Are Gun-Toting Climate Skeptics Taking Pot Shots at Wind Turbines?

By Jennifer Welsh | December 15, 2010 1:01 pm

wind-turbineIt seems wind turbines aren’t just stirring up energy, but a fair bit of emotion, too. And when that emotion comes in the form of gunshots, it makes the news.

In early December someone sabotaged poor wind turbine number 8 in a wind farm in Bingham township, Michigan by taking out its transformer. The Huron Daily Tribune reports:

A hole found in the transformer’s radiator resulted in damage, which caused oil to leak out. The exact amount of damage to the $50,000 transformer was not reported. The hole in the transformer, according to police, appears to be from a small caliber firearm…. Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson said the damage to the transformer appears to be “intentional sabotage.”

The hole in the wind turbine’s transformer caused it to break down, which resulted in the turbine overheating and automatically shutting down. The shooter remains on the lam, and his motives are not clear, says Treehugger:

We can’t be sure that the shots fired near Ubly, Michigan, were indeed by a wind power opponent, or coal lover. Maybe it was just a bored kid stupidly destroying private property. Actually, the bored kid is a better scenario than another possibility: Someone who doesn’t like wind turbines, and the renewable energy they produce.

The incident in Michigan isn’t the first of its kind. Problems have also cropped up near Geistown, Pennsylvania in May, including a shooting while two workers were performing maintenance on the turbine–literally putting them in the line of fire. The county is offered a $2,000 reward for information on the shooter,  local District Attorney Kelly Callihan told the Tribune Democrat:

“We have had multiple incidents around Portage. On May 10, it escalated to a point where lives were endangered,” District Attorney Kelly Callihan said Tuesday during a press conference…. “There were maintenance workers up on the tower.”

The problem isn’t restricted to the United States; it seems people are getting gun-shooting angry over wind turbines all over the world. In Romania, the company building a wind farm had to hire bodyguards to protect it, and they were forced to fire rubber bullets to keep outsiders off the company’s land.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Are Wind Turbines Killing Innocent Goats?
Discoblog: Did an “Alien Octopus” Destroy a British Wind Turbine?
Discoblog: LHC Shut Down By Wayward Baguette, Dropped by Bird Saboteur
The Intersection: When Wind Turbines Over Rotate
80beats: Offshore Wind Farming Gets a Giant Google Boost
80beats: Feds Green-Light the Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Image: flickr / Retinafunk

  • Katharine

    Silly idea putting a wind turbine in an area where one can hear banjos.

    (Deliverance reference.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    Possibly it’s bird lovers…?

  • ChH

    Are Gun-Toting Road-Safety Skeptics Taking Pot Shots at Street Signs?

  • Zoom

    @Katherine: Michigan and Pennsylvania, not Georgia (where Deliverance took place). Nice try at regional bigotry, though. If you work at it, you can become a real hatemonger. Oh, but it’s just all flyover country, right?

  • jiriz

    Several comments here about things worse than turbines: it makes as much sense as saying “don’t worry about AIDS – heart disease kills many more people”.

    It is called sophistry.

  • J. Forrest

    Many fools who own guns have shot at everything from signs, tame ducks, windows, electrical insulators of all sizes and farm windmills pumping water. Idiots, despite background checks, own and use guns. It has little to do with wind turbines.

  • JorgXMcKie

    Given that the latest shooting at a school board meeting was by a Lefty, ex-con nutcase, perhaps one should be a bit more careful before jumping to conclusions, Katharine, you obvious patchouli and sandal wearing Hippie Lefty hater. [See how that works?]

  • dorgen

    I have an idea! Rather than focus on the issues at hand, why don’t we resort to meaningless name calling. That will solve all our problems. A rational and dispassionate discussion is needed here and our national discourse always seems to devolve to this kind of crap. We’ll never solve our problems if we can’t come together.



  • sklepy internetowe

    would it be possible to translate your website into spanish because i have difficulties of speaking to english, and as there are not many pictures on your website i would like to read more of what you are writting

  • Alec Sevins

    People need to stop assuming that everyone who’s sick of wind turbines is either a climate denier or peak oil denier. There is this vanishing concept called natural-looking landscapes, and wind turbines are destroying it all over the place, with thousands or even millions more planned.

    I wouldn’t personally shoot them, but I have little sympathy for these machines. They are just too big and too industrial for most of the places they’re being put. They belong either far offshore or smack in the middle of the cities they send power to.


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