Driving along the road in upstate New York, we cleared a small hill and saw modern technology rising above the farmlands and dairy cows. The silvery windmills spin lazily in the summer breezes — they’re either beautiful or ugly depending on who is doing the looking. Locally, in the Tug Hill Plateau area of New York, east of Lake Ontario, the wind turbines have caused lots of political issues. Some people say there is pressure by the power company to put up more windmills. Only people who have a windmill on their land get paid. Some local residents complain that the turbines make noise and cause flickering reflections and shadows. Neighbors and communities disagree over whether to permit additional wind farms. Local Amish farmers refuse to have them on their lands. 

The Maple Ridge Wind Farm includes 195 wind turbine generators, and as we drove along it seemed that each turn of the road brought more of them in sight. Some are set off in the fields, and others tower over barns and houses. Each rotor blade is 130 feet long. These are truly enormous structures! The wind farm looked to us like a positive turn for the future of rural New York, but we could see how this huge change in the familiar landscape would bring different emotional reactions as well as new money to the area. 

One thing that is clear is that more use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power will mean changes in many areas — for all of us. The megawatts of electricity being produced by the Tug Hill Plateau winds are mostly being used elsewhere in the state, so new wires were needed too. Solar farms and wind farms change the character of the areas where they are located. What do you think it would be like to live with a wind farm nearby? 

 Wind Turbine Tug Hill PlateauMultiple Wind Turbines Tug Hill Plateau