy. Don’t sign them away.