Cohocton Wind Watch: Turbine strobe lights dominate landscape
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Turbine strobe lights dominate landscape

I am writing about the visual impact of nighttime lighting of the existing and proposed wind turbine parks on the Thousand Islands area. I have been a seasonal resident of the area, Chippewa Bay, for nearly 70 years, and as a retired geologist give talks locally about the landscapes and geology of the area. I think that the high quality of the landscape of the Thousand Islands area is very important part of its uniqueness.

In the last year I have been to some of the local hearings and information meetings about wind turbine parks and have visited several operating turbine sites, but I have not heard a lot of discussion about the impacts of nighttime lighting. I spent an evening in Cape Vincent looking at the nighttime lighting of the Wolfe Island wind turbine park. Before visiting Cape Vincent, I had considered that the night lighting was a rather small part of the many important concerns about impacts of the wind turbines.

Benign, the night lighting is not. Standing on the shore in Cape Vincent, in the dark, looking across three miles to the nearest turbine light (five to seven miles to the farthest), more than 20 red strobes blitz simultaneously every two-and-a-half seconds. From side to side the red strobes occupy most of your full field of vision. Each cycle is a jolt to the entire landscape and to your mind, and like a jab in the ribs. I could not ignore it. It dominated the scene and my mind.

Some say you can get used to it. Yes, you can get used to the continual crying of a baby at night, but it never goes to the background. You can get used to a long term in the county lockup, but each day you face it again. These strobes are there every hour of the night across the full spread of the affected landscape. I don't think they will dissolve into the background. Living with these lights seems to me like choosing to live inside an operating pinball machine or a disco bar.

The nighttime lighting of the wind turbine parks is a major impact, and its effect extends for miles from the actual sites.

Sidney Quarrier

Hammond

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