Wind Energy Opponents are Hypochondriacs

A state panel debunks Cape Cod residents’ claims of ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome.’ In November, our associate editor Casey Lyons wrote about the suffering residents of Falmouth. In 2010, the Cape Cod town had installed a pair of wind turbines to help meet the state goal of powering 80,000 homes with renewable energy.

Since then, neighbors have complained that the wind turbines were driving them crazy, causing vertigo, migraines, difficulty sleeping, and the scary phenomenon of “shadow flicker.” Lyons conclusion: Since the town was pulling in $11 million annually — revenue it clearly didn’t want to give up — the neighbors would probably be forced to move.

Turns out the wind turbines weren’t causing any health effects. Yesterday, a state panel comprised of the departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health released a report showing that there was no evidence that the turbine was causing illness. The study conceded that it was possible that the noise could potentially disrupt some people’s sleep — and warned of the dangers of ice being flung by the turbine’s blades — but that was all. No vertigo, no migraines, and no shadow flicker (thank God!).

Rather, it seems, the neighbors are suffering from a classic illness: NIMBYism. For the unacquainted: Not In My Back Yard.

As the executive editor of Boston, Patrick Doyle edits the magazine’s long-form narratives and oversees the digital department; he also writes on politics and urbanism. Previously, he worked for seven years at 5280, Denver’s city and regional magazine, finishing his tenure there as the senior/digital editor. Doyle’s freelance writing has appeared in Men’s Journal, Skiing, Mountain, American Cowboy, and Philadelphia. He received his B.A. in psychology from Villanova University, and studied as a fellow at the Knight Digital Media Center’s 2011 Web 2.0 program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Patrick Doyle,