Wind wars

In this month's ABA Journal appears "The War of Winds," an article on the growing opposition to wind farms. The author states, "Wind power is one of the current darlings of the movement to find alternative energy sources, and in 2008 the United States surpassed Germany as the world's leading producer of electricity generated by wind." The article discusses the adverse health effects of wind turbines claimed by neighboring residents. The primary complaint is noise, but there is also "shadow flicker" when turbine blades chop up sunlight and may cause nausea, and the matter of aesthetics. The article focuses on communities where wind farms have generated contention between supporters for their financial benefits and opponents who claim health liabilities.

Nuisance suits filed against wind energy projects was the subject of the lead article in the October 2009 issue of the California Law Review. Case law is still very limited. The author discusses four cases, only two of which involve large-scale projects, which "leaves advocates of expanded wind energy with unsettled precedent." The author concludes:
If the rights of neighbors are enforced too strictly, or if the public policies in favor of wind turbine development are neglected, then the nuisance mechanism will cease to be a protector of environmental rights and will become an impediment to environmental progress.

The War of Winds, ABA Journal, Feb. 2010

Headwinds to a Clean Energy Future: Nuisance Suits Against Wind Energy Projects in the United States (pdf, 38pp/224kB), California Law Review, Oct. 2009



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