French NIMBYs get wind turbines removed, shift focus back to nuclear

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Climate Progress

Earlier this month, judges in Montpellier, France ordered French energy company GDF Suez to take down 10 wind turbines near the city of Arras in Northern France. The decision comes after a six-year legal struggle between GDF and a local couple who claimed the 10 turbines, installed back in 2007, destroyed the character of their 17th century chateau. According to the French court, the clean energy generators were guilty of causing the “total disfigurement of a bucolic and rustic landscape.” GDF Suez was given four months to dismantle the turbines or face a fine of €500 per day per turbine. GDF was also ordered to pay the chateau owners €37,500 in damages. The wind turbines had been providing electricity to over half of the 40,000 residents of Arras. The judges emphasized that the ruling was not because of actual demonstrated lost property value, but because of things like the “unsightliness of white and red flashing lights.”

In a statement, the couple’s lawyer, Philippe Bodereau, said: “This decision is very important because it demonstrates to all those who put up with windfarms with a feeling of powerlessness that the battle is not in vain, even against big groups, or authorities who deliver building permits, that legal options are available to everyone, that we have a right to live in peace and that people can do other things than suffer.”

Renewable energy advocates are worried that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent in France, and will make the country’s goal of deriving 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030 further out of reach. France is currently heavily dependent on nuclear. 58 nuclear reactors across France provide over 75 percent of the nation’s power mix. Nuclear reactors have long been the key to French energy independence. French President Francois Hollande has pledged to bring the country’s reliance on nuclear down to 50 percent by 2025, without lifting the country’s ban on fracking, in place since 2011.

While these nuclear reactors don’t seem to deter the 77 million annual foreign visitors, who bring in an estimated €37 billion to the economy, many in France are worried that the dramatic expansion of wind turbines planned by the Hollande government — up to 12,000 turbines by 2020 from 4,000 today – will destroy tourism.

A recent study in the U.S., led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found no statistical evidence that the presence of wind turbines affected nearby house prices. These results were based on home sale data for 51,000 houses in 27 counties and nine states.

The ruling on the Arras turbines, which GDF has already appealed, is just the latest in the French people’s turbulent relationship with turbines. In August, a French court banned a local council from erecting turbines near the Mont Saint Michel abbey island after UNESCO warned they could cost the extremely popular site, visited by 2.5 million every year, its World Heritage status. Plans to build an offshore wind farm within view of Normandy D-Day beaches have also been blasted, some going so far as to call the renewable energy scheme “an insult to the memory of the thousands who died there.” Last year, villagers in southwestern France even took their mayor hostage for 24 hours after a plan to build 10 new wind turbines in the area was announced. German plans to set up 198-metre-high turbines along German/French border, have also caused an uproar, with opponents claiming that the wind farm would destroy the charm of the 15th century Chateau de Malbrouck

“Fifty percent of the cases (where turbines have been set up) are now before the courts,” Alexandre Gady, president of the Society for the Protection of the Landscape and Aesthetics in France told the AFP.

Studies in Europe trying to estimate the effect of turbines on tourism have come up with various numbers, suggesting that the impact is relatively low, but not negligible. One study found that “32 percent of tourists and locals do not mind wind turbines at all, while only 9.2 percent do,” and another that “59 percent of those surveyed… said they did not mind the turbines, while 28 percent said they were ‘acceptable’; in contrast, only 12 percent said they did not like the turbines.”

Some states in the U.S. — including California, New Jersey, Maine and Michigan — are even using their wind turbines to attract tourists, charging curious visitors a fee for a tour of a clean energy park.  

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  • George Papadopoulos

    A more appropriate title for this article would be:
    “French victims of inappropriate wind development have their human rights upheld in a court”

    • suthnsun

      we have a human right to clean air and water, not to a view as far as I know.

      • George Papadopoulos

        And a human right to restful sleep in absence of unwanted noise…

        • suthnsun

          I happened to sleep under one for a few nights in Spain, sitting on the ridge right above us, not sure if we were to windward or leeward though. Anyway we did not notice any noise at all, no comment from any of party of 6 at any time.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Yeah, I get your point. YOU didn’t notice any noise at all.
            Are you aware of the testimony of those who do hear a huge piece of machinery move, and the large number of papers written on this issue?

          • suthnsun

            George, by capitalising ‘you’ are you shouting at me? I can only speak for myself, I am not a researcher in this field. I also recount my observation that there were 5 others there. My reading has included some references to the amount of noise emitted by wind turbines, my recollection is it is similar to a fridge at so many metres? This article does not mention noise as a factor, are you suggesting that the article has suppressed this?
            The balance of visual and noise amenity against needs for human habitation is important and planning decisions attempt in the main to address this I think.
            I live in view of 2 transmission towers cutting a swathe through the hillside, not ideal but I accept it. 2 years ago a duplicate transmission was installed, different field of view but still somewhat noticeable. I do resent that duplication because I know that it cost $160 million, was not necessary because there were far cheaper and better solutions available at the time and because I and others will be paying unnecessarily for it.
            I saw on TV the other night owls flying totally silently because of the wing design, that was then translated to silent fan blade design. I hope that that is widely translated to all fan designs in the interest of us all, since we are all bombarded with fan noise in our daily lives but I do want a fridge and computer and heater..

            On the other hand, climate change is an existential threat to civilisation in toto in my opinion, so the faster we learn how to make the transition to renewables the better for us all.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Did you miss the point about noise and visual pollution from the Telegraph article:

            “The first evening when we arrived in the chateau (from Anvers in Belgium) after their construction, it was a firework display; we wondered where these lights were coming from.

            “Every day we have to suffer the visual and noise pollution. I can see the turbines from everywhere in the castle, from every room,” said Mr Wallecan.”

          • suthnsun

            Yes, I did not read the source article so I missed that reference.

          • Martin

            Hi George,
            Did you miss that we are talking here about Chateau de Flers in the middle of the industrial agglomeration of Lille? Bucolic views? What a joke!
            And who in their good mind would believe anything said by two ‘sinjoren’ from Antwerp? I would take the locals more seriously who say: “Due to two people, there is a knife under the throat of an area of 6,700 inhabitants”.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Maybe go and repeat your ideas before a court in France?

          • Martin

            Don’t be surprised when this case will go the same way as a previous one: A nice, big out-of-court settlement.

          • RuralGrubby

            Again, what evidence do you refer to, that shows things like wind and solar are actually reducing GHG emissions at any significant level to help concerns over climate change. Not one coal plant has been shut down as the result of introducing wind & solar energy. In fact Germany has just opened 10 new coal plants and Japan has reneged on it’s commitments of reduce C02 emissions, relying again on coal energy since their Fukishima accident.

          • Giles

            3,000MW of coal fired generation has been mothballed in Australia alone. Germany has closed many more coal plants than it has opened.

          • RuralGrubby

            Proof please!

          • Giles

            I don’t have time to do your research for you. Try this for starters ….

            and then look at the AEMO statement of opportunities report, and perhaps read this website more thoroughly

          • Mary

            Aah, no. Germany is now mining brown lignite coal for their new generation coal plants. Wind, according to the AWEA and EWEA, is supplemental – it does not replace anything.

          • wideEyedPupil

            Yeh, it’s called nocebo effect George and people like sarah larrie are the more likely vector for it’s transmission. It’s a communicable disease if ever there was one.

          • RuralGrubby

            So by indicating you had no problems sleeping at the base of the turbine, (which eliminates the standing waves created by turbines) is unequivocal proof that people who are suffering are essentially lying.

          • suthnsun

            I add that there was a whole village there, mostly below us. I was not sufficiently practiced in Spanish to ask about their experience. The gully had a lot of trees that may have helped. The whole sequence of ‘ indicating .. unequivocal proof … suffering … lying’ is a non-sequitur I don’t understand that.

          • Mary

            the problem is INAUDIBLE noise, the same thing that causes sick building syndrome, discovered in France in 1956. That is why you did not hear anything, unless the turbines were not spinning.

        • Petra Liverani

          So those who work nightshift and live under a flight path should be able to stop planes flying over? Producing energy is going to have an impact one way or another. Do the people in the chateau have more of a right to a nice view than other people have the right not to have their homes and amenities destroyed by increasing extreme weather events? No doubt in the future wind turbines will be replaced by more discreet energy producers in which case they can be taken down. We can’t reverse the climate, however. The issue of visual amenity is way way down the list.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Petra, I can’t solve all the injustices in this world, but I certainly don’t comment about those choosing to work night shifts or who buy homes under flight paths…
            Even if Australia installed enough wind turbines to shut down all fossil fuel generation, that would need 6000 wind turbines per large coal plant coupled to huge battery resources. Any clue where these 150m towers are going to go?
            If fewer words wind turbines are not a solution they are a dodgy contraption that produces only one sure thing: environmental harm, noise pollution, gross waste of resources and still will only produce a marginal reduction in CO2 emissions.
            Petra, time to go back to the drawing board. Maybe a bit more emphasis on energy conservation and less wastage are guaranteed ways to reduce CO2 emissions.

          • Martin

            Hi George,
            All 34,500 inhabitants of the City of Albany in WA sleep undisturbed by the local wind turbines that provide 80% of the city’s electricity. Nothing dodgy about them. Energy efficiency of course is always good idea. So what is your energy usage and CO2 footprint?

          • George Papadopoulos

            Oh really? That’s an interesting claim!
            Last night was just one more night here in the Southern Tablelands where the mass of wind turbines was making the place hum like hell.
            I assume lots of people in the Capital and Southern Tableland regions who are noise sensitive must still be guessing why they and not necessarily other people around them can hear this distressing low frequency noise…

          • Mary

            80%? Please post the production numbers so we can see them. That’s a national first and should be highly publicized.

          • Mary

            Wind turbines are nothing more than an expensive hood ornament on a gas or coal plant.

      • RuralGrubby

        Then why is there local by-laws in many countries on where billboards can be placed? I would personally like to know where is your data which shows that things like wind can provide clean air or water.

        • suthnsun

          There are (and rightly so) by-laws about a great many facets of life, that includes placement of windmills.

          While not really relevant to what was I was referring to, the logic of your statement that wind can provide clean air and water goes like this;

          Wind displaces coal generation (Giles provided some info above and if you search with a logical intent it becomes self evident and well supported)

          coal generation uses enormous amounts of water, typically displacing largely potable water supplies. It may also pollute the water if that process of cooling and dust control etc. is not remediated.

          coal generation exhausts enormous amounts of particles as well as ghg and mercury and other pollutants

          The glaring example of this result of coal generation is China between Beijing and Shanghai, unrelenting smog at times of strong coal burning. Also water pollution in China has resulted in the necessity to buy bottled water , it is a serious problem.

          Hence, wind energy generation can, indirectly ‘provide’ clean water and air.

    • George — It’s a big leap from “unsightliness of white and red flashing lights” to human rights. Could you explain your thinking there?

      • George Papadopoulos

        and the noise issue David?
        Mind you, flashing lights at night time coming through curtains isn’t going to help you go to sleep is it?

        • And the connection you see with human rights is… ?

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, do you come from the place where Mugabe rules? Ever heard of this organisation:

            Don’t people not have a right to restful sleep?

          • George, the comment about Mugabe is irrelevant and does your argument no favours. It’s an ad hom and has no place in this discussion.

            From your link:

            …The WHO Constitution enshrines the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.

            …The right to health includes access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.

            …Yet, about 150 million people globally suffer financial catastrophe annually, and 100 million are pushed below the poverty line as a result of health care expenditure.

            The right to health means that States must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible. It does not mean the right to be healthy.

            …Vulnerable and marginalized groups in societies tend to bear an undue proportion of health problems.

            These items offer marginal support to your thinking. The focus is on affordable health care for vulnerable and marginalised groups and states generating conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible.

            The plaintiffs are not marginalised, so the question for your argument then becomes: to what extent does this case contribute to healthy conditions for *everyone*?

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, I’m sort of getting the sniff of Mugabe again… The “rich” French family are not marginalised, so it’s OK to make them live with ongoing sleep disruption, flashing nocturnal lights, sleep disruption, etc etc? So can I hear someone chanting: long live the proletariat of the cities: down to the wealthy landowners?
            Yes I agree government can only do their best to promote public health, and that includes not ruining it in the first place with industrial developments.
            I suggest you consider: 6000 wind turbines (2MW 30% capacity), massive battery storage etc. and you can only close down one large coal plant (2GW)… Time to start looking for the options!

          • George, refer previous comment re Mugabe.

            The extent of sleep disruption on the part of the plaintiffs and their guests is an inference that is not supported either way with evidence.

            The question for your WHO-related argument remains: what is the balance between the health impacts (of whatever size) on the owners and “generat(ing) conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible”.

            “Industrial developments” is a very broad term. It is not helpful to conflate a set of turbines with other images brought up by the term. That’s an argument from ambiguity and emotion, not evidence.

            The alternative options to coal powered generation are addressed on other threads.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Did you not clearly show prejudice against the “rich” vs. the extra TLC towards the poor? Balancing priorities means discrimination towards the wealthy?
            And what evidence didn’t support the claims of noise nuisance? Do you ever research and read scientific literature? Do ever defer to professional opinion?
            And, shall I refer to wind turbines as “fluffy white fans”, or “RET subsidy farming”, instead of industrial developments? I could because unlike other industries they are pretty useless…
            As far as options to coal, wind turbines are not alternative option. Wind turbines and something else, particularly inefficient open-cycle gas plants may be an option to coal… More CSG wells, pollution, destroyed aquifers, noisy compressors etc.

          • George – to take your items in turn:
            1. (a) No. I simply asked where you reckoned the balance to be.
            1. (b) I repeat this question.
            2. (a) The article does mention noise. It does not mention sleep disruption, so no evidence either way with respect to the specific case.
            2. (b) Yes. The scientific literature is clear and is documented on other threads.
            3. Just call them wind turbines.
            4. (a) Wind turbines + distributed/utility solar + storage + hydro + biomass + geothermal + other (including ‘hybrid nuclear’) are discussed on other threads.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Ok David so the wealthy have the same rights as the poor. Thank you. So did the “rich” family believe that the wind turbines are noisy? Yes. Is there evidence to the contrary NO. Is there published scientific papers suggesting wind turbines are a source of noise nuisance? Most certainly. Should governments be allowing the proliferation of an industry that consumes at lot and provides piddles of energy? No. So End of that discussion.

            And with the “options”, if left to the RET mechanism and current market forces, yep it wind turbines everywhere, CSG wells everywhere and Australia’s landscape polluted with chemical and noise like never before.

            Clearly the RET needs the axe, and a good wake call to everyone who in the name of environmentalism promote the most useless, noise polluting industry which turned my peaceful rural environment into an occasionally hellish rumbling mess – 35 kms away.

            My story is found here:

          • George —
            That’s the third time you have attributed either intent or words to me that are, in point of fact, not there. Viz: Mugabe, prejudice, and the rights of wealthy/poor. Your thanks are therefore more akin to a debater’s trick.

            Yes, the plaintiffs gave evidence of their perceptions with respect to noise and also lights. Your assumption about disruption to sleep is just that. No evidence either way.

            All your other comments are discussed on other threads.

            Do you have anything substantive to add on your argument about human rights?

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, since you are so sensitive to me putting words in your mouth, I ask you: do the “rich” have the same rights as the “poor”?
            I also find your obsession with the “lack of evidence” disturbing you remind me of the British historian that argues that the Armenian genocide didn’t happen, because the intent to commit genocide can’t be proven – it supposedly just a total massacre that wiped out a whole population…
            Yes the plaintiffs talk about the annoying nature of noise and lights. If they didn’t submit evidence to the court then why did the court order the removal of the wind turbines? Was it only views and property value? Of yes maybe it was.
            And who would be mad enough to pay a fortune for a property that sounds and looks like it is in the middle of industrial zone?
            What more can I add to the argument about human rights? Do you see it fit to have a developer move in totally trash your property, make it an uncomfortable unpleasant place to be. Ruin your sleep quality and health?

          • George —

            You introduced the argument about human rights. This means the burden of proof lies with you. That’s the way logic works.

            Your comment about the British historian is also a kind of ad hominem. Again, spurious and unhelpful. Moreover, you are responsible for your own feelings.

            As noted previously, the World Health Organisation document you linked to offers little support for you. However, it is the only thing your have offered that is actually connected to your argument.

            So the question for you remains: what is the balance between the health impacts (of whatever size) on the owners and “generat(ing) conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible”.

          • RuralGrubby

            Are you suggesting that because a handful of people are suffering, it is therefore O.K. to allow this suffering because you perceive that the greater good is being address? WOW!!

          • No. I’m asking the question of George where does the balance sit.

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, my understanding as expressed above is clear: health is a fundamental right as per WHO. Health is a state of perfect wellbeing as per WHO. Forcing someone to put up with sonic torture during sleep hours is just that. I destroys wellbeing and health, and there is wealth of knowledge and literature about what sleep deprivation does.

            To make it clearer here is the summary of a paper I co-authored. If you still can’t get my point then I can’t help you:

            Noise is considered a threat to public health that can seriously harm humans. Understanding the health impacts of noise has advanced significantly over past decades. Some jurisdictions responded by implementing policies to reduce the negative health effects of transportation and industrial noise. These gains in health protection from noise are under threat. In Canada government policies to support wind energy development have been adopted, in part, to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. However, wind energy facilities can produce unwanted sound and negative health and socio-economic effects when sited too close to humans. Peer reviewed literature, case reports, and access to information documents are used to evaluate government policies in Canada. Together these sources support the conclusion that human health is being traded off in favour of government policies that support wind energy development. This trade off conflicts with international charters that acknowledge the highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of every human being.

            (Trading off human health: Wind turbine noise and government policy — Carmen Krogh et al, Canada – presented at the

          • George —

            You haven’t as yet made a point. This is a shame, because it could lead to an interesting dialogue.

            You have instead made a set of assertions, most of which are not germane to your initial comment. The WHO media fact sheet which you linked to offers you little or no support.

            WHO initially defined health as “a state of complete
            physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. “Complete” is not the same as “perfect”. This paper provides a good discussion:

            Taking the OP at face value, we can say that the reality of noise (at least to some level) and lights has been established. We cannot say if sleep has been disrupted. We could make reasonable inferences either way. Without data they remain inferences.

            Terms such as “industrial zone” and “sonic torture” are a false equivalence, a strawman fallacy. As such, they have no place in this discussion.

            Your paper looks interesting and on topic. Searching on Google, I see that it was presented at a recent conference. Have you, or do you, plan to submit the paper for peer review? If so, it would be good to see how it goes.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Ok David, let’s agree about “complete” rather than “perfect” health – I hope others have the time to give the semantics a bit of consideration. Sleep disruption RUINS the ability to enjoy complete health. Don’t humans have the right to enjoy conditions which support “complete health”?
            As far as your aversion to terms such as “industrial zones” and sites of “sonic torture” I am afraid to say that is exactly what wind farms are – they are noisy industrial zones. How else do you propose to classify wind farms? As primary production zones, residential zones, red zones?

          • George —

            Using ‘perfect’ rather than ‘complete’ is an argument from ambiguity. Choosing to characterise the difference as semantics follows the same pattern.

            You have made a general assertion about sleep disruption and health. As a generalisation, this is reasonable. What are the facts of the matter in this instance?

            The WHO Media Fact Sheet you linked to earlier says: “The right to health means that States must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible. It does not mean the right to be healthy.”

            I repeat my earlier question: what is the balance that States must find in generating those conditions?

            Characterising my analysis of your use of the terms ‘industrial zone’ and ‘sonic torture’ as an aversion is a strawman fallacy. Again, spurious and inappropriate.

            I don’t propose to divert to a discussion about classifying wind farms. I propose to stay on topic.

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, sorry but this discussion is going no where!

            The WHO mentions “The right to health means that governments must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible.”

            “The right to health, like all human rights, imposes on States Parties three types of obligations.

            “Respect: This means simply not to interfere with the enjoyment of the right to health (“do no harm”).

            “Protect: This means ensuring that third parties (non-state actors) do not infringe upon the enjoyment of the right to health (e.g. by regulating non-state actors).”
            Installing INDUSTRIAL wind developments and exposing people to SONIC torture, electromagnetic radiation etc, does not respect or protect the right to health – it is a blatant violation of it.

          • George —

            Progress in discussions depends on a number of things. Among these are establishing a proper base of information and staying on topic.

            You have focussed on sleep disruption as an adverse impact on human rights. So far, our information is not specific enough to know if the sleep of the plaintiffs was disrupted.

            You have made assertions in several comments about ‘industrial wind farms/developments’ and ‘sonic torture’. several times. As noted above, these terms are a false equivalence, a strawman fallacy. As such, they have no place in this discussion.

            Also, the most recent version is in all caps. Shouting something does not make it true either. Please refrain from this.

            So the question for your WHO-related argument remains: what is the balance between the health impacts (of whatever size) on the owners and “generat(ing) conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible”?

            What other information could help the discussion move forward?

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, OK so there is no point discussing sleep disruption in the French case because I don’t have the court proceedings handy.

            I can see however that you no comments about violating human rights and exposing people to sonic torture by installing industrial wind turbines around their property…

            Here however is another case where the matter is black and white: noise nuisance and sleep disruption, and the court has ordered the wind turbine operation hours be wound back:
            I hope this makes interesting reading for you.

          • George —

            OK. It seems like we agree about sleep disruption in the case outlined in the OP. If further information came to light, then perhaps the discussion could proceed.

            As noted above, comments about ‘industrial wind turbines’ and ‘sonic torture’ rely on a false equivalence. They are false comments.

            I checked the link you provided. It has the same problems with sleep disruption as noted with the original OP.

            Somewhat off topic: I note that you are a very regular contributor to this site, with respect to wind turbines. Perhaps you could report on downstream legal proceedings, should they occur?

            I repeat my earlier question: what is the balance between the health impacts (of whatever size) on the owners and “generat(ing) conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible”?

            What other information could help the discussion move forward?

          • George Papadopoulos

            I think I made my position clear above: you can not justify harming anyone’s health or wellbeing for the “greater good”.
            I strongly feel that any suggesting that idea no more virtuous than Stalin, Mugabe or any other murderous demagogue.
            If governments feel that a project must proceed then they ought to do so in a way where they do not harm the local residents.

          • George —

            From my perspective, this statement – “you can not justify harming anyone’s health or wellbeing for the ‘greater good'” – is the first relatively clear expression of your argument. All the others have been both incomplete and surrounded by unhelpful or inappropriate distractions.

            The corollary to the statement is that wind turbines adversely impact on the right to health. To explicitly connect it to the WHO Media Fact Sheet, it impinges on the environmental conditions.

            For the record, I disagree with this corollary. Firstly, in my view the science is clear that wind turbines are not harmful to people. I recognise that is not your view, and I do not propose to discuss it. Secondly, wind turbines contribute to reduced greenhouse gasses and other pollutants from coal-fired power stations. As such they are promoting health and enhancing the environment aspect of the right to health.

            The second sentence is very black and white. This too is a fallacy, despite how strongly you feel it.

            As a generalisation, I do support your third sentence.

          • George Papadopoulos

            David, I refer you back to me previous comment about how dismally inefficient wind turbines are at doing anything to close coal power stations. You will need to fill all the eastern ranges of NSW from Lismore to Canberra with wind turbines and there is no guarantee that one coal plant will ever be close down…

          • George — LOL re referring back! Yes, the whole package of renewables and efficiency is discussed on other threads .

          • George Papadopoulos

            Ah, yes! what a intelligent way to avoid further discussion…

          • George —

            OK. I’ll re-phrase. Your comment gave me a genuine chuckle of appreciation.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Oh I forgot to add, they shouldn’t in particular turn rural zones into industrial zones, and install devices that inflict sonic torture.
            If you feel that this false equivalence, then I take your point, but I am the one who knows what I put with…

          • George —

            Your comment and this response are both off-topic.

            Re your second sentence: I say the following with no disrespect intended. There are at least two options for trying to address it.

            Firstly, you could be making stuff up. I am *not* saying you are. I am mentioning the possibility: it happens a lot on the internet…
            Secondly, you could be reporting what actually feel.

            I have no practical way to test these options.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Well David, just one more court order that confirms my subjective description of wind turbine industrial site of sonic torture:

            My Microsoft translated makes the Portugese as saying:

            “Supreme gives reason to victim of wind turbines

            The Supreme Court of Justice ordered the removal of four wind turbines of a wind farm that are less than 500 feet of a dwelling in Vila Seca (Torres Vedras), giving reason to the family affected by noise. The judgment relies on the “right to rest, to sleep and tranquility” and imposes on the wind Are Jutião the payment of an indemnity of 30 thousand euros to the family of Ricardo Teixeira Duarte, which corresponds to about three per cent of the required value.”

            This lawsuit, begun in 2006, is the first raised in Portugal against a company by wind noise impacts on health.

          • George — thanks for the update.

          • wideEyedPupil

            Flashing nocturnal lights. I’d like to see that!

  • PV believer

    “unsightliness of white and red flashing lights.” – I wonder if there are any roads nearby that can be seen from the chateau ? Perhaps only the 17th century roads and no cars with headlights or turning lights are allowed within sight of the chateau. I find quite bizarre the way selective vision is applied when protecting historic areas.

    • syd

      It’s not the wind power that is the problem but the wretched lights. The last comment about traffic headlights etc is particularly inaccurate and understates the problem hugely. Drive through this part of the Pas de Calais of an evening and it is much more like an airport landing field or an industrialised zone. In some places it actually endangers motorists on quiet roads and even motorways, making it look like hazard lights on the road or blinding the driver with the intensity of the flashlight effect. The brightness and reach of these lights is out of all proportion with the risks to low flying aircraft which they presumably are meant to address. In the UK the same turbines don’t have lights in a much more intensively used airspace. Even 10km away, lights at night have had a major polluting impact on our night time environment in a once dark and peaceful rural sky. Light pollution is not a joking matter. Try having a light shining in your face all night on an off. Surely technology that brings us good clean energy can also be built in a way that notfies aircraft of their presence without this utterly unnecessary blight. Simply shielding the lights upwards and against the ground would be a start

  • Motorshack

    Somebody had better warn the Dutch that windmills are bad for tourism, before it’s too late.

    Also, I’ve always loved the 16th century nuclear cooling towers that dot the French countryside. One can just imagine the Three Musketeers dueling at their bases.

    • Miles Harding


    • Ike Bottema

      “Dotting the landscape” Right

  • Don Quichotte Knights won windmill kkk

  • Lifeboatman

    Back in the 1950’s when Helicopters were the new boys on the track, there was a huge outcry against the creation of a Heliport in the centre of London because of the supposed noise. I was on a bridge crossing the Thames when I saw a chopper coming upstream on it’s way to the Heliport. I looked around me as it passed overhead and nobody took a blind bit of notice of it’s passing. At 500′ altitude, the background noise of the city drowned it out. When Concorde first flew, it’s denigrators predicted all sorts of dire disasters, yet it served for decades until it’s economics killed it off. Whenever man comes up with new technology, there will always be people who oppose it unless they are personally benefiting from it. WindMILLS & WindPUMPS were in widespread use throughout Europe before the Industrial Revolution and the population of the time accepted them because the were beneficial to society. The modern Wind TURBINE is already becoming acceptable to society at large because they see it’s benefits. They are no more of an imposition on our daily lives than any of many other technological & engineering creations that we take for granted, eg, trains, planes, cars, motorbikes, etc. We live in, and depend on a technological world. Wind turbines are the latest innovation, and are possibly one of the more efficient & aesthetic creations of mankind.

    • George Papadopoulos

      Do the helicopters fly regularly in the dead of the night?

      • Lifeboatman

        I am talking about the 1950’s, so I cannot comment on what happens nowadays. I would imagine that there is a curfew between sunset & sun up, except for emergencies, that is the usual procedure. If you have ever returned to Adelaide from Europe, one spends hours waiting at Singapore in the evening because the Adelaide flight has to delay it’s departure so that it does not arrive before Dawn, ensuring that the worthy citizens get their 8 hours sleep. Society usually manages to resolves the sort of problems you are alluding to.

        • George Papadopoulos

          Yes, a curfew on wind turbines between 11pm and 7am would be a food starting point…

          • Lifeboatman

            No doubt if you suggest that to A Abbott, he will arrange for the wind to stop blowing during those hours. What’s food got to do with it?

          • George Papadopoulos

            pardon the typo “good”.
            In case you were not aware wind turbines can be switched off. No need to stop the wind blowing.

          • Lifeboatman

            A simpler solution might be to “Have a wee Dram” before hitting the pillow? It quietens the bees in the Bonnet!

      • Miles Harding

        The dread of night? Most definitely! Maybe not those exact ones? Apparently, they are protecting us from the evils of the night life.
        Or is it that the rental contract requires a certain number of hours to be flown, so any excuse…

    • RuralGrubby

      What evidence do you have that shows that wind turbines are the most efficient creation of mankind? I hope you realize that wind produces at best 25% of it’s annual capacity with many, many time producing nothing resulting in fossil fuel generation having to counter wind’s fickle, unreliable generation.

      • Giles

        Some wind farms, such as Collgar in WA operate at 50% capacity factor. Most in Australia operate at leaf 36 per cent capacity factor. There has been no increase in fossil fuel generation, in fact a huge reduction in fossil fuel generation as a result of wind’s 30 per cent penetration. One of the two coal fired generators is closed, the other shut for half the year.

      • Lifeboatman

        A wind turbine blade is similar to a sailplane wing. Modern sailplanes are now achieving glide ratios (L/D) of over 60:1, the wing alone will be even higher. Turbine blades will be operating in the same manner, so their aerodynamic efficiency will be of the same order. Wind turbines have a theoretical maximum efficiency of 59%and of that, in practice 75% is being realised, so the overall efficiency is of the order of 44%.
        Society uses motor vehicles which only achieve 25% efficiency for the engine, so for the vehicle is even less. A coal/oil fired power station has an overall efficiency of 33% (Wikipedia).
        Re the fickleness of the wind, millions of sail boat users world wide cope with it quite happily. Prior to the advent of steam power, world trade was conducted exclusively by wind power, Columbus & the Vikings got to America using it.
        Currently Germany is building Wind farms all over the country connected by the grid. If one farm lacks wind, others elsewhere where the wind is still blowing, meet the need for power via the grid. Australia still has to wake up to this.

        The UK & Denmark are building Wind farms offshore where the wind is more sustainable,
        The latest scheme is to place Wind Turbines at the top of cliffs, powering reversible pump/generators that use excess power to fill a resevoir at the top, then use that when there is no wind to run the generators. The CEGB in the UK used this idea in Wales, back in the seventies.
        Where there is the will, man will find a way, & as as they unfortunately found out in the Phillipines recently, the wind is unstoppable. As coal is now acknowledged to be Toxic to the Planet, mankind worldwide is discontinuing it’s use, & in the same way as steam replaced sail in it’s time, man is fast learning to use modern technologies to replace coal to produce it’s energy.

  • Woodwind

    Two wind turbines recently flew apart and their towers fell in New England. So, not only are they eyesores, they are dangerous to anyone in the vicinity. They kill birds, and like all other alternative energy projects, they are unreliable and unable to be scheduled.

  • Why would you want to reduce the share of your power from clean and safe nuclear?!?