If you’re like me, you probably thought wind turbines offered one of the best possible solutions for our global energy crisis. Turns out they’re not the green panacea we’ve all been waiting for. In the tradition of past important social-issue docs (“Food, Inc,” etc) that have premiered here in Toronto, “Windfall,” a new documentary that screens tonight, could take the sails out of wind power.
The film observes the deeply divided residents of Meredith, New York — an Upstate farm community in decline — as they debate the pros and cons of allowing wind turbines on their land. Local proponents champion the promise of green energy and monetary compensation, while detractors question the efficiency of wind-generated energy and the drawbacks of living among 400-foot tall towers with gigantic rotating blades. What they discover, along with director Laura Israel in her notable debut, is the disturbing effects of the wind turbine’s “flicker effect,” as the machines pass across the sun and cast immense shadows, as well as their low frequency noise.
Here”s the link to the rest of my story at WSJ.com. And be sure to check out the comments section to see the vociferous responses from wind-energy critics.