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Wind Siting Bill hearing postponed to October 20, 2011

September 24, 2011
It's a sWINDle, billboard tells Pittsfield MA

Photo credit, Wayne Klug

The WESRA hearing will not take place on Monday 9/26. It has been postponed to October 20th. The location has not been determined. To see the legislative hearing schedule, use the link from the mass.gov website, Events List – Committee Hearing. To see the position of Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts on the wind energy siting bill, view the legislation and testimony pages.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanne Levesque permalink
    October 13, 2011 11:51 pm

    I will share my communication with Dr Salt of Washington University Medical School in St Louis:

    Dr Salt, I am looking for your interpretation/thoughts on the wording of a report done in my state (Massachusetts) which I am being told proves that the Massachusetts regulatory agency has, indeed, addressed the two distinct types of noise associated with turbine technology. The report reads as follows:

    This report was funded by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust’s Community Wind Collaborative on behalf of the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion & Rochester. It was prepared by Sally Wright and Lynn Di Tullio of the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts.

    Page 14
    “Noise
    Noise considerations generally take two forms, state regulatory compliance and nuisance levels at nearby residences:

    A. Regulatory compliance: Massachusetts state regulations do not allow a rise of 10 dB or greater above background levels at a property boundary (Massachusetts Air Pollution Control Regulations, Regulation 310 CMR 7.10). This sound level is very unlikely to be a reached incase at the sites we examined.

    B. Human annoyance: Aside from Massachusetts regulations, residences must also be taken into consideration. Any eventual turbine would be sited such that it would be inaudible or minimally audible at the nearest residences. At this stage, to check for “fatal flaws,” a rule of thumb can be used: to minimize possible noise impacts,site wind turbines at least three times the blade tip height from residences. Distances from mixed-use areas may be somewhat shorter.

    My contention is the wording above does NOT make a distinction between audible noise and “infrasound”…it says “noise considerations generally take two forms” which, to me, is very different…I appreciate your thoughts.

    I also requested your thought on whether infrasound increases and or decreases dependent upon the type of ground or soil conditions of the area the turbine is to be sites on example: bedrock versus sandy soil…I appreciate any and all information you can provide.

    Also, I believe I read that you were involved somehow at some point with Boston University…perhaps the medical school…research on audiology…if so do you have a suggestion of researchers here in Boston who might help me in my quest to have my town do the proper cost benefit analysis prior to siting a proposed turbine on town owned land (golf course) next to my property.

    Regards,

    From: “Salt, Alec”
    Date: Fri, September 30, 2011 4:09 pm

    Thanks for contacting me, and I certainly do understand your situation.
    But unfortunately, my main expertise is how the ear works and I am not so good with noise and annoyance regulations.

    Having said that, the report you cite is outrageous in it failure to consider the impact of wind turbines on nearby humans. An appropriate setback distance is much longer than 3x the turbine height. In my view, anyone living within 2 km should be able to sue for compensation to offset the likely sleep deprivation they will suffer. But that’s just my opinion, and there is no setback limit that is proven or disproven to cause disturbance.

    I attach for your consideration a recent paper by Daniel Shepherd in which he shows significant sleep disturbance of those living near wind turbines in New Zealand. You may want to take this to show the wind folks at their next meeting.

    As for infrasound, I am totally convinced that it is the main cause of increased annoyance for people. But the wind industry certainly don’t want to acknowledge this. And as my mother used to say, “There’s none as deaf as those who don’t want to hear”.

    But then she also used to say “The cream always rises to the top’, but that was before the days of homogenized milk :)

    The way science works is that we just keep publishing, and they’ll keep ignoring us until someone makes them listen. It may take 5 years, but we will make them listen eventually.

    Until then, do keep on bringing it to their attention !

    All the best,
    Alec Salt

    Alec N. Salt, Professor
    Department of Otolaryngology, Box 8115
    Washington University School of Medicine
    660 South Euclid
    St. Louis, MO, 63110

  2. September 30, 2011 4:40 pm

    The state has been saying there is only regulatory noise from wind turbines. You may find this interesting that in 2006 the MTC has in black and white in a wind report “Human annoyance noise ”

    State officials have agreed to pay for another noise study on the Wind 1 turbine at the Falmouth wastewater treatment facility on Blacksmith Shop Road.The wind turbine industry, along with Gov. Deval Patrick, is pushing the state senate to adopt the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act. The noise from Wind 1 is a big issue for Gov Patricks commercial wind turbine plans.

    I have a wind study from 2006 done for my town Mattapoisett which quotes the second type of sound called “Human annoyance.” I have sent this to the attorney chris@senie.com Chris Senie is the attorney against the Falmouth and Salem wind turbines hired by the residents.

    It might get interesting if the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the governor become aware of the refrence to “Human annoyance noise ” in a 2006 report by the semi quasi state agency .

    Thanks Frank Haggerty

    This is the post I’ve been placing on the internet :

    Massachusetts officials were well aware of two distinct types of noise from commercial wind turbines in 2006. The types of noise were regulatory and human annoyance as reported in a wind study for Mattapoisett in 2006. The Vestas V 47 was given as an example.

    The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative was the state’s economic development agency for renewable energy. They were stuck with two Vestas V 82 turbines in a warehouse since 2004 at $3500.00 per month until they were installed in Falmouth with 2009 stimulus funds.The turbines were installed in 2010. The storage fees were a political embarrassment and the installation has 50 Falmouth residents up in arms over noise issues.

    Here is the introduction to the MTC report:

    Wind Power in Mattapoisett, Marion & Rochester:Siting Considerations for a Met Tower
    and Fatal Flaws Analysis for a Wind Turbine

    This report was funded by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust’s Community Wind Collaborative on behalf of the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion & Rochester. It was prepared by Sally Wright and Lynn Di Tullio of the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts.

    Page 14
    “Noise
    Noise considerations generally take two forms, state regulatory compliance and nuisance levels at nearby residences:

    A. Regulatory compliance: Massachusetts state regulations do not allow a rise of 10 dB or greater above background levels at a property boundary (Massachusetts Air Pollution Control Regulations, Regulation 310 CMR 7.10). This sound level is very unlikely to be a reached incase at the sites we examined.

    B. Human annoyance: Aside from Massachusetts regulations, residences must also be taken into consideration. Any eventual turbine would be sited such that it would be inaudible or minimally audible at the nearest residences. At this stage, to check for “fatal flaws,” a rule of thumb can be used: to minimize possible noise impacts,site wind turbines at least three times the blade tip height from residences. Distances from mixed-use areas may be somewhat shorter.

    Noise will not be an issue for siting a wind turbine at the ORR High School or the Marion WWTP.

    However, noise will be a primary siting constraint for the Brandt Island Road site because much of the parcel is less than 800 feet wide, and there are residences to the western side of the parcel. Consideration of the neighbors will be an important factor in siting a wind turbine on this parcel of town land. Given a specific size and make of turbine, suggested setbacks from residences can be proposed to eliminate or minimize the audibility at the neighbors. This would then inform the exact siting of a turbine. For example, a Vestas V47 on a 50-meter tower has a 241-foot blade-tip, and would need to be sited on
    the far eastern side of the parcel, to be three times the blade-tip height (723 feet) from the neighbors on the western edge.”

    http://masstech.org/Project%20Deliverables/Comm_Wind/Mattapoisett/Tri-Town_ORR_Preliminary_Site_Analysis.pdf

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