- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) proposed two-year, $68 billion budget includes $250,000 to study and the health impacts of wind turbines, despite a body of evidence renewables advocates say proves their safety. The Governor’s office said the study is also intended to inform political leaders and state regulators deciding on proposed wind projects.
- Wind, solar, and other renewables have stirred controversy in Wisconsin. Utilities and groups funded by fossil fuel interests have debated the costs and benefits of renewables with advocates funded by environmental organizations and trade associations.
- In October, for instance, the Brown County Board of Health rejected the eight turbine Shirley Wind Farm on the grounds that it could be a health hazard to residents, causing "ear pain, ear pressure, headaches, nausea" and "sleep deprivation" in nearby residents.
A growing body of evidence of the safety of wind turbines has not placated critics in Wisconsin, who complain of a variety of maladies related to wind farms. Now, the state government is looking to step in with funding for another study, but many advocates say enough work has already been done.
The Wisconsin Wind Siting Council reported to the state legislature last fall that “most individuals do not experience annoyance, stress, or perceived adverse health effects due to the operation of wind turbines."
A Canadian expert scientific advisory panel concluded: “There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.” And, because wind turbine sounds are not unique, “there is no reason to believe, based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds and the panel’s experience with sound exposures in occupational settings, that the sounds from wind turbines could plausibly have direct adverse health consequences.”
A Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Heath study by an independent expert panel found “no evidence” of health effects from wind turbines, no association of wind turbine noise and shadow flicker with psychological distress or mental health problems, and limited epidemiological evidence of an association between wind turbine noise and shadow flicker with physical health.