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Noise – Scituate Complaints; Kingston Tests

August 9, 2012

Life under the Scituate turbine is not all rosy according to Boston Globe reporter Jessica Bartlett’s piece Winds of discontent in Scituate.

Nancy Melvin, 300 feet from the turbine, said she and her husband did not oppose the construction,  ” but now, ‘he’s kept up at least two nights a week, or woken up and can’t get back to sleep.'” David Dardi (right), living over half a mile away is upset “by the whooshing noise that he says creeps into his bedroom two or three nights a week and wakes him up. Now he wants the town to take down the turbine.”

Linda Alvarez, who lives on Collier Road, said she has talked to 10 of her neighbors who hear the turbine at night, and all of them are upset about it.

“They don’t call it a windmill — it’s a turbine,’’ she said. “It’s not just a whoosh, whoosh; it’s a jet engine.”

While people living under and less than a mile from the turbine suffer sleep disruption, town officials trot out the misleading list of benefits–the “turbine is taking the equivalent of 600 cars off the road, saving 330,000 gallons of oil, and eliminating 6.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year”–none of these claims is relevant to wind turbines.

Scituate’s is a $6 million turbine operated by Solaya Energy LLC on town-leased land.  The town receives $200,000 in energy credits because of the wind power plant.

Kingston’s four turbines have also garnered complaints, so the Department of Environmental Protection, charged with regulating noise, is deputizing the Clean Energy Center to test for noise there. But the CEC is the quasi-public agency that sites turbines, so residents question the reliability of their testing.

Christine Legere reported for the Boston Globe‘s  Metro South section, State to measure noise near Kingston’s wind turbine:

“This sound study is being done in response to real, legitimate complaints from residents about existing turbines,” said Country Club Way resident Tim Dwyer, a member of Kingston Wind Aware, a citizens group lobbying to shut down the local turbines until a new permit review process is conducted. “I’m surprised that the entity chosen to make the sound assessment is an agency created to promote clean energy like wind turbines.”

The article points out that the CEC will probably be hiring a consultant to do the noise testing.

Last month, the town’s Board of Health asked state environmental officials to study noise levels.

The four machines in Kingston, which stand more than 400 feet tall, have been the source of numerous complaints from abutters, who say the whirring blades are causing health issues ranging from ringing ears and chronic headaches to vertigo and sleep disturbance.

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