Eco-activists enamored by alternative energy technology have long touted the potential for wind farms as a source of power.

However, it appears that the industry’s promises may be full of hot air.

Take, for example, the funding for many projects. Many Americans are now coining the term “Big Wind” for wind farm installation firms who collude with government employees to obtain subsidies and funding for large-scale projects.

Instead of being “clean energy providers,” the companies behave like “subsidy miners.”

With good reason, numerous upstate towns are actively fighting the encroachment of Big Wind. To cite just one recent example: Last month, the Watertown City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the development of eight industrial wind-turbine projects totaling 1,000 megawatts of capacity, because the projects could impair military training capabilities near Fort Drum.

Over the past decade or so, members of [Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACENY)] — some of America’s biggest subsidy miners — have collected $18.7 billion in federal and state subsidies. The burgeoning backlash against Big Wind means a growing group of rebellious New York towns stand between [ACENY Executive Director Ann] Reynolds’ members and even more taxpayer gravy.

The $18.7 billion sum was obtained by matching ACENY’s membership roster with data from Subsidy Tracker, a program run by Good Jobs First, a Washington-based government-accountability organization. That $18.7 billion includes all federal grants, tax credits, loans, loan guarantees and state subsidies.

The subsidies are corrosive. They encourage wind-energy companies to use legal action to bully rural landowners and small towns.

New Yorkers aren’t the only one challenging the eco-activist blessed energy source. In Indiana, Cass County property owners are asking the county for a chance to speak out on a proposed wind farm.

…”There’s just too many unanswered questions on this,” said Cass County property owner Brenda Rusk.

She is one of several people worried about the impact of a proposed wind farm.

“Just possibilities of things that could go wrong,” Rusk said.

Rusk said she’s been contacted multiple times about contracting her property. She said British based company RES is working to put turbines between 600 and 840 feet tall near Royal Center.

To give some perspective, White County turbines are only about 300 feet tall.

“I don’t feel like signing a contract with this kind of a close proximity to us,” said Rusk. “I just think it’s too much for that much height.”

Citizens in the deep blue state of Minnesota have forced a new project to locate half of the new units to Iowa, based on complaints related to sound.

[Dorenne] Hansen and other residents are fighting to stop the Freeborn Wind Farm project in Freeborn County southeast of Albert Lea.

“I want quiet and dark nights, not the noise and red flashing lights on top of wind towers,” she said. “We did not choose to live out here to be next to an industrial park.”

…Poor perception of an existing wind farm in Freeborn County, the Bent Tree project north of Albert Lea, has helped feed opposition to Freeborn Wind.

Complaints against Bent Tree by some local residents prompted the PUC to take the uncommon move of ordering a noise study. The results in late August showed that Bent Tree exceeded noise levels at certain times.

Green energy advocates seem very dismissive of the prevalent complaints about sound levels made by residents around wind farms.

Sleeplessness and headaches are the most common complaints about wind farms from nearby residents, according to a 2009 study by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Wind farms have also drawn complaints about inaudible infrasound, or low-frequency sound, which can pass through walls easier than higher-frequency noise and can also be accompanied by vibration, the health department study said.

The health department has not updated its report. But James Kelly, an environmental-surveillance manager at the department, said he’s “unaware of any significant studies that would cause us to rethink the statements we made in 2009.”

Who are the locals going to believe, Big Wind and their climate justice advocates or their own lying ears?

[Featured Image: Southern California wind farm, photo credit William Jacobson, 2011]