We hear a lot from the President, his environmental allies, and crony capitalists regarding the wonders of wind energy. Obama’s favorite crony capitalist, who is also a prominent supporter, heads up General Electric, a prime beneficiary of the wind power subsidies, grants, and mandates that have poured forth from the federal government ever since the president took power. These subsidies — giveaways — will be severely cut back at the end of this year unless Congress and the President extend them.
Now comes a documentary ” Windfall” that reports on the many downsides from wind power development that you will not hear about from its promoters: neighbors suffering from the effects of these towers and their spinning propellers, among them. But the problems go beyond the “whopping, whopping” and strobe effect of the blades rotation. The movie is a revelation about the dark underside of green energy. These schemes might enrich their promoters who donate to Democrats. They also might give a warm and fuzzy feeling for environmentalists in big cities whose exposure to them may be limited to seeing them along the road as they motor to their vacation homes. But they cause a lot of misery for the common folks left behind.
The Wall Street Journal reviewed the movie when it first started hitting the film festival circuit:
The film offers few experts on either side of the debate; rather, it allows local townspeople to discuss their own research, experiences and fears, such as the wind turbine’s “flicker effect,” as the machines pass across the sun and cast immense shadows, as well as the dangers of their low frequency hum.
Robert Bryce, author of “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future,” and a frequent critic of the wind industry (in the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal), says the “infrasound” issue is the most problematic for the wind industry. “They want to dismiss it out of hand, but the low frequency noise is very disturbing,” he explains. “I interviewed people all over, and they all complained with identical words and descriptions about the problems they were feeling from the noise.”
A more updated review by John Anderson for the Wall Street Journal was published on Friday;
They’re sustainable, they produce no emissions and they’ll reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Right? Not quite. And living next to one seems like a nightmare.
Ms. Israel’s movie proves, once again, that the best nonfiction cinema possesses the same attributes as good fiction: Strong characters, conflict, story arc, visual style. The people of Meredith, be they pro or con the wind-turbine plan being fast-tracked by their town council, are articulate, passionate, likable. The issues are argued with appropriate gravity, and even though Ms. Israel, a Meredith homeowner herself, is clearly antiturbine, the other side gets a chance to speak its piece: Farmers, an endangered species, need income. Turbine leases are a way to it. But not only do the energy and ecological benefits fall short of what they’re cracked up to be, the turbines themselves are an environmental disaster: The monotonous whoosh of the propellers, the constant strobing effect caused by the 180-foot-long propellers, the threat of ice being hurled by the blades, the knowledge that it’s never going to end, all adds up to a recipe for madness. And that’s just during the movie.
Read more here.