Update: On Wednesday 9/30/15 Bourne selectmen voted 3 to 2 to grant a license for the 4 turbines to pass through Bourne on their way to Plymouth. Next Generation Wind must post a $1 million bond against potential damage to roadways. “Because of the size of the components, the project requires a convoy-style delivery of about 30 oversized trucks carrying parts as large as 170 feet long and more than 15 feet wide,” according to reporter Carrie Gentile (Bourne selectmen approve route for turbines traveling from New Bedford, South Coast Today). Selectmen can revoke the license at any time if warranted, she reported. Protesters at the meeting drew attention to potential noise impacts to Bourne residents when the Plymouth turbines begin operation. Video of the meeting is available on Bourne Community Television.
At the least, early morning commuters could face traffic snarls from the caravans carrying turbine parts that will snake along local roads. More lingering would be injuries to historic trees as trucks move their cumbersome freight down the historic highway. Most far-reaching, though, would be the health effects of turbine operation.
These problems are under consideration by Bourne Selectmen and the Board of Health.
Ethan Genter, reporting in the Cape Cod Times, wrote in “Bourne officials grapple with Plymouth turbine project” 9/25/15:
The Future Generation Wind project will be fully constructed in Plymouth, but because of the size of its parts, they’ll be unable to be transported on highways…. The project would require about 24 oversized trucks to carry parts as large as 170 feet long, over 15 feet wide and almost 16 feet tall. Potential routes include Main Street and Head of the Bay Road.
About 80 feet of guardrail on Head of the Bay Road would need to be removed….
Paul Gately also covered the issue in “Delivering wind turbine parts through Bourne is complicated” in WickedLocal CapeCod (9/24/15), reporting that among other concerns was damage to roadways, bridge infrastructure, and the expense of any unanticipated costs. The selectmen said they would decide on Wednesday September 30.
The 7:00 pm meeting is held at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Center in Buzzard’s Bay. The public may comment on transportation of machinery and equipment and impacts of this transportation on public property and roadways, with Bourne residents having first priority to address the Board of Selectmen.
In Falmouth’s capenews.net, online edition of The Enterprise, reporter Lannan O’Brien included further details about Thursday’s ZBA action. “Unless the town appeals Thursday’s decision, the turbine will have to be shut down while it obtains permitting” (Wind 1 Appeal Granted By Zoning Board 9/18/15). A hearing on the request for a special permit to operate Wind 1 will be held on October 29, the same day as the hearings appealing the continued operation of Wind 2.
The article quotes attorney Christopher Senie. “’The right thing to do is to shut them down until they get their permits,’ he said by phone on Friday.”
At the hearing, Senie presented a step-by-step assessment of “how we got here” in representing impacted neighbors of “Wind 1 and Wind 2 at the Falmouth WWTF”
Cape Cod Times reporter Sean Driscoll called the decision of the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals “a stunning move” in his piece Falmouth zoning board orders turbine shutdown (9/17/15). The ZBA voted 4-1 on Thursday night to temporarily shut down Falmouth’s Wind One. This decision is one in a series prompted by neighbor complaints of the adverse impacts of turbine operations.
Attorney Christopher Senie, who represents Neil and Elizabeth Andersen, told the reporter,
“I think it’s a close call for a board like this but I think they saw the neighbors have been dealing with this for five years now,” he said. “We’re now aware that the turbines are not permitted and I think the board looked at some of their past decisions and realized the cease-and-desist order for a period of time until the special permitting process concludes is the right thing to do.”
This order is temporary and does not apply to Falmouth’s Wind Two. Another ZBA hearing is scheduled for October 29, 2015.
Mark Cool’s blog post on the issue opines Revisiting Superior Court Nearly Certain.
Several people with experience of wind turbine proposals have been weighing in with letters to local news outlets, primarily the Berkshire Eagle. The short quotes here are followed by the full letters on the next screen.
Otis should slow down on wind turbine plan, by Jane Pinsley, Blandford–Letter to The Berkshire Eagle (9/3/15):
What advice would your big sister Blandford (incorporated in 1741, Otis in 1810) give? Cool it, Otis. You need time to think this one over very carefully. One hour won’t do it. If it still looks good in a few months, then say “I do.”
Otis should learn from others’ mistakes, by Trina Sternstrom, Hawley–Letter to The Berkshire Eagle (9/4/15):
Have those who are so positive about this turbine asked for a second opinion from an unbiased source? I know people who would not purchase a toaster without checking up on it thoroughly but who bought into wind turbines without bothering to do any research at all.
Otis must be wary of wind’s drawbacks, by Larry Lorusso, Clarksburg–Letter to the Berkshire Eagle (9/2/15):
We are residents that live about one mile from the Hoosac Wind Turbine project. Our experience is that’s too close for rural residential neighborhoods to be invaded by an industrial wind turbine of this huge scale. Noise can be more than annoying and on numerous nights we have been awakened and left sleepless, making the next day difficult to say the least.
Major questions about Otis turbine, by Virginia Irvine, Brimfield–Letter to the Berkshire Eagle (9/1/15):
Why haven’t residents been provided information regarding nearby projects where unanticipated costs have affected the bottom line? The MassDEP required the owners of the Hoosac (Iberdrola) to install serrated edges on the blades of the turbines at great expense. This spring a gearbox failure on one of the Brodie Mountain turbines had to be replaced at great cost to the owners, the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co.
The new book, Killing Maine, by Mike Bond is getting favorable reviews. A recent interview on Maine’s WBAI TV5 is available here.
To hear more about the book, which looks at the dealings in Maine around wind turbines and other issues, listen in to radio’s Howie Carr on his Friday program at 6:00 pm EDT, Friday September 4, 2015.
Lisa Linowes, founder of Wind Action, notes:
Carr’s show mainly airs in New England but is also streamed on the web so you can listen wherever you are. As long as calls and emails come into the show, Howie Carr will keep the discussion with Mike going.
The following stations carry Howie’s show in Massachusetts:
The project in Otis is based on a map of Massachusetts wind prospects. Brimfield’s First Wind proposal relied on a more credible test. An anemometer ran for a year before the project was scrapped because there was not enough wind (although modeled at 7-7.5 meters/sec) in the designated location. The Otis location appears to be in the 6.5-7 m/s range.
No adverse impacts
These studies modeling noise generally conclude that there will be no impacts for residents. However, within three months of Falmouth’s Wind One (a 1.65 MW Vestas turbine) beginning operation, noise complaints were registered with the town. The towns of Kingston and Fairhaven have likewise been deluged with noise complaints. The Hoosac project 1.5 MW GE turbines have been in the midst of a mitigation process, adding serrated edges to the turbine blades to reduce admitted noise pollution.
Out of sight
Without a tethered balloon to indicate the size of the turbine, residents are left to compare the proposed turbine with the one at the Williams Stone Quarry. That tower plus blade stands 290 feet high. News reports indicate the planned installation is 415 feet high and the FAA approved (May 2015) a 446-foot tall turbine.
View documents related to the wind turbine at the Otis Wind website.
The Otis town meeting in August endorsed a $6.4 million turbine proposal by a vote of 82-13, according to Julie Ruth, reporting in the Berkshire Record. The 1.7 MW turbine “will rise 415 feet, approximately 40 stories high.”
Although the promise is that the turbine will make $85,000 to $100,000 in town expenses “disappear,” not all voters believed the message. One abuttor stated she felt she did not have enough information to vote for it. Another said,
“I came here prepared to vote yes if I heard something that was reassuring enough,” said another abutter who did not wish to be identified. “But I realized that without first having a test balloon to see where (the tower) would be–and if I can see it or not–I didn’t have enough information to feel confident that the quality of my life or the value of my property would not be negatively impacted.”
This map indicates properties that will be impacted by this industrial wind turbine (IWT). Concentric circles here indicate the location of the turbine and the potential wind neighbors.
The inner circle indicates minimum set-backs designated by a regional body on Cape Cod (10 times the diameter of the turbine rotor). The outer circle indicates the number of neighbors who would experience sleep disruption. This is according to the work of Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, Jeffery Aramini, and Christopher Hanning, who studied two wind project locations (Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, Maine). They concluded in Noise & Health that “the noise emissions of IWTs disturbed the sleep and caused daytime sleepiness and impaired mental health in residents living within 1.4 km [4,600 feet] of the two IWT installations studied.”
The town must vote again on September 8th for the Proposition 2 1/2 override needed for the project to go ahead.