Wind Turbines: A Different Breed of Noise?

File under: serendipity. It so happened that just as I began work on my latest feature for Environmental Health Perspectives, I was also preparing to fly to Massachusetts for the Woods Hole Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship. Throughout the weeklong program, us fellows (ten in all) would be staying in a town called Falmouth, located about ten miles from Woods Hole.

Oddly enough, Falmouth was on my mind for another reason, too: it kept coming up in web searches for stories on wind turbine noise. Once I looked into it and put the pieces together, I was floored. Weeks later when I was in Falmouth for the fellowship, I used some of my spare moments to do reporting for my EHP story, including making a couple trips from our hotel to the outskirts of town where the three controversial turbines were located. Some things are just meant to be.

The resulting story was published online today. It deals with not only the situation in Falmouth but also the bigger picture: what, if any, are the health effects of wind turbine noise, and how do they compare to those of traffic and aircraft noise? As supersize turbines become more commonplace, it's a question being asked virtually around the world, with a consensus still beyond our reach. Hopefully, this story (and the scientific research it addresses) will contribute something meaningful to this important conversation.