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Windfall (2010)

 -  Documentary | Drama  -  7 May 2010 (USA)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 253 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 8 user | 18 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

Wind power... It's green... It's good... Or is it? Windfall exposes the dark side of wind energy development when the residents of a rural upstate New York town consider going green.

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Title: Windfall (2010)

Windfall (2010) on IMDb 4.9/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Scott Alexander ...
Himself - Operations Manager
Frank Bachler ...
Himself - Town Supervisor
Ron Bailey ...
Himself - Meredith Resident
Sue Bailey ...
Herself - Meredith Resident
John Barrasso ...
Himself - Senator, Wyoming (archive footage)
Rick Beyer ...
Himself - Tug Hill Resident
Dan Birnbaum ...
Himself - Meredith Resident
Keitha Capouya ...
Herself - Head of Planning Board
Chuck Coggins ...
Himself (voice)
Tara Collins ...
Herself - Meredith Resident
John Hamilton ...
Himself - Meredith Resident
Roger Hamilton ...
Himself - Town Board
Tom Hewson ...
Himself - Energy Ventures Analysis (archive footage)
Ken Jaffe ...
Himself - Meredith Resident
Andy Karsner ...
Himself - Department of Energy (archive footage)
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Storyline

Wind power... It's green... It's good... It reduces our dependency on foreign oil... That's what the people of Meredith, in upstate New York first thought when a wind developer looked to supplement this farm town's failing economy with a farm of their own -- that of 40 industrial wind turbines. Attracted at first to the financial incentives, residents grow increasingly alarmed as they discover side effects they never dreamed of, as well as the potential for disturbing financial scams. With wind development growing rapidly at 39% annually in the US, WINDFALL is an eye-opener for anyone concerned about the future of renewable energy. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Release Date:

7 May 2010 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,780 (USA) (3 February 2012)

Gross:

$6,093 (USA) (4 May 2012)
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User Reviews

 
Industrial landscapes are only "green" in a narrow context.
15 June 2012 | by (CA) – See all my reviews

The low IMDb rating of this documentary was surely weighted by wind turbine advocates who value technology over aesthetics. This film has a clear bias but I'd call it a morally honest bias. Questioning wind turbines is similar to protesting dam-building (aka larger turbines) or mountaintop-removal coal mining. The CO2 aspect alone shouldn't blind people to the tragedy of lost natural scenery and invasive noise. They forget what makes life worth living.

This film does a good job of following Meredith New York's local planning decisions and the rancor that results when turbine-pushers come into town and pit neighbors against each other. It also plays as a mystery, since you don't know who will prevail until the end. The technical info was more thorough than expected from a catch-all documentary, but more would have been welcome, like a discussion of flashing red lights all night long.

Prior to seeing this, I'd watched a documentary about Tug Hill NY (on YouTube) and this also included a segment on that ravaged town. Good points are made about the number of turbines increasing beyond what was originally claimed. It costs too much to develop a new area without first saturating landscapes they've already invaded.

I am baffled by anyone who claims to be pro-nature and downplays the landscape intrusions of 400-foot spinning towers. One needn't be a global warming denier to see both the windfalls and pitfalls. A lot of dishonest environmentalism surrounds this topic. Turbine impacts are impossible to ignore unless you have pitch black sunglasses and earplugs. Were these people ever true environmentalists or just technology buffs?

The naivety of people who think large wind turbines won't really affect their quality of life has always seemed odd, but documentaries like this and various websites are exposing industry hype. We need as many documentaries as possible on this topic. It's clear that wind power companies are not very concerned about nature, which puts them in the same league as oil and gas drillers, regardless of the "green" badge.

The least they could do is make wind turbines green or brown to try to blend them in, but that would probably result in even more bird kills. I've seen these turbines up close in California and Washington and I've listened to the noise. It's exactly as depicted in this documentary and nobody should remain passive about it. One disappointment was the emphasis on turbines mainly affecting people (with noise and shadow flicker, that is). Surely turbines are affecting land-based animals in remote areas? Those animals have no means of complaining about health until they're autopsied and many probably die unnoticed. Turbines inject unnatural sounds and pressures into landscapes that never evolved in their presence. It can't be a benign effect.

According to a 2009 Stanford study, the future scale of wind turbines calls for nearly 4 million LARGE machines across the globe to just partly help replace oil. That should be depressing to anyone who respects what little acreage remains untrammeled by human activity. If even half those turbines end up being built, I doubt there'd be many places where you wouldn't be able to see them or their transmission lines. "Windfall" has some good graphics on that.

The end of economic & population growthism (to fuel an insane fiat money scheme) should take precedence over ill-advised forms of "green" energy. Wind on a small scale with much shorter towers seems fine, but not these glaring monsters. I hope that large turbines already in place are someday swapped out for something smaller and better on existing concrete pads, if not torn down altogether.

P.S. The 2012 film "Promised Land" was originally going to be about wind turbines before they changed the theme to fracking. Few energy technologies are benign, but solar seems the least disruptive.


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