The residents of rural Meredith, New York, are worried about global warming, dependence on foreign oil, and fossil-fuel pollution. So when a windmill company came to town and started offering cash-strapped residents checks in exchange for installing on their land wind turbines that would feed clean, renewable energy into the grid, the people were more than willing to listen. “We were helping the world,” says one resident. But when the townsfolk of this economically dozy area started to do a little research into this poster child for the new economy, they became worried, then horrified. The new documentary Windfall is about what they learned.
Windfall is that rare documentary that casts a skeptical gaze on claims made by the left, though in this case the environmental lobby’s interests line up neatly with those of the Wall Street investment banks that bankroll this supposed miracle cure to our alleged greenhouse-gas problem.
It turns out that the wind turbines are 400 feet tall — the height of a good-sized Manhattan skyscraper placed incongruously in the sprawling countryside. A single blade weighs seven tons. The diameter of the cement base of the windmills can be 250 feet. Once erected, they spoil the natural beauty of the nearby mountains, they cast giant shadows, they throw off dangerous quantities of ice. People living under them complain of health problems, difficulty sleeping, and strange pressure in their ears, and the low, intense thudding noises of the turbines are compared to the effect of living next door to a disco that never closes, or being under a plane that never lands. Another citizen says that living near a windmill is like having “your vacuum cleaner running beside your bed all night.”