This is the wind turbine that launched 1,000 comments, dozens of news stories, and numerous editorials. Plenty of people still oppose the turbine, but some of those who live closest to it said recently life with the turbine was pretty much like life before the turbine.
Colleen Clare is a case in point. Clare and her husband bought their North Kingstown Green house in 2008, not realizing their Thornton Way neighbor, Mark DePasquale, would be erecting the 413-foot-tall turbine just beyond her backyard. DePasquale is the owner of Wind Energy Development and the developer of North Kingstown Green.
"I was a vocal opponent," said Clare, noting she spoke in opposition at public meetings about the turbine. "I was angry because I thought it was taking away from our future."
Now, however, Clare says, “It doesn’t bother me.”
Standing on Thornton Way, there's a barely perceptual whirring sound from the turbine, which is located just behind DePasquale's own house. According to Pete Letz, who also lives on Thornton Way, there's minimal noise from the turbine.
"If the wind really blows the right way … but other than that, you don’t even notice. You’re sitting outside and it’s not there," said Letz. He says on his property there's no flicker. Some in other parts of the country have complained that turbine "shadow flicker" caused health problems.
Letz and his wife moved to the neighborhood two months ago.
"We bought the house sight unseen from North Carolina," he said. They looked at photos online and did some research into wind turbines before deciding to buy.
"We felt like, here’s a green thing we can do," Letz said of their decision.Developer DePasquale, who lives with his family just a few feet from the turbine – his turbine – called it "majestic."
"We monitor the noise decibels," said DePasquale. "You hear the train at 5 a.m. and it's a lot louder. The peepers at night drown out the sound. The air conditioner's condenser makes more noise than the turbine makes."
DePasquale is frustrated by all the negativity.
"If you travel abroad, they’re everywhere. We’re not building wind farms ... It’s one turbine," he said. "I’m powering up 500 homes on a windy evening."
He is also paying each NK Green resident $150 a month.
For Colleen Clare, it's been an interesting ride.
"As vocal and angry as I was before," said Clare, "I don’t see it as much of a problem."