It’s out today, Dan Gunderson at MPR has done an extensive piece on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission “investigation” of wind turbine noise and health impacts, looking at, per the PUC:

The Commission is gathering information to determine if current permit conditions on setbacks remain appropriate and reasonable.


Here’s the audio — full text is way below:

What concerns me is that, again, they only gave notice of this docket to the wind industry, and not the people intervening or commenting in PUC wind dockets who raised this issue in the first place, and my comment on that to the PUC, urging them t expand the Notice:

Overland Comments – Request for Broader Distribution of Notice

To see the PUC’s wind turbine setback docket, go to, click “eDockets” on lower right, and search for docket 09-845.

And here’s the MPR piece in writing:

Wind turbine noise concerns prompt investigation

by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio

August 4, 2009

Valley City, ND — Wind farms are rapidly expanding across the Midwest, and a growing number of residents who live near the wind turbines are complaining about noise.

In Minnesota, those complaints prompted the Public Utilities Commission to investigate.

When Dennis and Cathryn Stillings chose a place to retire, they were looking for solitude and quiet. So a couple of years ago, they bought a farmstead in the rolling hills of eastern North Dakota.

Soon after they moved in, dozens of wind turbines sprouted in a neighbor’s nearby field.

Dennis Stillings said he wasn’t bothered at first because he supported wind energy and he was told the turbines were quiet, no louder than 55 decibels.

“Which is about the same level as your refrigerator running, or the same level as my conversation right now,” Stillings said. “Well, if I was holding a conversation with someone in my living room and someone in the corner was sitting there going bop, bop, bop at 55 decibels, it would drive me nuts and I’d kick him out.”
Larger view
Wind turbines

The Stillings said what bothers them is the pulsating, low-frequency sound. They say it’s like a giant dishwasher, or a helicopter in the distance. Cathryn Stillings said there’s no escaping the sound and that she’s having trouble sleeping.

“It’s a duller sound in the house but it’s still out there,” she said. “You can hear it through the walls. It just kind of gets in your bones.”

The Stillings’ complaints are similar to cases popping up around the country in the past couple of years, as wind farm expansion moves closer to populated areas. Complaints include headaches, dizziness and trouble sleeping.

In Minnesota, a handful of groups have organized to demand tougher regulation. They want the state to require more distance between wind turbines and homes. A report by the Minnesota Department of Health concluded there are potential health concerns.
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