Skip to content

Noise: Too Much in Plymouth, Expect More at Brodie

July 16, 2018

SA-NGW-analysisAcoustician Stephen Ambrose has issued a new analysis, finding that all the Future Generation Wind turbines in Plymouth exceed noise levels at night.

In his message to MassDEP Regional Director Millie Garcia-Serrano, Ambrose said “This review finds FGW exceeds the MassDEP noise policy by 10 to 20 dB at all locations. Nighttime turbine noise curtailment does not work. All turbines should be turned off at night.” His interpretation of the noise testing confirms what Plymouth and Bourne residents know from experience: the turbines are too loud to operate at night in the quiet rural area.

The analysis cites the Plymouth Sound Compliance Monitoring Report issued in May 2018 by Waltham-based Tech Environmental.

BrodieMtn2addlLOC

Anticipated position of cleared pads for 2 more turbines on Brodie Mountain.

Meanwhile the Brodie Mountain power plants will expand by two under an initiative to add larger, 2.3 MW, turbines on previously-cleared sites near the 10 existing 1.5 MW turbines. Apparently anticipating the potential for noise complaints with 8 homes in proximity to the new turbines, reporter Scott Stafford wrote “The turbine blades will utilize a feathered blade trailing edge, reminiscent of a bird’s wing, to minimize blade wake and sound levels.” The turbines are to go up in the fall and begin operation in spring 2019, according to the Berkshire Eagle article (“2 more turbines slated for Berkshire Wind Power project on Brodie Mountain” 7/12/18).

 

Advertisements

Of Russian Gas, Nuclear Power, and Renewables

February 19, 2018

LNG Everett terminal against a sunset skylineWhen shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) reach the Massachusetts Distrigas Terminal in Everett, they are usually from Trinidad.  But this winter, extra shipments were needed to meet the high demand for gas heating and to keep the lights on.  This LNG came from Russia through their new terminal in Yamal, a site in the Arctic Circle 1550 miles from Moscow. A Boston Globe editorial offered its opinion on the Yamal LNG facility in “Our Russian Pipeline and its ugly toll” (February 13, 2018).

Chris Kapsambelis, a regular Wind Wise Massachusetts commentator, posted this  response on the Globe web site. “We might all wish for a clean energy future,” he wrote, “but realistically we may be forced into a system of wind and solar with dirty natural gas firming which pollution-wise is no better than what we got.” Read his full comment here:

The early retirement of coal and nuclear power plants is based on the expectation that renewable energy from wind and solar is a replacement that avoids fossil fuel pollution at a lower cost. It is not working out. The loss of both coal and nuclear cancel each other out for a net zero change in carbon emissions. Variable and intermittent wind and solar need backup firming from inefficient natural gas peaking power plants, again for a net zero change in carbon emissions.

Our rates are going sky high to support a policy that is not working. ISO-NE tells us that for the policy to work, we need seasonal energy storage. That is we need to store enough wind and solar energy in the Fall and Spring to address peak demand in the Winter and Summer. No one knows when, if ever,  in the future seasonal storage may materialize. Until then we should put a halt to land based wind turbines with their high impact on the health of nearby residents, bird and bat kills, and mountain ridge destruction. Furthermore, we should rescue nuclear power plants like Pilgrim, and promote the development of new and safer nuclear power for the future.

We might all wish for a clean energy future from wind and solar backed up by seasonal energy storage, but realistically we may be forced into a system of wind and solar with dirty natural gas firming which pollution-wise is no better than what we got. Of the three choices, nuclear with a small amount of natural gas to address demand fluctuations looks to be our best and cheapest solution.

The editorial addresses the environmental cost of Russian gas processing. The letters and comments in response form an intriguing thread, worth the time to follow.

Savoy Moves to End Wind Plant Era

December 23, 2017

20171222-101522-savoywind2-t5r_90326In a large showing for a winter night, a quarter of Savoy’s registered voters filled the fire station to pass a change in the town’s bylaws to restrict wind turbine development. According to Larry Parnass, reporting in the Berkshire Eagle, “Savoy residents rescind wind power bylaw” (12/22/17),

By a vote of 101-22, residents who crowded into the town fire station deleted Section 9 of Savoy’s zoning bylaw, which allows commercial wind power generation, and added language specifically prohibiting it.

The small town of 800 has recently been at odds with the 5-turbine project currently permitted to go ahead. It was the Minuteman Wind proposal to raise the height of the turbines that prompted a vote to retain the height limit of the then-existing bylaw.

Mary Serreze, reporting in MassLive for the Springfield Republican, noted the

Opponents cited noise, wildlife, and scenic impacts, and organized their neighbors.  Residents in nearby Hawley, a Franklin County town, also opposed the project.

Trina Sternstein, a neighbor who has watched the process from Hawley, said

Ten years ago the town voted “yes” to the bylaw. But in the intervening years a great deal more information about the negative aspects of wind turbines has been revealed and many Savoy residents have changed their minds. This is a beautiful example of what information can accomplish.

Scituate Weighs Impacts to Residents in Considering Further Turbine Shut-down

October 5, 2017
Scituate wind turbine

Click to access WADT 95.9 FM Radio’s report by David Cedrone.

For families living near wind turbines, it is easy to lose heart when their complaints are not acted upon. So people will perk up at the news that the Scituate selectmen are again weighing the shut down of its turbine at night.

In her article, “Scituate selectmen consider shutting down wind turbine,” Patriot Ledger reporter Mary Whitfill interviewed town officials and wind turbine neighbors.

On Tuesday, selectmen asked town health director Jennifer Keefe and acting Town Administrator Al Bangert to determine how much money the town would lose if it stopped operating the turbine.

“I personally do not want to see residents impacted negatively with their health and wellness,” Selectman Maura Curran said. “But I think we do need to see what is the impact to our town if it is turned off every night.”

There is no question that residents have been negatively impacted, and a lack of complaints is not a real indication of their circumstances, according to Valerie Vitali.

“Here is this home we’ve had for 36 years and it’s not the peaceful place it once was,” said Valerie Vitali, who lives on the Driftway.

“I chose not to call and complain every night because I can’t live my life screaming at you. I love my home and I love my property, but it’s a problem. … It’s a plane circling that never lands, and it’s a vibration.”

Scituate-2200ft

Scituate turbine 2200 feet from these homes. Photo by Dave Dardi

Wind turbines across Massachusetts are in violation of the MassDEP’s noise standard, but developers have prevented curtailment in many communities. As in Scituate, the operations are shut down for limited periods or under specified conditions (e.g. wind speed low and from certain directions). If this were any other industrial use in a residential neighborhood, the turbines would be turned off to allow sleep, at the very least.

Savoy Speaks Loudly Against Taller Turbines

September 27, 2017
tags:
Concerns about noise, quality of life, and viability of the project led the reasons voters in Savoy rejected a bylaw amendment to allow larger wind turbine blades, according to Adam Shanks reporting in the Berkshire Eagle (Savoy voters reject bylaw change that would have allowed for taller turbines in wind energy project 9/27/17).
Pat Palmer, a Holly Road resident, said those who live near wind turbines in Florida had sparked concern among Savoy residents. She also questioned the PILOT payment.

“They’re not going to get the money they think they’re going to get,” Palmer said.

Wes Briggs was also against the proposal, citing the noise generated by the turbines and their potential health impacts.

“It wasn’t really about the length of the blades,” Briggs said.

The vote was 126 to 53, bringing into question the town’s willingness to proceed with the 5-turbine Minuteman Wind project on West Hill.

A bylaw amendment was needed to accommodate larger turbines the company said were needed because turbines in the original proposal are no longer manufactured.

When they initially submitted the proposal, developers initially told town officials the PILOT would exceed $200,000, according to Select Board Chairman John Tynan.

But since the wind farm project was resurrected about 18 months ago, the proposed annual PILOT has fallen to $73,000.

Home Values at Risk in Savoy?

September 14, 2017

The letter Wind turbine plan bad for Savoy home-owners, published in the Berkshire Eagle (9/13/17) reports the unintended consequences of the Hoosac Project–no houses have sold at market rates in Florida or Monroe.

“I’ll tell you what you can expect in Savoy,” he said, “If you get a job offer in another state or, God forbid, one of your kids becomes ill and needs your help caring for their children, you may not find a buyer. Your house will suffer from `external obsolescence’ (factors external to the property itself). Wind turbines will definitely have an effect on the marketability of your house.”

 

To the editor:

Seeking a more accurate idea of property devaluation we could expect from Savoy’s wind turbines, I contacted a North County appraiser. He told me that when turbines were built in Florida and Monroe every house in the area went on the market.

“How much depreciation did they suffer?” I inquired.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“Oh, I have an idea,” he said, “professional appraisals are based on comparative sales, and since the turbines were built, no houses have sold. Oh, a few were let go at a fraction of their value, but you can’t derive comps from short sales.”

“I’ll tell you what you can expect in Savoy,” he said, “If you get a job offer in another state or, God forbid, one of your kids becomes ill and needs your help caring for their children, you may not find a buyer. Your house will suffer from `external obsolescence’ (factors external to the property itself). Wind turbines will definitely have an effect on the marketability of your house.”

Those who want the turbines believe there will be greater benefits for the town. Here’s what I know: Selectmen cannot state the amount the town will receive, as the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) discussions have not yet settled on a number. It’s been reported that payments offered nine years ago are now off the table. Minuteman wants to enlarge the turbines to increase its profits and will not commit to a payment agreement until after the vote. The unknown benefits to the town could be offset by diminished property values, reduced state aid, and the added cost of the electricity passed on to consumers.

The pros and cons for larger blades are also an unknown. Past experience evidenced at other sites indicate a potential for more noise and more serious health concerns. Minuteman needs to specify the exact make and model, as without technical specifications, it is impossible to predict noise levels at neighboring homes. Those with first-hand knowledge in Florida and Monroe can provide direct, witnessed “eye and ear” evidence, as can people living in Falmouth, Fairhaven, Scituate, and Kingston.

There is an unspoken moratorium for permitting new on-shore wind turbines because there is not enough separation distance to homes. Ironically, towns with the greatest wind potential in the state, have no plans for new on-shore wind turbines. Savoy must not vote to enlarge these turbines.

Salvatore Raciti,
Savoy

Letters Relate Dangers of Poorly-Sited Wind Turbines

September 11, 2017

Small towns in the cross-hairs, little attention paid to predictable impacts, projects helped by closed-door deals–these are the realities of wind turbine siting in Massachusetts.

From Raymond Hartman of Shelburne’s letter in the Berkshire EagleSavoy Wind Turbine Study is Junk Science” (9/8/2017):

“Wind developers are eying our small towns, while unprepared to evaluate the adverse effects that 35 to 50-story wind turbines will have. These include lower real estate values near turbines and negative impacts on the tourism-based regional economy of Western Massachusetts. Would we alter these elevated ridge lines with 35- to 50-story Walmarts?” Read the entire letter

From Dave Dardi of Scituate’s letter

There is a reason why the courts ordered the two turbines in Falmouth to permanently shut down. And why do you think that the town did not appeal that decision. They understood that they had made a mistake in allowing them to be installed in the first place.
Don’t you make a mistake! Read more  in “People of Savoy”

From Louise Barteau of Fairhaven:

Gordon Deane of Palmer Capital put up two wind turbines in Fairhaven, MA, where I live. Most of the work was done behind closed doors and in close financial collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The neighbors only found out when the land was cleared on Veteran’s Day, 2011. At that time the project was so far advanced that there was little the neighbors could do to stop it although we tried very hard. Read more in “Wind turbines don’t make good neighbors in Fairhaven”

Berkshire Eagle letter to the editor “Savoy Wind Turbine Study is Junk Science” (9/9/2017).
To the editor:
I am a mathematical economist. I have studied alternative green energy sources as a faculty researcher at MIT and have taught energy and environmental economics as an associate professor at Boston University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Voters in Savoy will soon decide whether to allow taller wind turbines in the town. In the discussion leading up to the relevant vote, the Minuteman Wind representative told the town that “there is not scientific consensus” about sound issues (Eagle, Aug. 25), citing a submitted noise study. She was likely referencing a state-sponsored January 2012 wind turbine study. Her assertion is a complete mischaracterization of the scholarly research.

As an expert witness, I have professionally reviewed hundreds of quantitative policy analyses and provided leading testimony that ended in landmark legal decisions. I thoroughly evaluated the state-sponsored study and found it to be fundamentally flawed in its analysis and conclusion that wind turbines do not cause negative health effects.

Simply put, the health impact study is not independent science. Rather, it is biased, distorted and in many cases outright deceitful. Several members of the panel were not independent; they benefit from big wind financially or have demonstrated a scientifically unsupported intellectual preference for this technology. The study relies primarily upon four to five articles while ignoring hundreds of other relevant studies. It summarizes health effects of much smaller turbines than the ones proposed for Savoy, for example, and examines the effects in Sweden, Holland and New Zealand, while inexplicably ignoring the serious health effects that have arisen from the many large wind projects in Massachusetts and the rest of New England.

Furthermore, the panel distorts, ignores and misstates the conclusions of the very studies upon which it relies. These studies conclude that industrial wind turbines disrupt sleep, and note that chronic noise exposure is a psychosocial stressor that can induce maladaptive psychological responses and negatively impact health. Furthermore, wind turbine sound varies unpredictably, and the noise does not cease at night.

Wind developers are eying our small towns, while unprepared to evaluate the adverse effects that 35 to 50-story wind turbines will have. These include lower real estate values near turbines and negative impacts on the tourism-based regional economy of Western Massachusetts. Would we alter these elevated ridge lines with 35- to 50-story Walmarts?

I hope voters in Savoy do not rely on this fatally flawed health study as science to evaluate the project. If one of my students had handed it in to me, I would have given it a failing grade.
RAYMOND S. HARTMAN
Shelburne, MA

People of Savoy,
It is wise to learn from your mistakes and even wiser to learn from the mistakes of others. I live in Scituate, MA 3200 feet from a single 1.5 MW wind turbine. Six years ago Gorden Deane came to town and sold a bill of goods to our town officials. He said that the turbine would not have any negative impact on the community and they believe him, for he is a very personable individual. For the last 5 years my neighbors and I have suffered from sleep deprivation, ringing
of the ears, dizziness and shadow flicker. We are woken from a sound sleep and because of the noise cannot get back to sleep. Over that time period we have submitted hundreds of complaints, brought petitions before the Board of Health and Selectmen; but all that has been ineffective in gaining relief. The fight to rid our homes of this intrusive noise seems to have no end.
If you think five, 2.5 MW wind turbines will be quiet you are wrong. You should come to my house and listen to a single 1.5 MW turbine that is 3200 feet away. There is a reason why the courts ordered the two turbines in Falmouth to permanently shut down. And why do you think that the town did not appeal that decision. They understood that they had made a mistake in allowing them to be installed in the first place.
Don’t you make a mistake!
Dave Dardi
Scituate

Wind turbines don’t make good neighbors in Fairhaven
Gordon Deane of Palmer Capital put up two wind turbines in Fairhaven, MA, where I live. Most of the work was done behind closed doors and in close financial collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The neighbors only found out when the land was cleared on Veteran’s Day, 2011. At that time the project was so far advanced that there was little the neighbors could do to stop it although we tried very hard.

After the giant blades (total turbine height is 394 feet) began to spin, the turbine neighbors turned to the MA Department of Environmental Protection for relief from the intrusive turbine sounds. Testing showed that the turbines exceeded the noise limits set by the state. Residents submitted over 850 complaint forms to the local Board of Health but nothing was done to help those who were suffering. Instead, Gordon Deane’s company, the MA DEP and the MA CEC met behind closed doors to come up with a non-protective mitigation plan that only turns off the turbines occasionally between 12 and 4 am in light winds and never in the rain. Not helpful.

To date, those who actually live next to the turbines have been excluded from every decision involving the turbines and the impacts of the turbines on their lives. Based on the experiences of turbine neighbors in Fairhaven, Falmouth, Scituate, Kingston, Plymouth, and the Hoosac project in the Berkshires, the Commonwealth of Mass and your local government will not help you after the turbines are turned on.

Industrial wind turbines are power plants that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The sound they emit is intrusive and harmful. Gordon Deane has not seemed to care about the very real physical distress that is caused by living next to his industrial wind turbines in my town. And the turbines in my town are smaller than the five turbines proposed for your town.

To understand more about the destructive results of Deane’s wind turbines in the communities of Fairhaven and Scituate I suggest that citizens of Savoy go to wind-watch, a website that collects news stories and documents about industrial wind turbines from news sources around the Commonwealth, the nation and the world.
And then do everything they can to prevent these turbines from ever being erected.
Louise Barteau
Fairhaven

%d bloggers like this: