Following a series of protests against a wind turbine project planned near Yuanli Township (苑裡), Miaoli County, German wind power company InfraVest GmbH yesterday said it was willing to negotiate with residents to reduce the number of turbines and to lessen the impact of the turbines on their daily lives.
“InfraVest is absolutely sincere about negotiating with residents and would be willing to make compromises,” InfraVest Taiwan vice president Wang Yun-yi (王雲怡) told a news conference in Taipei. “For instance, we could negotiate on a time period during which wind turbine operations would be suspended, to reduce the impact on residents’ lives. We could also help residents install soundproof windows or offer compensation.”
“Although we have approval to build 14 wind turbines in Yuanli, we are willing to build only four, as long as residents talk with us,” she said.
During the press conference, Wang also tried to ease concerns about noise from the turbines and fears that sand may be blown into the local harbor and silt it up.
Holding an aerial photograph of the area where the turbines are to be built, Wang said that all turbines would be at least 250m away from homes.
“According to our tests, the noise would only be 1Hz to 2Hz at a location that’s 70m away from the turbines, and the low-frequency noise measured from 150m away from a turbine is only 20Hz, which is lower than the government’s noise control standard of 40Hz and is only about the same level of noise that an air conditioner or a refrigerator produces,” she said.
She went on to note that wind turbines are not fans, and would not blow sand around.
“We have not seen any cases of wind turbines blowing sand around in any other country,” Wang said.
Lee Wen-hu (李文虎), a resident of Guanyin Township (觀音), Taoyuan County, where many wind turbines are already in use, also attended the press conference.
“At first, we were all against the wind turbines, but we changed our minds after learning that they would not affect our lives too much,” Lee said. “There are two turbines within a 200m radius from my house, but there’s rarely any noise, and the turbines have attracted many tourists who stop to take pictures.”
Former Green Party Taiwan executive director Lai Fen-lan (賴芬蘭) also endorsed wind power as a clean energy source compared with nuclear or coal-fired power plants.
Opponents protested outside the news conference, saying that they did not trust InfraVest.
In related developments, protesters yesteday staged a sit-in at the construction site in Yuanli, trying to block cement trucks. However, they were removed by the police at about 8:50am.
Clashes broke out again at about 10:30am, when protesters returned to the construction site, trying again to block trucks. At about 11am, Yuanli Self-Help Organization against Wind Turbines president Chen Ching-hai (陳清海) led the crowd away.
After the police drew criticism from the public and lawmakers across party lines for using handcuffs and batons to clear protesters on Saturday and Monday, officers only removed protesters by hand yesterday.