Sullivan is CWOI on Wind
Secretary Richard K. Sullivan told Patrick Cassidy of the Cape Cod Times (“Taking sting out of wind turbine siting” 6/28/13) that the new initiative announced last week would look at successful wind energy projects. The definition of “successful” is left unstated.
Being coy about wind projects is part of the game for this administration. In this case, the “coyness” is CWOI–short for Community Wind Outreach Initiative:
The effort announced by Sullivan — dubbed the Community Wind Outreach Initiative — will include representatives from his office, the Department of Energy Resources, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Energy Facilities Siting Board.
The question is, how will the administration promote safe siting? That requires finding locations where turbines will produce no noise impacts and no strobing hazards. To date, the most recent studies that establish distances at which effects are felt are Nissenbaum’s (et. al.) studies in Maine, The Shirley WI research, and Shepherd’s study in New Zealand. International groups call for a minimum distance of a mile and a quarter (2 km). With the safety of these distances in doubt, it is wise that Secretary Sullivan does not rule out a more robust and scientific study than the selective literature review sponsored by Mass DEP and MDPH in 2011-2012.
“Again, we’re not sitting here saying we have all the right answers,” he said. “We want to get this right.”
Sullivan said he is open to the possibility of a more comprehensive state or federally supported study of the health effects of wind turbines.
Malcolm Donald, in a Cape Cod Times Opinion piece “Turbine neighbors unmoved by new wind outreach plan,” elaborated:
This should offer a smile to the Falmouth Board of Health, whose request to the state Department of Public Health to conduct such a study a year ago was rejected because it didn’t have the funds. (Oh, but Sullivan is not the DPH commissioner. He only controls the vast pools of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center money collected from every electricity ratepayer in the commonwealth each month.)
As a caller to WCAI’s On Point with Mindy Todd, Donald noted that the promise Governor Patrick made–not to leave Falmouth “holding the bag”–seems in doubt. Malcolm said, “Falmouth is still holding the bag. Either the turbines must go or the neighbors must go.” The program “What’s the Future for Land based Wind Turbines in Massachusetts?” was broadcast on June 27, 2013.
The authors conclude that “noise emissions of IWTs [industrial wind turbines] disturbed the sleep and caused daytime sleepiness and impaired mental health in residents living within 1.4 km of the two IWT installations studied.”