A Wind Turbine Farm In Your Backyard – Would You Mind?

December 18, 2008

Here in Taos, NM, there is a small company called Taos Wind Power that has been trying to get their wind farm up and running on some local land. Since they started planning for it, they have been met with a lot of resistance from some locals near the land, who are concerned about the blinking lights on top of the turbines, the interruption of our beautiful views, and the possibility of any hum or vibration that these things create. The company has plans for a 40-turbine farm spread out over 40-50 acres, and have recently gotten exception from county height restrictions to make them about 400 feet tall. They are now proceeding with more wind tests and permitting, and they hope to start building the turbines next year. If they succeed, they will bring an estimated 100 megawatts of wind power to the area, which they will sell to local utility companies. From what I have seen, 1 MW generates enough power for 1,000 homes, so we are talking about a very general estimate of enough clean power for 100,000 homes – way more than we have here in our county.


Photo by jack_spellingbacon

Now, on to the debate that is brewing – would you want to look at these towers out your window? The place where they are putting them is pretty far out from town (they have to be reasonably close though to a grid tie, otherwise you would lose so much energy in the transmission), but it is near a sustainable and off-grid community – who want nothing to do with these turbines. They are afraid of the light that might ruin their dark skies and any vibrations that the turbines might create in the ground. But at the same time that I understand their concern, these people are living in a community that prides itself on it’s ecological sensitivity – so where do you draw the line? Turbines can provide clean energy, but they could disrupt your life in several ways. Quite a conundrum if you ask me. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure I would want them right out my window either. I enjoy having a dark, quiet night out by my house – it’s one of the things that makes this place so special. But I also want more development of alternative energy sources like wind and solar, and it’s investments like this proposed farm that can make that possible.

So what do you think? Would you exchange some blinking lights in the night sky near your house to know that all your energy was coming from a clean, renewable source like wind power? I am a much bigger fan of solar energy, and think every single house and building in New Mexico should be powered by it, but we have to consider wind as well. But would it be worth it to have turbines in your line of sight? Let everyone know in the comments!

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About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (12)

  1. Austin says:

    I prefer the city life, so perhaps this discounts my opinion a bit, but I’ve always found wind turbines to have a positive effect on the scenery. I remember visiting Copenhagen and watching the graceful ballet of the line of turbines inhabiting the channel between Sweden and Denmark. Plus they are a constant reminder that you are using fewer renewable resources to power your life, which makes you feel good.

  2. Phaedra says:

    I also prefer the city. Given the amount of light pollution we have already I’m not sure it would make much of a difference. However, our suburban friends might not be so open as to have them in their quiet posts. I agree w/Austin, there is beauty in graceful spin of wind turbines. How awesome they would look lining our great Chicago lakefront or dancing across our skyline.

  3. Chase says:

    On either side of the Altamont Pass, there are hundreds upon hundreds of wind turbines. In Livermore, California, we can always see them, though they are far away. I’ve never in my life seen one blink, they are completely invisible in the dark of the night. I do not think they are unattractive, indeed they put me in mind of the old windmills that one sees depicted in farm scenes, and everyone but myself in Livermore does call them “windmills.” The only complaint I’ve ever had is that they kill raptors that try to fly through them. We need to find a way to signal their presence to birds of prey, who hunt on the meadowed hills that the turbines stand on. Once this problem is solved, wind turbines will be perfect. Up with the windmills, down with the whining!

  4. jim says:

    I personally wouldn’t mind but I can see why people do.

  5. Natalie says:

    I would say if it weren’t for the fact that the people in the community nearby probably sought out and enjoy their area for its seclusion, then there would be no argument here.

    A commercial with some footage of turbines came on TV today and made me realize that I think turbines are beautiful! They look so beautiful to me! They have such an unusual shape, but since they’re white I guess they sort of look nice standing on the plains, and they move so gracefully. It may be weird, but I think I would love to see a row of turbines out my window every morning!

    Whatever sound and light they produce though might be disruptive to the environment the nearby community has sought out.. If it were possible for the turbines to be moved closer to the city-folk, I think that would be the ideal situation =)

  6. Green Change says:

    I’ve been thinking lately that electricity generation should be localised, so that those using the power can choose how it will be generated.

    If that was the case, I think there’d be a lot less oil and coal power plants belching fumes into the air and polluting waterways, and nuclear power would be unlikely to be popular either. Wind, solar, wave, tide, hydro and geothermal energy would suddenly appear much more attractive, regardless of whether they cost more.

    One of the big problems in today’s society is that cause is so separate from consequence. We choose the cheapest energy source and don’t care that the coal power plant is messing up somebody else’s neighbourhood. We choose the cheap imported shoes, without regard for the workers’ mistreatment because we don’t know them (and they don’t even look like us!). We buy battery eggs and factory-farmed chickens because they’re cheap, and we don’t have to see how they’re raised.

    The more things can be re-localised, the more I think we’ll do things the right way.

    • Alamelu says:

      I too think the profit motive has to be replaced by a concern for sustainability and humaneness.
      As regards wind power, if we adopted Green Change’s argument, there would be no need for mega turbines outside my window, but benefitting a far off population.

  7. mike fisher says:

    I would like to found out how I get wind power on 4 arcers in the Kingman AZ. area

  8. Liam says:

    If it means getting away from oil, coal, and nuclear I would prefer to see a windmill on every block from coast to coast than to continue the destructive path we have chosen thus far. Stick them above my house even if you want right over my solar panels. Wind and solar are our best choices right now!!!

  9. Benjamin Hambleton says:

    I am researching how to build my own wind turbine to save money on utilities. I live in a small town of 20000 local utilities are about double to triple of any big city I have lived in. I am looking at moving to the country and eventually going off grid. In my research I read about all these people “Going Green” I have to laugh because I an avid Hunter and Fisherman. The “Greenies” are the same types of people that want me to stop using lead in bullets and fishing weights. What about all their lead core Battery Banks?

    • David says:

      batteries aren’t left on the ground to pollute groundwater. bullets and lures, on the other hand, are. there is a difference in how things are “disposed” of and recycled.

  10. Benjamin Hambleton says:

    About this article. One of my families favorite fishing spots has a wind farm about 5 miles from the lake at night the lights look really cool. If you can’t see the lights that means there is a storm coming and you better get ready. Over the past two years they have put up a large wind farm in the area where my wife and I are looking for property in the country. The wind farms are no more intrusive as overhead power lines, cellular towers, satellite towers. We live in a technical world with high energy demands. We are a “want it now” society, but don’t disturb my view. Maybe someone should design wind turbines that look like trees and people wouldn’t wine so much. Or cut off their power because I don’t like overhead power lines. Everyone complains about something.