Rebellion against wind power
Does the sound of wind turbines cause headaches, tachycardia and more? A judgment causes unrest.By Michael Ashelm
FRANKFURT, 7th of July. The confrontation between the wind power industry, politics and licensing authorities on the one hand and affected residents who fear for their health in the vicinity of the facilities is increasingly becoming a burden on the energy transition. The number of citizens’ initiatives in Germany against wind power projects has grown to more than 1,000. An increasingly frequently accused reproach: The noise of the wind wheels makes sick. The work of scientists and medical doctors who are supposed to confirm this concern is brought into the field. In addition, there is an increasing number of alarming reports and complaints. At the same time, environmental protection organizations and consumer protection organizations are repelling all concerns, while in the debate on excessive exhaust emissions in road traffic, they are pushing barricades and enforcing driving bans.
Last year, the FAZ documented a controversial wind power project in the Weserbergland (issue of 6 September). Since the winter, there have been eight turbines in the forest edge of a recreational area – each with a height of 217 meters. The resident citizen initiative criticized not only that against protection of interests concerns (Rotmilan) offends and cultural landscape is industrially verschndeltelt. Four of the eight systems were also set up so that they could fall directly on high voltage roads in case of an accident. Within reach are a substation and the nuclear power plant Grohnde. Operators and district authorities point out that all laws are complied with. But there is a lawsuit. Now, a resident additionally filed a lawsuit against the operator at the Hanover district court – for “unreasonable property damage”. The plant operation has significant health effects, leading even at night with the windows closed to tachycardia, headache and inner restlessness and as a result to fatigue. Responsible were infrasonic emissions of the wind turbines. The operator states on request that the operation is approved according to the Federal Immission Control Act. The chairman of the local citizens’ initiative, Stephan Stallmann, says the further operation is grossly negligent. Responsible were infrasonic emissions of the wind turbines. The operator states on request that the operation is approved according to the Federal Immission Control Act. The chairman of the local citizens’ initiative, Stephan Stallmann, says the further operation is grossly negligent. Responsible were infrasonic emissions of the wind turbines. The operator states on request that the operation is approved according to the Federal Immission Control Act. The chairman of the local citizens’ initiative, Stephan Stallmann, says the further operation is grossly negligent.
An up-to-date judgment could shake up the position of the wind power industry, authorities and politics. Thus, the 7th Civil Senate of the Schleswig-Holstein Higher Regional Court (OLG) has overturned a judgment of the district court Itzehoe and remanded for renegotiation. The plaintiff can hope. A family man claims that he and his wife have been suffering from sleep disturbances, dizziness, nausea and even diarrhea since the commissioning of several wind farms near his home due to the infrasound of the facilities. Added to this would be shadows, ice and electromagnetic radiation. Several wind turbines would be less than 1000 meters from the house. The loss in value of the property amounts to 100 percent.
The district court had dismissed the lawsuit first. However, the OLG judges recognized significant procedural defects and criticized that the position of the plaintiff had been insufficiently appreciated. The total immission pollution should have been determined by the judge, even if they were individually below the limit values. The disturber (operator) must prove that the impairment is immaterial. Also form the usual (projected by the companies themselves) prognosis formula for wind turbine noise, the reality from insufficient. There is a need to determine the load of the property with infrasound. The consultant consulted had measured inadequately and is in “certain economic dependence” of orders of the wind power industry.
Experts and wind power opponents accuse the industry and its companies of targeted disinformation. There are also obsolete emission and emission limits. Low-frequency vibrations, which would no longer be perceived by the ear, produced stress reactions in sensitive people, say the “Doctors for pollution control”. Each passage of a rotor blade leads to a pressure wave. Added to this would be the vibrations of the wind turbines (structure-borne noise), which spread from the foundation over the ground.
Opponents criticize that all previously valid protection standards such as the Technical Instructions (TA) Noise assumed that only those sounds that could be perceived by the ear could be harmful. However, the measurement rules are not helpful if only sound above 8 hertz would be measured. Especially the infrasound between 1 and 8 Hertz lead to health impairments. Often the measuring systems are outdated. In homes, so far not measured, although the Federal Environmental Agency admits that the sound in indoor areas due to sound reflections and overlays can lead to excessive sound pressure levels. But the authority comes to the conclusion that the noise levels of the wind turbines are “harmless to health”. The work of universities, doctors and research groups sees this partly differently.
A survey by the FAZ among consumer protection organizations and environmental protection organizations shows that there is no sign of a burden on humans through wind power. The German environmental aid, the harshest critic of the state and authorities in terms of harmful car exhaust, sees the citizens against possible negative effects of noisy windmills adequately protected by legal limits. A separate exam does not take place. Worry that the expansion of wind power is progressing too slowly. The organizations BUND and WWF say that so far they see no evidence of health problems caused by wind turbine emissions. The BUND chairman, Hubert Weiger, recently demanded that the Federal Government “unleash” the expansion of renewable energies. The environmental NGO Nabu points out that you are not concerned with the effects of wind energy on people. Similarly, the German nature conservation ring reacts as an umbrella organization, which states that he could say anything about this topic.
The German Wind Energy Association, which maintains a close relationship with the environmental associations, does not want to detect any adverse effects from infrasound. This would also confirm health authorities. The Green Federal Chairman Robert Habeck disseminated a few days ago in a ZDF talk show uncontradicted that wind turbines in Germany would be no closer than 1000 meters of residential development. That’s not true. There are enough counterexamples. In Lower Saxony, authorities have no problem setting up new huge facilities just a few hundred meters from an EU bird sanctuary in the East Frisian Marshes. Courts confirmed by courts are ignored.