February 5, 2016

Town Residents Oppose Location of Windfarm

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Residents of Enfield, New York are opposing plans to build a wind farm on a hill in their town  which could produce 20 percent of Cornell’s annual energy.

In December 2014, Cornell announced plans to purchase all electricity generated by Enfield’s Black Oak Wind Farm following its construction. The farm will produce 16 megawatts of renewable electricity — a significant percentage of of Cornell’s annual energy usage.

“This is a major step toward Cornell becoming a carbon-neutral-campus,” said KyuJung Whang, vice president for facilities services, in an interview with the University.

The purchase reflects the University’s progress towards an original carbon neutrality goal, which is delineated in the Climate Action Plan.

Through a website called Black Oak Wind Farm Concerns, residents have expressed worries about the proposed wind farm, including the adverse effects of infrasound — low-frequency sound that can cause sleep disturbance or deprivation — and noise pollution from turbines.

On the concerns website, some Enfield residents suggested that turbines must be placed at greater distance from residential areas than the current law requires in order for them to avoid these potential problems.

Residents also argued that although the Black Oak Wind Farm has been advertised as a “community-owned wind farm,” Enfield receives no direct benefit from the project.

“In this case, the energy is being bought 100 percent by Cornell University and does not benefit Enfield itself,” Jud Lemke, a member of the committee advising the town of Enfield on the Windfarm project said.

There are not any financial incentives for citizens of Enfield either, according to Lemke. Outside investors — who will provide further funding in order to make the project more financially viable — will receive all financial benefits of the wind farm, said.

“It seems quite unjust that the people of Enfield — which is not a very wealthy community — are being used to generate enormous profits for people who do not even live in their community,” Lemke said.

The Enfield Town Board approved the wind farm project in January 2015, according to The Ithaca Journal.

Over 180 residents of Enfield have signed a petition asking the town to amend its laws regarding wind turbine noise levels, and to delay the project until these issues are addressed.

“The residents who live where this project is being built are asking the Town of Enfield to pause long enough to review the law that was passed seven years ago, to see if it needs to be updated to take into account all the new data that has come to light,” said Lemke.

The Town of Enfield Wind Farm Advisory Committee will meet Feb. 9 to discuss the proposed wind farm further, according to the town’s official website.

  • Mike Jankowski

    A recommendation: Fight the installation of large Wind Turbines for all you are worth.

    It may take months to develop, it might not impact everyone, but some people are likely to develop the same set of health issues myself and others have since these things spun up around us. Ringing noise in ears, dizziness from mild off balance to severe vertigo, pressurized feeling in ears and chest, difficulty concentrating…

    I am 5 km from the nearest turbine and typically do not audibly hear them, save for a noise incited in my concrete foundation which is in time with the turbines and stops when the turbines stop. Otherwise, I would not have any lead as to what caused these issues. The issues are also site specific – they typically disappear 1.5-2 days after I have left my home. They also vary directly as the intensity of the pulsating noise and vibration does in my home.

    No one is doing any impactful thing to help us. A pillow over your head does not help.

    Wishing your community every good turn.

  • Mary Kay Barton

    So why doesn’t “Kyujung Whang” propose siting the turbines ON THE CORNELL CAMPUS?!? Academia deserves to experience firsthand what they wish to inflict on others. Let THEM see what it feels like to live with all the noise, flicker, vibrations, vertigo, ringing in the ears, headaches, nausea, etc, that these giant LEMONS create. Of course, in typical haughty, academia-style, these energy-illiterate “subsidy” leeches will most likely continue to insist that these sprawling, bird-and-bat slaughtering junkyards be inflicted on someone else other than themselves.

    Industrial wind was initiated in the U.S. by ENRON as a tax shelter generator. Nothing has changed about that. Many Big Energy Corporations (ie: GE, FPL, etc) haven’t paid any taxes in the U.S. in years, in large part due to their “investments” in wind. Consider multi-Billionaire, Warren Buffett’s candid admission: “We get tax credits if we build ‘wind farms.’ That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credits.”

    Learn more:

    Industrial Wind: A NET LOSER – Economically, Environmentally, Technically, and Civilly:

    America’s Big ‘Green’ Wrecking Machines:

    Wind Power Destruction in New York State: ‘Clean’ Power Plan Problem:

    Shocking Before-And-After Photos:

    Wind Turbines Are Climate Change Scarecrows:

    Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism & Corruption:

    Wherever Sited, Industrial Wind is a Loser:

    Industrial Wind Needs Blowback (Siemens ad campaign targeting U.S. taxpayers)

    NYS’ Multi-Billion Dollar Energy S-WIND-LE:

    New York Wind Wars – Hiding the Facts:

    New York’s “Sustainability” Planning (aka: Agenda 21): What About Wind Power’s Ecological Insults?

    Dear Christian Science Monitor: Wind Is Not Sacred but a Sacrilege:

    Local Wind Subsidies: New York State’s Money-Road to Nowhere:

    ‘PC’ power is not “sustainable”:

    The Corporate Welfare Bar:

    Sound Specialist Offers Expertise on Industrial Wind Installations:





  • For more onformation, go to http://www.blackoakwindfarmconcerns.com.

  • Caroline Byrne

    Cornell is a huge bully locally. I want the wind farm because we needed to get off fossil fuels yesterday, but residents are probably correct in thinking they would get screwed by Cornell. It’s frustrating! One thing Cornell could do is stop acting like they are God’s gift to the entire planet and solar system. That would be a start.

  • Mary Kay Barton

    At the June, 2009 NYSERDA Environmental Groups meeting specific to industrial wind energy, former noise control engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that ‘infrasound’ (sounds below 20 Hz) are sounds you can’t hear, but the body can feel, and that ‘infrasound’ is known to be a problem associated with industrial wind factories.

    Dr. Driscoll said that ‘infrasound’ is NOT blocked by walls, and it can very negatively affect the human body – especially after prolonged, continuous exposure. He said symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, ringing in the ears and other maladies.

    Dr. Driscoll said that setbacks from the 1.5 MW turbines being installed at that time in 2009 should be at least 3200 feet. Obviously, setbacks from the much larger turbines being proposed today should be be at least 1 mile (possibly much further) to adequately protect New York State citizens.

    NYS Department of Health official Dr. Jan Storm testified that, despite knowing the global nature of the “infrasound” problem, NYS still had not done any health studies (despite having federal Stimulus money available to do so).

    Here we are six and a half years later, and indefensibly, NYS officials still have not called for any independent studies to assure the protection of New York State citizens!

    “The Golden Rule,” as espoused by Rotary International’s excellent ‘Four-Way Test’ of the things we think, say and do, should be the moral and ethical standard our public servants aspire to uphold. The test asks:

    1. Is it the truth?
    2. Is it fair to all concerned?
    3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
    4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

    When applied to decisions regarding the siting of industrial wind factories, the answers are a resounding “NO!”

    Here is a 5-minute YouTube video of a man who had to sell the home he built – at over a $100,000 loss to GET OUT, because he could no longer sleep in his own home due to the negative impacts of the infrasound from industrial wind factories:


    See more at: http://citizenpowerallianceblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/comments-to-nys-psc-case-14-f-0485.html#sthash.6fswUJfA.dpuf

  • Pat Dubin

    The headline quote from Jude Lemke that you used in your article “Town Residents Oppose Location of Wind Farm” is misleading when it refers to enormous profits for people who do not live in the community. Most of the people who invested in the wind farm are local Tompkins County residents who did so because they support the development of renewable energy in our community not because they expected to make “enormous profits” from their investment.

    The location for the wind farm was chosen for its favorable wind conditions. The Town of Enfield will benefit financially from the Black Oak Wind Farm. They as well as Tompkins County, Odessa-Montaur Central School and the Ithaca School District will receive yearly revenues of $98,770 for 15 years from the wind farm. Landowners who signed agreements to have wind towers sited on their property will receive compensation. In addition, neighbors in the immediate area of the wind farm, may also receive compensation.

    Cornell should be applauded, not criticized, for supporting a renewable energy project in our area to help them meet the electrical needs of their campus. It is aligned with their overall goals to reduce their fossil fuel usage and consistent with the goals of Tompkins County to reduce green house gas emissions to reach a minimum 80 percent reduction from 2008 levels by 2050.

    Black Oak Wind Farm has been in development for many years. In January 2015, the Enfield Town Board reviewed and published a Findings Statement approving the project stating that the project “avoids or minimizes adverse environmental effects to the maximum extent possible”. This project has met all safety and health requirements. It is time to build it.

  • Gay Nicholson

    I think it is important for Enfield residents in opposition to the wind farm to think about where our electricity comes from and who is being affected and to what degree. Lansing residents have been living with the coal plant for over 50 years – the largest source of pollution in the county. (And folks in Ullyses get to view the ugly plant from their side of the lake.) Others live next to the coal trains and their noise and coal dust. And of course, the most affected are the residents of coal mining areas who have seen their air, water, and natural habitats destroyed by mountain-top removal.

    Fracked gas is another source of electricity, and many people are well aware of the harms caused by fracking operations. I’ve never heard any of the Enfield opponents express concern about how their own energy consumption affects others, or make any comparisons between the impacts of wind energy and fossil fuel-derived energy.

    Black Oak Wind Farm is tiny in comparison to the wind farms the large international companies build. And the payments to local tax authorities and landowners are also much more fair than what a large corporation would offer.

    We have to find a path toward a low carbon energy economy. The Enfield board and Black Oak Wind Farm reps have worked long and hard to do a good job at building this first community-owned wind farm. I’m sure it isn’t perfect, but I can tell you that the coal plant and the fracked gas plants have a much bigger negative impact on everyone.

    I would love to see the reporters covering this issue remember to make some comparisons between this small-scale local wind farm and the many people affected by the fossil-fuel generating plants currently powering our grid.

    • Jude Lemke

      The coal fired plants won’t go away because wind is unreliable. Given how much time it takes to power up one of these plants, they need to stay online 100% of the time to be ready to kick in when the winds aren’t blowing.

      • Duncan Anderson

        Coal fired capacity in the United States, and in New York in particular, is retiring and decommissioning at a rate greater than at any point in history. Ironically, it is for the precise reason that you so grossly misunderstand above, coal cannot ramp quickly enough, does not have duct firing, and typically has a heat rate curve that is unfavorable to supplying the REG UP that is required in markets with substantial renewable penetration.

        Which brings me to my main point: you don’t understand how ancillary service markets for power supply and frequency management work. Coal power plants are rarely bid in to supply spinning reserve in markets with high renewable (wind or solar penetration). Typically spinning reserves, and REG UP (the ability to generate in the event of a reduction in supply as you describe above) are provided by pumped storage hydroelectric systems, gas combustion turbines and combined cycle turbines with duct firing systems that allow them to rapidly supply a small amount of additional energy off a fully utilized turbine.


        A power systems consultant that cant abide this particular brand of ignorance

    • Mary Kay Barton

      As a Cornell-certified Master Gardener myself, I find it appalling that Cornell is pushing the bird-and-bat slaughtering, environmentally-destructive NON-SOLUTION that is industrial wind. The only thing that has ever been reliably generated by industrial wind is complete and utter civil discord – evident once again in Ensfield.

      Industrial wind supplies NO Capacity Value, or firm capacity (specified amounts of power on demand). Thus, wind needs constant “shadow capacity” from our RELIABLE, dispacthable baseload power sources and therefore, CAN NOT replace them. This is why, as Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein, admitted in his WSJ op-ed and follow-up TV interview, “Consumers end up as double-payers for the same product.”

      Wind was initiated in the U.S. by ENRON as a tax shelter generator. Nothing about that has changed. As multi-Billionaire, Warren Buffett, candidly admitted: “We get tax credits if we build ‘wind farms.’ That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credits.”

      The sad reality is that Big Wind proponents are destroying the very environment they claim they wish to save.

      • Daniel Greenberg

        Wind and solar will supply capacity value. Storage costs continue to decline and generation efficiency continues to rise. In addition the use of electricity continues to increase in efficiency.

        Tax incentives were needed to give momentum to these technologies and therefore attracted wealthy investors.

        Columbus sailed to the Americas for the government of Spain but opened up future private investment in shipping and other industries.

        The US government paid for the rocket programs that led to improved technology in numerous industries.

        Why be afraid of government support by funding or tax incentives?

        • Mary Kay Barton

          The diffuse energy of wind does NOT supply modern power – that is, reliable, dispatchable baseload power.

          Wind welfare recipients have been decrying storage for decades, and it remains elusive.

          Fact is, the average Capacity Value (actual output) of the 20 installed wind factories in New York State have been averaging about 24% – many days providing nothing at all. Any car that operated only 24% of the time would have been relegated to the dustbins of history long ago – exactly where such LEMONS belong!

          • Mary Kay Barton

            CORRECTION – The actual CAPACITY FACTOR (actual output) of the 20 installed wind factories in New York State have been averaging 24% – many days providing nothing at all.

          • Nathan

            Actually the average Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine you will find in a typical car has a thermal efficiency of about 20%, so your premise is invalid.

          • Mary Kay Barton

            With all due respect, Nathan, my vehicle turns on every time I want to use it, as do most peoples. That is not the case for industrial wind turbines.

            Any erratic power industrial wind turbines produce is based on the cube of the wind speed – when the wind feels like blowing. And because of the erratic, skittering nature of wind, wind can NOT stand alone on the grid, but must be paired with natural gas, which is best suited to cover the bad actor of wind. This is why Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein, pointed out in his WSJ op-ed, “Big Wind Subsidies? No Thanks,” and follow-up TV interview, that wind “makes consumers double-payers for the same product.”

            Wind is NOT Power At All – Capacity Value:

  • Jude Lemke

    That headline isn’t misleading. Wind farm projects are not financially viable without the large tax credits and other subsidies offered by the federal and state taxing authorities to support these projects. Then tax shelters run by Wall Street investment firms invest in these projects to allow their wealthy investors to use the tax benefits to shelter their income from taxes. In the case of Black Oak Wind Farm, Onyx Renewable Partners LP is considering investing close to $20 million in this project compared to the $3 million that Peter Bardaglio, Black Oak’s President, says locals have invested. For the first 10 years of the project, the wealthy investors in Onyx will be entitled to 99% of all the tax credits and other tax benefits that the Black Oak Wind Farm LLC project produces. Onyx is owned by Blackstone, a Wall Street private equity firm with annual revenues of over $710 million. Without this investment, the project is simply not viable. So, basically, residents of Enfield will sacrifice their health and safety to allow wealthy investors to shelter their taxable income. That sounds unjust to me.

    And for anyone who thinks that wind farms are a greater good, in addition to checking out all the potential health effects on local residents, you should look at this link http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth. A key component of most high efficiency electric generators is the permanent magnets for generating the electricity. These magnets typically include a rare earth mineral, neodymium. The 95% of the worlds supply of neodymium comes from China. I think you might find it enlightening and sobering to read about the production of neodymium and other rare earth minerals in Baotou, China which is in Inner Mongolia. You can then decide if this is a responsible green energy on a global scale.

  • Robert and Melynda Tesori

    First off, let me repeat myself once again, the residents of Enfield are not against wind farms or green energy ( there are several of us doing are part). We are however against the inadequate laws that allow these industrial structures to be placed so close to people’s homes and property. These structures are 483 ft. tall from base to tip of blade at its highest point (that is 178 ft. taller than the Statue Of Liberty) I know Wow— and our home is the closest to one at approximately 920 ft. from our residence and exactly 181 ft. from our property line (please refer to Black Oak’s web site http://www.blackoakwindny.com Environmental Impact Statement, figure 4, pg 1 for a map ). At the very least, in addition to health and safety the law should be changed so as not to infringe on neighboring properties unless the neighbors sign a waivers. Since the law was passed 7 years ago there has been a lot of new information regarding health and safety that the Town Board is taking into consideration which is why the Enfield Wind Farm Advisory Committee was created. The committee meets weekly, is open to the public and the day and time is announced on the Town Of Enfield’s website. The Board is trying to work with both sides to adopt a law that is fair and safe for everyone involved. We applaud their efforts.

  • Jonathan Comstock

    Some Enfield residents may only be concerned about limited issues, but the majority of critical posts above are clearly against all wind power, anywhere, anytime. Black Oak wind farm is a carefully vetted project which has consistently gone the extra mile to do careful environmental impact assessments (including birds bats other wildlife and habitats) and noise level studies of the impacts on neighbors. All of these have passed extensive review.

    Saying wind power has no value is like saying climate change doesn’t exist. It denies all the science that has gone into serious evaluation of these issues. Recent efforts to evaluate the potential of renewable energy conclude that wind is a great energy source. Check the IPCC reports. Check COP21. Check this latest study in Nature Climate Change: “Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 emissions”, currently available online at http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2921.html. They conclude that we can achieve getting 85% of all our electricity from renewable energy nationally with NO loss of dependability and NO storage and NO back-up power plants and NO increase in current electricity costs simply by building the windfarms and improving the national grid. The cost of all that is included in the no price increases needed conclusion. If we include a little storage (also now price competitive) we can go beyond 85%.

    Wind and solar were not cost effective as young technologies 20 or 30 years ago, but they are today! If anyone tells you otherwise, ask for the specifics and check both the source and the age of the information. Today, in spite of the global recognition of the need to convert to renewable energy, the fossil fuel industry still receives 5 times the level of subsidies as do wind and solar. Those are what need to be eliminated. Tax incentives are not a unique gift to an unprofitable wind industry but a standard tool used to promote energy projects and help attract private investment.

  • Mary Kobler

    It does seem that Jude Lemke has been successful in creating her own private blog here. She spreads outright misinformation and inflammatory, ungrounded fear. It does appear that she has breezed into town and bought a $450K B&B apparently without any apparent research on the area she is buying into (a windfarm that has been doing ALL the best analysis that science has to offer for 7 years). With all her $$s & high power “lawyer-ess” CV you’d think she’d have done a bit of homework.(?) Perhaps she’s really a fossil-fuel “plant” trying to kill home owned community power? One does wonder who she really represents as she clearly does not have her facts anywhere near right! Black Oak Windfarm is not a Cornell project it is a community based alternative to paying a multinational power company our hard earned dollars. It’s a project that brings much needed tax dollars to Enfield and it is locally owned. It’s our best hope to bring community owned renewable power to US the PEOPLE. I believe that Cornell only saw this project as a win-win, they get to offset their power use and use the site as a research site, we “the PEOPLE” get to own it and it’s energy goes straight into our local grid. Producing energy locally strengthen’s our local grid. Black Oak has done ALL their homework and has done ALL the studies and has acted as a responsible community member!

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