Supporting Commercial Wind Power
The benefits of commercial wind farm installations are well publicized in today's society, as are the concerns associated with this concept. I have been on the supporting side of commercial wind farm installations for several years, and also have friends and continue to maintain friendships with friends who are not in favor of such installations in certain situation. Facts can be found and it can be argued that commercial wind installations create jobs, lower taxes, benefit communities, and are good for the environment, just as it can be argued that commercial wind farms pose negative effects on a community, if a project is not executed right. So how do we work to resolve these common and ongoing conflicts over the placement of commercial wind farms? At the moment, no clear answer has presented itself, but to aid with efforts to assemble facts to help resolve these conflicts, below I've list information that I've gathered that support the positive benefits of commercial wind farms, and after that I have listed counter arguments to those who oppose these installations.

1) Additional revenue for land owners
Each wind turbine that land owners allow to be erected on their property can lead to additional income through royalties paid to land owners by the wind producers. These royalties can range in amounts around $5000.00 - $10,000.00 per year, per turbine, which would lead to more dollars available to be spent in the local community.

Since each wind turbine generally requires less than a 1/4 acre of land, active farmers can view a wind turbine as an additional productive unit on their property - one that they do not have to tend to, and yet brings in more money than that 1/4 acre would normally generate. Owners of dormant land would benefit as well, since without wind turbine royalties, that farm land returns nothing to the owner.

Wind farms also require the construction of quality access roads to get to their wind turbines. This construction would prove beneficial to land owners who might like to gain improved access to their fields and lands.

2) Additional tax revenue
As indicated by the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) fact sheet, wind farms can significantly contribute to a local tax base. This point is further supported by the fact that the Maple Ridge Wind Farm on the Tug Hill plateau when initially commissioned, accounted for an additional $8,000,000/year in taxes for the area, distributed in the following manner:

- Schools = $4 million
- Lewis County = $2 million
- Three towns splitting $2 million

Supporting AWEA data found at:

In regards to the proposed wind farm in Hammond NY, in 2011 I calculated the potential tax benefits that could impact all residents of the town if a 50 turbine wind farm was installed using the numbers from tax year 2010. These calculations can be viewed by clicking here

This tax analysis spreadsheet provides on each tab:
- Tab 1 is a summary of the findings
- Tab 2 compares rates if turbines were assessed at full value
- Tab 3 compares rates estimated with a PILOT based on a per MW basis and allocation at a 40/40/20 disbursement
- Tab 4 compares rates estimated with a PILOT based on a per turbine basis and allocation at a 40/40/20 disbursement
- Tab 5 compares rates estimated with PILOT based on a per MW basis and allocation at the same ratios as taxes are disbursed among the
   town, school, fire, and county
- Tab 6 compares rates estimated with PILOT based on a per turbine basis and allocation at the same ratios as taxes are disbursed among the
   town, school, fire, and county
- Tab 7 is a reference page

To further support this argument, one town in Wyoming County was able to even eliminate it's town taxes. Select the following link to read about how the Town of Eagle was able accomplish this:

3) Constructions Jobs as well as permanent maintenance jobs
During the period of wind farm construction, jobs for local engineering, electrical, and other construction related employment is generated. Once the wind farm is completed, permanent jobs for the maintenance and security of the wind farm remain.

4) Promote local tourism
As an area that thrives on tourism to fuel our economy, the addition of wind farms as another attraction would certainly draw more people in. As documented by the American Wind Energy Association, wind farms have been known to attract tourists to an area.

Supporting AWEA data found at:

5) Help the environment / Promote clean power
Each wind turbine that is set up contributes to a movement further away from energy sources that pollute our atmosphere and subsequently, increased greenhouse emissions that then lead to disturbed weather patterns.

For example, one 1.5mw wind turbine produces enough emission free power to:
a) run 500 homes
b) offset the release of 6,080,000 lbs of carbon dioxide/year
c) offset the release of 19,600 lbs of sulfur dioxide/year
d) offset the release of 32,000 lbs of nitrogen oxide/year
e) equal the removal of 650 cars from the road

Data was originally found at:

As demonstrated in the figures listed below, a significant portion of the electricity generated in New York State is generated by using coal, oil, and nuclear fission as the source.

July 2003 through June 2004:
- New York State Average for oil as a source of electricity = 12%
- New York State Average for coal as a source of electricity = 17%
- New York State Average for nuclear as a source of electricity = 29%

If we could replace even a portion of this 58% with electricity generated by wind power, we could help contribute to reducing the release of harmful pollution into our atmosphere.

Data originally found at the New York State Public Service Commission's Individual Environmental Disclosure labels for retail electric suppliers program's web site:

6) Reduce dependency on foreign oil

In New York State, as noted below, a portion of our electricity is generated using oil as the energy source.

Electricity generated from April 2000 through March 2001:
- New York State Average for oil as a source of electricity = 11%

Electricity generated from July 2003 through June 2004:
- New York State Average for oil as a source of electricity = 12%

If we could replace this 12% with electricity generated by wind power, we could help contribute to reducing the need to depend on oil sources from outside of the United States.

Data originally found at the New York State Public Service Commission's Individual Environmental Disclosure labels for retail electric suppliers program's web site:

7) Help meet the NYSPSC Renewable Portfolio Standard
Not long ago, the New York State Public Service Commission developed a Renewable Portfolio Standard that states within the next 10 years, 25% of the electricity purchased in New York State must come from renewable resources. Currently, 19% of the power purchased in the state is generated by renewable sources, so it may be to a community's advantage to support this effort in that by supporting the effort, other state-initiated benefits may find their way to the community.

Data originally found at

8) Additional thoughts on wind turbines:
a) Turbines will not change the flow of the St Lawrence River, get in the way of boats, pollute the river, raise or lower the water level, or cause fish kills - the river will look better than it ever has...

b) At the Fenner NY wind farm, under a turbine and less than 500 feet away in my car with the motor off & window up, I heard nothing. With the motor off and with the window down, I heard a slight constant noise

c) A local wind law should NOT hamper or in any way cause difficulty for the individual home owner who wants to put up his/her personal wind turbine

d) The grid is the grid - whether the electrons come from Massena, Oswego, or a wind turbine

e) Save the birds.... who's going to save the humans - it's called survival of the fittest
f) Alternative Energy Sources vs. Fossil Fuel vs. Nuclear Power
i) one is clean
ii) one is dirty - would you suck fumes off of a cars tail pipe??
iii) one is scary - until we can successfully control and execute nuclear fusion, nuclear fission
reactors run the risk that a single mishap that would kill more people than wind turbines ever

g) Money makes the world go 'round - unfortunately...

h) If it wasn't for oil, would we even be involved the Middle East??

i) Commercial wind producers have a responsibility to try and please as many as possible around a commercial wind farm. Just because a law might state a 1500 foot setback from a building, that doesn't mean turbines can't be placed farther away. Producers should spend the extra money on copper to allow turbines to be placed as far as possible from homes, so that more people in an area can be pleased. I'm sure the wind producer can make back the money spent on the extra copper.

l) At present numbers, commercial wind turbines will not offset all pollution producing power sources � but for our sake and the futures sake, we need to start somewhere. Turbines, combined with solar and Energy Farming will get us well down the road of reducing the human contribution to global warming

We can continue to depend on coal, nuclear power, and fossil fuels to keep our lives going, but at what price? Continuing to depend on these energy sources will undoubtedly lead to ongoing pollution and continue to enable a dependency on foreign sources to ensure that we are able to live our lives as we know them today. These life styles then lead us to make such sacrifices as depending on foreign sources of oil, living with the risks of nuclear power, and harming our environment on a daily basis. Such sacrifices as this are no laughing matter and directly impact our every day lives and our children's future.

Counter Arguments

Avian Life
Impacts on animals should be completely ignored. I justify saying this by referring to the fact that exponentially more birds are killed each year by motor vehicles, cell towers, power lines, pesticide poisoning and building collisions than by wind turbines, so if we want to prevent constructing commercial turbines because they kill birds, then we need to take all motor vehicles off of the road, cease using cell phones, cease running power to our homes, and demolish all tall buildings. Additionally, I'm sure the pollution from fossil fuels isn�t good for birds either, so clean energy systems are good for all living creatures on earth.

Noise and "Wind Turbine Syndrome"
Much has been said about this topic however, I'd like to focus this counter argument on one publication regarding this titled "Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects", published in December 2009 by 2 MDs, 4 PHDs, and an individual with a Masters degree, and on counter arguments published in a report that is found at or referenced any of the following:

The following are points quoted from the Executive Summary of the counter arguments report:
·    There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.
·    The ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans
·    The sounds emitted by wind turbines 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
The following are points quoted from the Conclusions Section (section 5) of the counter arguments report:
- There is nothing unique about the sounds and vibrations emitted by wind turbines
- The body of accumulated knowledge about sound and health is substantial
- The body of accumulated knowledge provides no evidence that the audible or subaudible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct
  adverse physiological effects
1) Sounds from turbines do not pose a risk of hearing loss or any other adverse health effects in humans
2) Subaudible, low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines do not present a risk to human health
3) Some people may be annoyed at the presence of sound from wind turbines. Annoyance is not a pathological entity.
4) A major cause of concern about wind turbines sound is its fluctuating nature. Some may find this sound annoying, a reaction that depends
    primarily on personal characteristics as opposed to the intensity of the sound level

My conclusions & notable points observed from the counter arguments report (with reference points in parenthesis):
- Vibration is not an issue (3.2.2, 3.2.3, 3.3.7)
- Regarding sleep disturbance, the EPA recommends a maximum of 45DBA indoors where between the hours of 10pm to 7am (sleep hours),
  anything above 35DBA may be disruptive (3.3.5)
- Sound from a turbine between 1000 feet and 2000 feet is 40-50 DB where 50DB at 1500 feet is a conservative estimate (3.1.2, 3.1.4)
- Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is not an issue with wind turbines (3.1.4)
- "Wind Turbine Syndrome" is not real (4.1.4, 4.1.5)
- "Wind Turbine Syndrome" suggests that infrasound at 1 to 2 Hz can affect the vestibular system of the body, however it is stated that the heart
  beats at 1 to 2 Hz, so if this theory is correct, we're already being damaged by the beating of our hearts (4.3.1)
- "Wind Turbine Syndrome" theorizes that infrasound from turbines at 4 to 8 Hz impacts our organs, yet the study that "Wind Turbine Syndrome" 
  is derived from says that they couldn't detect below 20Hz in the body due to our own internal body vibrations (4.3.2)
- The Study that "Wind Turbine Syndrome" is derived from solicited subjects claiming to have adverse affects from wind turbines, but had no
  control group. So, what did the study compare to? It's quite possible that the 37 people studied:
    a) didn't like wind turbines
    b) were not benefiting from turbines
    c) without a control group, it can't be said that 37 people NOT living around a wind farm don't have the same, claimed health issues
    d) this study apparently didn't interview other people around the same wind farm, so with no evaluation of everyone in the area, there is no
        proof that these 37 are specifically impacted by the wind farm
- The medical community does not recognize "Wind Turbine Syndrome" (4.3.2)
- I was also told there was no peer review of her book
- I think it's likely that the creator of the idea of "Wind Turbine Syndrome" saw an opportunity to make some money of her own, but from the
  negative side of the issue - this by writing a book to arouse the public and then collect revenue off of the books sales
- Studies show for sound pressures to be felt by the body, it needs to be higher than that emitted from wind turbines (4.4.2)
- Wind turbines cannot emit 4 to 8 Hz at a distance such as turbines are placed from people (4.4.2)
- 1 mile setbacks would be excessive (4.6.1)

Property Values
I'm sure successful Energy Farms, once established, will be quite valuable - just as dairy farms once were. Also, a recent study released in December 2009 found at the url listed below states in its conclusions section, and I quote:

"no evidence is found that home prices surrounding wind facilities are consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of the wind facilities or the distance of the homes to those facilities"

The conclusion also says that if there are negative impacts on property values they are "too small and/or too infrequent to result in widespread and consistent statistically observable impact"

The report itself is downloadable from:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so when discussing the placement of turbines and the viewing thereof, there is no consistent factors that can make one person hate them, and the next not care or fall in love with them - it's all a matter of opinion and personal taste. In my travels, I have heard these things called cool, stately and majestic, ugly, and annoying. Since its difficult if not impossible to sway ones opinion, then perhaps to address aesthetic concerns, if proposing a wind farm, any resident within in 2500 feet beyond the local setback distance should be entitled to an option where they also receive a royalty from the wind producer and also be guaranteed a input with the local planning board and wind farm participant.

Another thought - maybe any resident within 2500 feet of a setback distance from a turbine should be provided with free electrical power generated from the turbine, up to a maximum amount (ie: no greater than the highest usage for the past 5 years). This could be accomplished either by direct feed from the wind farm using transformed down power that is carried on existing power grid to the home, or by simpler means of the wind producer providing green tags to the resident. This option could also encourage
wind producers to not place turbines as close to homes, and could offer satisfaction to the people who are near them. Information on green tags can be found at

The AWEA states the following on Shadow Flicker (as quoted from Flicker):

"Normally, it should not be a problem in the U.S., because at U.S. latitudes (except in Alaska) the sun's angle is not very low in the sky, and the appropriate setback for noise (see above) will be sufficient to prevent shadow flicker problems."

Where the statement on noise includes:
"a wind turbine 300 meters away is no noisier than the reading room of a library" - 300 meters = 984 feet

Ice Throws
Concern has been expressed over what happens when ice affixes to turbine blades. In most cases, if the ice is significant enough, the turbines shut down, but if shut down does not occur, calculations on ice travel based on mass and height are calculable.

Under normal operating circumstances, studies conducted as described at the following site have found that the maximum throw from ice off of a turbine blade is 92 meters, or basically the length of a soccer field -

The following site, when it was online, offered a good algorithm for calculating how far ice could be thrown and how far it has been thrown in studies - from everything I see in this study, ice would never makes as far as 1000 feet from a turbine...

Both websites listed above suggest the following simple formula to calculate how far ice can be thrown:

d = (D + H) x 1.5

d = maximum throwing distance in meters
D = rotor diameter in meters
H = hub height in meters

Local Laws and Setbacks
Not long ago I sat on a town committee that discussed, researched, and improved upon setbacks and noise levels as recommended to the committee by the county planning board. Some say this was all done in secret and behind closed doors, but the truth of the matter is all meetings were open to the public as they should have been, and several public events were conducted to support this work, so anyone who states otherwise is misguided and/or misinformed. I also will say that in sitting approximately at the common setback of 1500 feet from actual turbines in Fenner NY, and in evaluating the 1500 foot distance from buildings on our farm, a 1500 foot setback from a residence seems sufficient. Additionally, while sitting inside my vehicle 500 feet from an actual turbine at the Fenner wind farm, while the turbine was running at a noticeable rotational rate, neither my wife nor I heard anything inside of our vehicle - which is less insulated than a modern home is. Also, as stated by representatives from Iberdrola at one of the committees public events, they work to place turbines at least 2500 feet from a residence where ever possible.

Since the time when the committee finished its work, others have expressed opinions (where I do see the points of view on some of these) on setbacks, however I still say that commercial wind power needs to be made to work where ever possible for the aforementioned reasons listed earlier. So, after additional thought on how to satisfy naysayers, perhaps an additional way to define setbacks from a safety perspective, one which could be proven by mathematical calculation is as follows (and I have not even attempted to create a formula and/or calculate this, but by laws of physics it is possible):

1) we know the maximum speed a rotor could spin if the brake fails (using size and weight this could be attained) using the appropriate angle of   
the blade coupled with an average or maximum known wind speed for a given area
2) we know the length of a blade and weight of a blade
3) we know the height of a tower

So, using the maximum speed, assuming the entire blade breaks (or shortest portion if this would travel further) and max height at which is would release from it has to be calculable to determine how far it could travel. We then should take that, add a small buffer value, and there is your setback based on structure failure. This calculation would have a variable in that the height of a tower is not constant, so the setbacks of a wind law would depend on the height of the towers being set up. This may or may not be greater than the current 1500 feet from residences proposed in some communities - as I said, I haven't figured out yet how to calculate this figure.

Another additional consideration to possibly consider - the Noise report from December 2009 says that the EPA recommends a maximum of 45DBA indoors, where between the hours of 10pm to 7am (sleep hours) anything above 35DBA may be disruptive to sleep. With that, when conducting tests when establishing a potential wind farm the goal of noise test should be to see how far away turbines would have to be placed to see where 35-40DBA is heard inside, and maybe governing laws should have a provision that states if turbines, once up and running are found to break the 35-40DBA threshold, they should be required to shut down between 10pm and 7am until the problem is resolved. Obviously details would also need to be included defining how to test this from a complainant and also define the resolutions process and subsequent retesting and mitigation procedures. Sure, two wind towers in New York State have recently collapsed - but there are always bumps in the road on the way to perfection. This situation does demonstrate the need to place commercial turbines appropriately, and if a land owner chooses to have one, they must accept the risks and consider & understand when to go near or when to stay away from a unit.

And for those who will not receive royalties and as a result ask "what's in for the rest of us" - how about the opportunity to have a lowered tax base or the opportunity to make up for State budget cuts that are ever so prevalent.

Some additional thoughts to consider are:

1) coal/fossil fuels vs. wind power - this is an easy answer - tons and tons of carbon and other pollutants pumped into the atmosphere each
day vs. no environmental side effects of wind turbines.

2) clear cutting of some trees to put up wind turbines - if it makes doubters feel better, perhaps we should ask wind companies to start a program  to plant 100 new trees for every tree that is sacrificed to put up a wind turbine - if there are issues with making room for the small area of land that a wind turbine requires, then projects run by housing developers, utilities, and highway departments had also better come under scrutiny. Also, a farmer living under the Lowville wind project stated publicly in the news paper he only loses a 20 foot diameter circle of land per wind turbine. Even if trees in that area must be cleared to erect any wind turbine, I'm sure that the pollution that is offset by that one wind turbine greatly outweighs the Co2 that is scrubbed out of the atmosphere by that group of trees.

3) turbine noise - To see the noise issue for myself, my wife and I observed the large scale wind turbines located in the town of Fenner NY. On our trip through the area in which the wind farm is located, we made the follow three stops:

Stop #1 - Approximately 1/4 mile away - from here we could hear an extremely low, soothing sound. While here, cows located directly under the turbine were louder, a distant train was much louder, and chirping birds were louder than any noise from the turbine.

Stop #2 - Neighbor of the wind farm (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from the closest turbine) - in speaking with the couple at this location, they mentioned that they hear absolutely nothing from inside their home, minimal sound while outside and upwind from the turbine, and have absolutely no complaints about the wind farm - and the couple does not have a turbine on their land.

Stop #3 - Approximately 500 feet from a turbine (basically directly underneath it) - from here, there was still an extremely low, soothing sound but a bit more intense. We observed from inside of our car - with the motor off and window down, the like sound was present. With the motor off, and window up, we heard nothing.

4) Scenery - wind turbines are much more pleasant to look at than a nuclear stack, dirty emissions from coal and fossil fuels, foreign oil producers, and unprecedented weather patterns caused by global warming.

Below, I'll list some facts and numbers that further demonstrate that alternative, clean energy sources must be considered:

Variables to remember:
One 1.5MW wind turbine averages 4000mwh(4000000kwh)/year (
1kwh = 3413 btu (
1 ton of coal = 18,000,000 btu (
1 barrel of crude oil = 5,800,000 btu (
1 ton = 2000lbs
1000kw = 1mw
1000mw = 1gw

1 barrel of crude oil =1699kwh(1.7mwh)
1 ton of coal = 5274kwh(5.27mwh)

(1) 1.5mw wind turbine can produce 4000000kwh/year

it takes 2354 barrels of oil/year to produce 4000000kwh/year or 758 tons of coal/year to produce 4000000kwh/year

(1) 1.5mw wind turbine = $164780/year worth of oil (at $70/barrel) or $18040/year worth of coal

Also (and more importantly):
(1) 1.5mw wind turbine produces enough (
a) power to run 500 homes
b) power to offset - the release of 6,080,000 lbs of carbon dioxide/year
                             - the release of 19,600 lbs of sulfur dioxide/year
                             - the release of 32,000 lbs of nitrogen oxide/year
c) power equivalent to removing 650 cars from the road

The following supporting figures regarding coal are derived by tables found at and from information listed above

(1) 1.5MW wind turbine output = 4gwh/year
Coal produces ~825 tons of CO2/gwh
(1) 1.5MW wind turbine offsets 3300tons/year or 6600000lbs of CO2 pollution/year

(1) 1.5MW wind turbine output = 4gwh/year
Coal produces 2.97 tons of SO2/gwh
(1) 1.5MW wind turbine offsets 2.97x4 = 11.8tons/year or 23760lbs of SO2 pollution/year

(1) 1.5MW wind turbine output = 4gwh/year
Coal produces 2.99 tons of NO2/gwh
(1) 1.5MW wind turbine offsets11.96 tons/year or 23920lbs of NO2 pollution/year

For more information, requests, or if you would like to share information, please see the Contact Ian page

Wind Power



Residential Wind Power - Professional Installation

Residential wind turbine installations by home and business owners, combined with other clean energy solutions, are areas of Energy Farming that should be expanded to further reduce our dependency on foreign oil, contribute to cleaner power to help save our planet, and ease the burden on our power grid. Imagine for a moment what would happen to our power demand if every capable home that had the capacity to support a residential wind turbine for some, all, or in excess of its power needs had a turbine..... Now in lieu of imagining, I have put together a data set that shows if every US home had 225 watt solar panels on 250sf of roof area (250sf is an assumption, however a local installer figures for 280sf), and 10% of all residential US homes had a Skystream 3.7 personal wind turbine (10% is an assumption), I figure on the average residential US homes could supply 44% of their total power needs.
Click here to view the data I gathered that led to this conclusion .

Regarding residential wind power, I'd like to also say that local governments who are working to ensure safe & beneficial wind farm installations for all citizens should NOT INTERFERE with this facet of the wind farming. If a person wants to help themselves or their business succeed by use of a residential sized wind turbine, political bickering and personal bias should not stand in the way of ones own right to be self sufficient and independent - so long as the safety of adjacent neighbors is maintained. Residential wind turbines are smaller, can tie directly into a homes AC system without batteries, require less wind to start up, and can be partially funded by grants and tax breaks - so as with solar power, everyone who has the ability, should add their drop to the energy demand bucket and help to kick starting Energy Farming in our area of the nation. A good site to view available incentives and credits is:

A typical residential wind installation is a multi-step process. The following are the general steps involved in this process.
1) Confirm local zoning will allow for such an installation
2) Determine who will install the system
3) Confirm that a site has adequate wind speeds to support the installation
4) Determine what size wind generator to buy
5) Investigate funding options
6) Apply for required permits
7) Purchase and install a wind turbine

For information on assistance with purchasing and/or installing a residential wind generator, see the Products & Service page to request resources that I can steer you towards. Below are some of the more popular manufacturers of this equipment:






Click here to view details describing how installing wind power fits into the overall concept of Energy Farming where clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, & biofuels are farmed from available resources on a given farm or at a desired location, and also to view how communities that move to begin using densified hay as a heat source could generate local jobs, and local revenue.