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June 18, 2024

Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind Farm Declared Health Hazard –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On October 14, 2014


Tonight, October 14, 2014, the Brown County Board of Health voted to declare the Shirley Wind [Farm] a Human Health Hazard. The decision was based on a report of a year-long study conducted by the Enz family to document infrasound in homes within a radius of 6 miles of the Shirley Wind turbines.

The vote to declare it a Human Health Hazard puts Duke Energy’s Shirley Wind utility on the defensive to prove to the Board they are not the cause of the health complaints documented in the study and could result in a shut down order.

It is time for Illinois county health departments to start receiving complaints lodged based on wind turbines since a Wisconsin health department declared wind turbines as a health hazard and caused so many problems for families.

This is like having a swimming pool with no fence to keep toddlers from drowning.  We should not be doing this to the children of our communities!  They have suffered enough.

It is the duty of county health departments to collect information related to human health within their respective counties. Without a reporting mechanism, no collection can be had and therefore, the false reporting of no complaints filed will continue.

Information on the Shirley Wind Farm from Duke Energy’s web page:

Shirley Windpower Project highlights

  • Located in Brown County, Wisconsin
  • Generates 20 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 6,000 homes
  • Began commercial operation in December 2010
  • Supplies electricity to the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
  • Consists of 8 Nordex wind turbines


Photo credit: Better Way, Wisconsin

Photo credit: Better Way, Wisconsin



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  • jannie
    Posted at 08:22h, 15 October Reply

    I agree that health departments should start taking note of these problems. Will this be in the Brown County WI Health Department Minutes (and are they on line) so I can refer my county health department directly to the website and information. I realize they probably would be online until approved in Nov.

  • Austen
    Posted at 10:02h, 15 October Reply

    Infrasound huh? I can see a wind turbine (running) not even a mile away from me. Oh man, here comes the intense throbbing pain in my head hurts so bad! It must be the infrasound!!!! Just kidding, the Enz family and the Brown County Board of Health might just be full of it.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 11:06h, 15 October Reply

      OR…you could be one of those people that are not bothered by it, just like some people that are not affected by poison ivy saying oohhh a pretty green leaf – watch out it might attack me…
      Please think before you write.

    • 3rdStringer
      Posted at 11:12h, 25 October Reply

      Hang on Austen, your logic is spinning.

  • Joan
    Posted at 14:32h, 15 October Reply

    Not even a mile away, Oh to be you would be so wonder. I on the other hand have an Industrial Turbine less than 1000′ ….and 7more less than 1800′ from my house. My Window’s will shake from them! This Windfarm has been detrimental to my Health.

  • Austen
    Posted at 20:37h, 15 October Reply

    No, Joan, it would not be a wonder to be me. That was a stupid thing to say…and you have an industrial turbine?! Wow those are so gigantic!! What is it a whole 100kW? Considering that I work on 1.5mw towers your industrial one is like a child’s pinwheel. When I said there was a running turbine not even a mile away, I was trying to be a little understanding. There was actually a ruining one 6 feet away from my truck, but you decided to be rude and judgmental. They have nothing to do with human health problems. At all. Typically people who complain about them are mad because they didn’t get one put on their property and aren’t being paid by the owner of the turbine to have it on their property. And you, jmkraft, get details before you judge people. You people might not care for wind turbines, it’s understandable. They aren’t all that pretty to look at. However, it is a source of renewable energy and also provides many American citizens with decent careers. American needs both of those. Think about this too, if a wind farm does happen to get shutdown what happens next? The people who got it shutdown still complain because now there are turbines just sitting there as an eyesore not doing anything productive. So either complain about “infrasound” and let something useful go to waste and put hard workers out of a job, or be an adult and deal with it. You decide.

    • caseih 2388
      Posted at 19:12h, 17 October Reply

      I find that almost anyone who is somehow making money from the wind turbines denies that there are any health problems associated with them. And I certainly am not mad because I didn’t get a turbine. I was offered a contract but refused because I did my research and knew what problems came with wind turbines. I can’t leave my home due to business issues. Therefore, my wife and I now cope by running a window box fan on the bedroom floor at night to mask the noise as best we can. It isn’t pleasant but it is a more tolerable sound than the low frequency roar of the turbines. That sound was causing sleep deprivation, which is a proven health hazard. President Obama has declared sleep deprivation to be torture and won’t allow it to be used on prisoners of war. But it’s okay to use it on my neighbors and myself? The infrasound is still there and probably affecting my health, but life is no longer unbearable. I don’t seem to awaken as rested as in the past, so something is going on.

  • Theodore P. Hartke, PE, PLS, President, Hartke Engineering and Surveying, Inc.
    Posted at 23:41h, 15 October Reply

    Dear Joan,
    Will you please clarify the size and type of wind turbines which are close to your home? We would like to see if these are the same type of machines which affected my family, too. It would be good to clarify it to see if they are similar to the turbines which Austen works on.

    Dear Austen,
    Since you are a wind turbine maintenance person, I assume you are not in the medical field. Without any medical field background, please refrain from making claims that these have nothing to do with human health. I have heard many people talk about parking near (and even directly under) a turbine, and the noise does not impact them. BUT, once those same individuals spend a little bit of time at my house which is 1665′ and 2225′ from the 1.6 mW GE-100 turbines, they are astounded about what they experience. I believe it is true that not every person is affected the same way, but there is a pattern that people, especially those who have motion-sickness tendencies, are extremely sensitive to the noise of large wind turbines. For my family, the issue was severe sleep deprivation which immediately affected our health as soon as the turbines became operational. (I was always supportive of the wind farm, but all of that changed when the machines began to operate.) I wish it was not the case, but I think these 495′ tall turbines with the three 150′ long blades rotating at 12 to 16 RPM are no different than lead paint, asbestos, and second-hand cigarette smoke. The more a person is exposed to these types of elements, the negative impact to health increases. It is true that some people are not affected near as much as others, and it is no different than some who suffer from acute allergies to pollen or cats. Many of us are respectful that our neighbors should be able to do whatever they want on their property which includes making lots of money by leasing land for wind turbines, but not when their income producing activities begin to affect our loved ones inside our bedrooms at night. I am sorry you may feel your job is threatened, but it would not have to be so if wind companies would build wind turbines at safe distances from families. Infrasound/low frequency noise is known to cause unexplained stress, depression, and anger. If you find yourself tensed up, angry, stressed, paranoid, or argumentative, then I suggest you spend time away from turbines and see if those feelings diminish. The adult thing to do in this situation is to protect our children, first and foremost. I moved my wife and children away from the hazard, and now my wife and I are trying to protect others from the exposure to improperly sited wind turbines.

  • jannie
    Posted at 07:37h, 16 October Reply

    People who discount the harmfulness of these industrial Wind turbines, I believe, are like the same people who just some years back said “there’s no harmful effects of smoking”, this was even after the science was there — but the industry was too strong. But little by little the truth of harmful effects of smoking came out.
    I really had no info as to industrial Wind Turbines or a feeling one way or another until I researched because they were being proposed to our county — And, they would not be anywhere near me, though would probably affect negatively the growth of my town. Nevertheless, after research first the “wind sites” and then areas like WI and Ontario Canada I believe there is negative affects. I don’t believe people would abandon there homes and moved just “because they don’t look good” as some prowind people say.

    Many who have leased their land to Wind companies – don’t live on the property – have moved to town.
    I’m glad a health department is finally looking after the public health in this regard.

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