Tilarán residents are experiencing the downside of wind turbines

Wind generators appear to be gentle ways of producing electricity without the greenhouse gases of thermal projects and the river blockage of hydro systems.

But what is not widely known is the downside caused by the vibrations generated by the devices.

Ask Roberta Ward Smiley who is the subject of what amounts to a press release sent out on her behalf this week reporting that she has been forced from her home due to the vibrations from four turbines at a project called Vientos del Este. They are in Tejona de Tilarán. The turbines are operated by AeroEnergia, S.A. and went into operation in November

Ms. Ward’s property is a private forest reserve, and her case is being taken up by Sandra Shaw Homer, co-founding board member of the La Reserva Forest Foundation.

The vibrations are so bad that Ms. Shaw reports neighbors have seen reptiles leaving the forest in such numbers that they had to put material to block the thresholds to keep snakes out.

Some of these neighbors also are affected. Ms. Shaw said in her press statement that the people involved are seeking answers and documents from the Municipalidad de Tilarán.

The neighbors are not without support. Ms. Ward lists distance requirements from the World Health Organization and other countries that are greatly in excess of the 250 meters between Ms. Ward’s home and a turbine.

Science backs them up, too. One online source from Italy says

that seismologists registered ground vibration up to 6.8 miles from a wind farm.

An authority on the subject is Nina Pierpont of Malone, New York, who holds a medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a doctoral degree in behavioral ecology from Princeton University. She coined the phrase wind turbine syndrome, which also is the title of her book. Her Web site reports on how such vibration can resonate with human organs.

Meanwhile back at the forest reserve visitors report that they can see trees vibrating in tune with the wind turbines, said Ms. Shaw. She also said that harmonic vibrations and noises have been shown in international studies to be harmful to human health, causing inner ear disturbances, stress, nausea and difficulty sleeping.

A typical wind turbine rotor.

A typical wind turbine rotor.

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