I believe noise is a design problem that could be fixed, and until this issue is cleared up, these turbines (GE 1.5 +MW) do not belong in populated areas. Because of lack of research, we do not know what a "safe" distance is... Industrial wind turbines are not quite the easy, clean green answer we have been told they are. Corporations stand to make HUGE profits off of them with subsidies provided by taxpayers.I took a look at this video online to see what the issue was. The first thing I noticed was that the video starts with the "noise" from rotating turbines, but then switches to a street scene with the noise of trucks rolling by. It wasn't clear to me which was worse. I have been arguing for years -- and I am not the only one -- that you cannot hear a wind turbine if a car drives by.
The rest of the video also seems quite unconvincing. The people are interviewed in their living rooms, and it seems perfectly quiet there. And if you take a look at at 5:15 on the video, you can hear the bell on the front porch clearly, but I couldn't make out any swooshing of blades. The video seems to document the complete inaudibility of the wind turbines on the front porches of these homes. Where exactly are these turbines heard? Directly underneath?
Don't get me wrong: I am not trying to belittle the people on this video. But we should keep two things in mind. First, wind turbines are new, and people have the tendency to actually perceive them, whereas we take so many other things for granted -- such as the constant noise from traffic that surrounds us. (A few years ago, I decided against buying a house in southern France partly because of all the scooters that passed by.)
Second, the US is indeed mainly leaving renewables up to utilities, whereas European policy has allowed common people to invest in renewable generators. For years, I have been saying that NIMBYism is more likely to occur when communities see large projects coming at them. If the community does not directly benefit from the wind turbines on the hill, then they are only affected by the sight and sound of them.
The solution is quite simple. We have to involve communities, not only by allowing them to have input into the project up front (the video talks about how little community input there was, and all of it apparently occurred after contracts had been signed), but also by allowing them to invest and financially benefit from such projects. If each of these homeowners on this video had been allowed to chip in and buy a share of the project in installments of, say, $5000, they would see these turbines completely differently. And in these days of financial crisis, they would probably wish they had put more money into those turbines.
You can imagine how that community would feel about the prospect of a follow-up project.
I close with the view from my desk over Freiburg, Germany (click to enlarge photo). You will notice a large number of buildings with solar roofs in addition to four turbines on Rosskopf Hill in the background - the first leading from the Rhine Graben to the Black Forest. Locals cycle and hike up to the base of these turbines, which are a community project.
Remind me to post a video of these turbines from underneath -- and the video I took of that house in southern France with a scooter buzzing by outside.