Europe’s troubled wind turbine industry has a new predicament, with a householder in Denmark successfully suing Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer. Vestas was sued by the householder with the help of International Law Office and awarded 500,000 Danish kroner (£53,000) in compensation for the loss of property values due to visual interference, inconvenience caused by the noise of the blades and light reflection. Eight turbines are visible from the owner’s house.
The Danes passed the Promoting Renewable Energy Act in 2011, which established a compensation scheme for homes affected by wind farms. It seems the Danes suffer from the a similar condition to Brits, not in my back yard (nimbyism), where there is a consensus in favour of wind farms but not near their homes.
Calls to Vestas’ office for comment were not returned.
Danish wind farms have already come in for serious criticism. Breitbart London reported in June how a mink farm saw how a recently built turbine seemed to lead to still births, birth deformities and had begun attacking in each other, costing the farmer millions.
The Danish situation is mirrored in the UK. In November 2013, the London School of Economics amd the Spatial Economics Research Centre published a report with lead author Professor Stephen Gibbons finding that “A wind farm with 20+ turbines within 2km reduces prices by some 11 percent on average.” In all scenarios even of less density, “Wind farms reduce house prices where the turbines are visible.”
Professor Gibbons has further evidence from when in June 2008 Mr. and Mrs. Julian Davis in Lincoln applied to the Valuation Tribunal for a reduction in their Council Tax, due to a wind turbine. Citing “Change in physical state. Noise pollution externally and internal low frequency. Noise pollution from new wind farm 930m (away),” they won and their house was downgraded to Band A status.
Meanwhile, a report into two wind turbines collapsing in Devon and Cornwall has just been released. The Western Mail reports the towers had basic defects and flaw in the construction process. These incidents were over a year ago and the report’s publication was aided by a Freedom of Information request. Also worryingly is that “ten units with existing defects” out of the company’s 70 or 80 turbines and the “makers of the E3120 turbine which fell in Devon, identified a further 29 turbines that might have been affected by a problem with the foundations.”
It seems that European governments’ race to be green has had some expensive unexpected consequences. Not only is it substantially more expensive to industry and the public, the extra costs of erecting wind farms are growing too. One can only imagine the furore if a turbine comes down on a house, seriously injuring someone or even killing them. These are troubles timed for the government and the wind industry.