Turbine flicker upsetting neighbours

SUMMERSIDE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - People living in the shadow of a group of wind turbines in Summerside, P.E.I., are complaining about the flickering light caused by the energy producers.

Emmett Curley has enjoyed living in the area for 15 years, but says things have become unbearable since the wind turbines arrived a year ago.

"Last summer when it started, I left my house. I just couldn't stand it. I've had friends over that left during the situation, saying, 'I'm starting to get a headache,'" Curley said.

The problem comes when the sun sets and its light passes through the turbines, creating a flickering effect of shadow and light. It lasts for about an hour.

"I'm lined up with two turbines that give me a double flicker. You can't watch TV, you can't read a book, a newspaper, you can't work on a computer because your eyes are constantly adjusting to light and dark," he said. "Green energy is a great thing, but when it interferes with life, health — no, something has to be done."

Other neighbours also said they were annoyed by the flickering. One told CBC News that her daughter feels sick to her stomach when it happens and the family has to spend part of their summer evenings in the basement.

Most want the city to shut the turbines off for the hour at sunset when the flicker happens, but the city said that is unlikely.

Greg Gaudet of Summerside Municipal Services said the city could provide options such as shutters or awnings for area residents.

He said shutting down the turbines for an hour each day would cost about $100,000 in lost energy over the course of a year.

"Obviously the city doesn't want to invest a large amount of money to create renewable energy, which is good for the environment, and then have to reduce those energies," he said.

"Obviously that's one of the last solutions the city would look at."


in Year