Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Do Wind Turbines Not Make Italians Sick?

The anti-wind power group will tell anyone who'll listen (that's usually themselves) about just how malevolent wind turbines are.   To hear them talk the damned things can be half a mile away and the noise is so oppressive that it will drive you off your land.   They'll even make you sick, give you a case of what the anti-windies call "wind turbine syndrome."   
They'll make you sick that is unless you're an Italian or an entire Italian village or even 800 Italian villages.
Today's New York Times has a piece looking at the ancient Italian village of Tocco da Casauria (pictured above) where the locals actually have wind turbines right in their back yards and are loving it:
More than 800 Italian communities now make more energy than they use because of
the recent addition of renewable energy plants, according to a survey this year
by the Italian environmental group

Renewable energy has been such a boon for Tocco that it makes money from
electricity production and has no local taxes or fees for services like garbage

A quintessential Italian town of 2,700 people in Italy’s poor mountainous
center, with its well-maintained church and ruined castle, Tocco is in most ways
stuck in yesteryear. Old men talking politics fill gritty bars, and old women
wander through the market. The olive harvest is the most important event on the

Yet, from an energy perspective, Tocco is very much tomorrow. In addition to
the town’s wind turbines, solar panels generate electricity at its ancient
cemetery and sports complex, as well as at a growing number of private

I don't know, you tell me.   Is it the Italians that are different than us or is it maybe their wind?  Or, perhaps, could it be that the anti-wind power brigades are just full of NIMBY shit.


Skinny Dipper said...

The Dutch have had old fashioned windmills for centuries. I know that they are slower than the current models. However, I haven't heard of anyone getting Dutch mill disease.

If we are not supposed to get our energy from wind, where are we supposed to get it? Tar Sands?

The Danes and Germans have wind turbines? Why? Ir's because they want to be less dependent on oil that comes from Russia and the Middle East.

Christian said...

Hi Mound! Well, I am a Canadian~Italian, so I like to think I'm special ;)

But seriously, I have followed along enough to wonder what exactly that site is full of. I have come to the conclusion that it's just hot air.

It seems every post they publish is a regurgitation of right wing talking points.

And as you probably know, one of the contributors on there, John Leforet {spelling} is a failed Liberal candidate who respects Tim Hudak, of all people. I don't know, perhaps they're one issue voters, perhaps they're just full of shit.

At any rate, I question what their true intent is.

Oh, and they also endorse Rob Ford as Toronto's next mayor. That just screams progress!

The Mound of Sound said...

Yeah these guys have just about ruined what little credibility they ever had. The Chinese are making great use of wind power, the Scandinavians, the Germans and the Italians are too. If you believe the anti-windies you are left to conclude that there's something physiologically or psychologically defective in their group - or else that they're just a bunch of damned liars.

Anonymous said...

the installation at Tocco da Casauria is four small turbines E48. much smaller than any planned installations in Ontario. The village is also concerned with noise and visuals

The Mound of Sound said...

Well Anon, do you speak on behalf of the village? Perhaps you speak on behalf of the 800-villages that have chosen the same path. I can understand they would be concerned with the visual issue, I don't care for it much either. That said, I'd sooner look at a windmill for the next twenty or thirty years than worry about a coal-fired generator plant fouling my air and wreaking havoc on my climate. The world is at a point where we have to make concessions necessary to turn the AGW threat around and that's going to take a good long while. The Dutch, the Germans, the Italians, the French, the Scandinavians, the Chinese all understand that. Time you did too.

Anonymous said...

It is notable that the New York Times article made no effort to examine that issue. How do we know that people aren't adversely affected? Do you keep up with the Italian press, with Italian-language blogs and fora? Do you know how far the turbines are from homes in Tocco?

And it is true that the turbines are much smaller than those typically proposed and erected in North America, with blades about half as long, chopping through less than half an acre of air each, rather than one-and-a-half or more:

The Mound of Sound said...

You're torturing logic Rucio. Why would the NYTs even mention the wind turbine goblins unless they were an issue? I wonder what other non-issues they neglected to mention? Really, use some common sense.

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Anonymous said...

The Seoul Forum 2010 is being broadcast on television at the moment here in South Korea. It is interesting the speakers the Korean Government have brought in to do presentations regarding renewal engery including wind engery. A speaker whose name I was not able to get from the US spoke about the countries who are developing wind power such as Germany, Spain and wait for it.........China. China is now the number one country in wind and solar power. They have created 10 million jobs in recycling. MOS...see if you can find the Seoul Forum and read for yourself. Samsung here in South Korea is in the process of installing wind mill power on all its factories. The US is also developing wind power much more than we in Canada know. Anyong

Anonymous said...

That was from the 2009 Seoul Foreum...sorry. Anyong

The Mound of Sound said...

I didn't have much luck with the Seoul Forum, Anyong. I'll keep an eye out for it in the future.

Part of what troubles me with the anti-windies is the shallowness of their contentions. i.e. a kid gets a nosebleed, his house happens to be within a km. of a wind turbine, ergo the wind turbine is responsible for the nosebleed. No reasonable person would leap to that sort of conclusion but the anti-windies do it all the time.

They've found one doctor, a GP, who conjured up wind turbine syndrome. I've yet to see any peer-reviewed research studies to back up her claims and, until that changes, I'll not be persuaded. My professional experience left me less than enthralled with the rank and file of the medical profession. Beyond this lady the rest of the evidence appears anecdotal, flimsy and curiously contradicted by experience elsewhere.

I can accept that some find these things unsightly and fret that the intrusion may lower their property values but that surely must be weighed against the social utility of decarbonizing our society.

I'm also pretty sure that wind turbine energy will merely be a stop-gap alternative. We seem to be nearing breakthroughs in solar, tidal and geothermal power that will overcome the efficiency limitations of wind power.

A team at Western Washington University just received a patent on a new solar energy technology that captures the entire light spectrum and is said to enable a tenfold increase in realizable energy per solar panel.

There is no magic bullet, alternative energy source - at least not yet - but the default option - fossil-fuels - are simply no longer viable. Once you accept that as the prime consideration the merits of the alternatives become far more obvious.

Anonymous said...

At present we are using 800 million barrels of oil a day. That doesn't include the thirst of China and India. We won't be able to stay with this for much longer. You are correct that wind power won't be the be all and end all but it is a good beginning. It is difficult to believe that wind power causes nose bleeds. I used to get nose bleeds as a child all the time and still do with sever colds. It appears to me Canadians are looking for excuses due to the fact with the new engery call, some industries are going to fall and others will be born. It's a fear of the Labour Unions for example when it comes to change. We cannot be afraid of the new but embrace the change for the better. I can tell you, South Koreans are embracing the new mind set regarding the environment and they will be one of the leading countries given their drive which has been proven since 1953 and their recession of 1997. Brazil is also bring down their pollution emmissions. Anyong

Anonymous said...

As you asked Anonymous, do you speak for the village, tMoS? And as for torturing logic, you are the one who has leapt to all manner of conclusions based on the absence of information!

Anonymous said...

More bullshit from the NYT:
For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy